In the name of God, can’t you people get anything right?


(Eric Shansby)
Gene Weingarten
Columnist January 17

Memo from: God

Re: Gay people

Gene Weingarten is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writes "Below the Beltway," a weekly humor column that is nationally syndicated. View Archive

I’m writing to correct the apparently widespread impression that it’s okay to be a bigot in My name. This most recently arose when that noted American theologian Phil Robertson, the fella with the Me-like beard who whittles wood into things that quack, declared that, on the authority of his deeply held traditional Christian values, gay people are just awful. When he was punished for this by his employer, he found himself defended by many prominent conservatives, including Sarah Palin, who charged he was being censored by secularists for his religious beliefs — all as part of a supposed War on Me.

I can assure you there is no War on Me, for the obvious reason that if there were a War on Me, you would know it because it would be over very quickly and dramatically. There would be targeted plagues (boils, frogs, hemorrhoids, etc.) and surgical tornado strikes. I am not a subtle deity. When I wished to express disapproval of general public behavior, I sent a flood that wiped out the entire planet except one guy and his family.

But I do need to clarify the gay thing. It is true that the Old Testament looked with distinct disfavor on men who lie with men. But it also looked with distinct disfavor on anyone with “a flat nose.” It said that if, on her wedding day, a woman is found not to be a virgin, she is to be put to death, along with equally heinous criminals who were caught working on Sunday.

The Old Testament also says this: If a man is fighting with another man, and one of the men’s wives tries to help her husband by squeezing his opponent’s testicles, the woman’s hand must be chopped off. I still can’t recall writing that, but here it is, Deuteronomy 25: 12-13, still stinkin’ up the joint like an old mackerel. (Oh, I also wrote that a man may not “discover his father’s skirt,” a line that biblical scholars have been assiduously puzzling over for millennia. What subtle metaphor or parable was I reaching for? Some have suggested that by “skirt” I meant “woman.” No. Your deity does not talk like Sinatra. Well, here’s the real answer: no idea what I meant. It was 4,000 years ago for the love of Me!)

My point is, I am not a perfect God. I have written stuff that is wrongheaded, and stuff that is plain goofy. But as it happens, I am a just God, so I have tried to make up for my errors where I can. You guys need to be alert to these things, because they have Meaning.

For example, in the New Testament, My Only Begotten Son amends the 10th Commandment thus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Behold: This stern admonishment only applies to men lusting for women. Note what variety of lust I was specifically exempting? Have fun, fellas. Sorry about that earlier thing.

E-mail Gene at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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