L. Neil Smith's
Number 345, November 13, 2005

"Plant the Spirit of the Rifleman"

A Fairy Tale
by Ron Beatty

Exclusive to TLE

Once upon a time, a strange thing happened. One day, a well-known fundamentalist/conservative preacher heard a knock on his door. Opening it, he was astonished to see a man standing there in a long robe, long hair, a beard, and carrying a staff. The preacher puffed up in rage at such an outlandish figure having somehow gotten through his security, but before he could say anything, the figure smiled gently at him, and made a little bow.

"Preacher, I've come to give you a message from my brother, Joshua. I think you know him better as Jesus." The preacher's jaw dropped, and before he could recover, the man stepped through the door and walked into the dining room, sitting down at the table.

The preacher sat down opposite from him, looked at the figure and asked, "You really have a message for me from Jesus?" The other man nodded. The preacher swelled with pride, his face glowing. "What is the message, Sir?"

"Well, Josh would have come to tell you himself, but it's that whole 'Second Coming' thing, you know? If he came personally, he'd have to do the whole judgement day thing, and right now, he doesn't want to do that. He said that if he had to do it now, Heaven would be kind of bare."

"I can certainly understand that! What with all the immorality, sexual license, abortions ..."

The other man held up his hand, his face becoming stern. "Before you go any further, perhaps you should know that if Josh came back today, you'd be going straight to the Hot Place!"

The preacher's jaw dropped in astonishment as the other man nodded.

"Josh said to tell you that he's just a little tired of you and all the others like you blaming him for your hang-ups. He's tired of being blamed for starting wars in his name. He's tired of pusillanimous piss-ants using him as justification for being control freaks. He's tired of people who should know better using him to gain political power, calling for assassinations, invasions, wars; using his name to excuse the worst sorts of tyrany, villainy and oppression. He's tired of his people being hated for the actions of those like you who drive so many away from him and his message. He's tired of being laughed at by those who've said, "I told you so!" to him, when he came down 2000 years ago to try to teach people to love.

The man looked at the preacher, his gentle face becoming hard and stern. "Josh is tired of pagans and heathens being closer to what he taught than his so called followers are. He's royally pissed that a group of humans have come up with his message in a way that anyone can understand and follow, but most won't." Seeing the confused look on the preacher's face, the man sighed. "The Zero agression principle, nitwit!"

The man took a deep breath to calm himself, then looked at the preacher again. "There's a song that I've heard. I think you ought to listen to it. It's called Jesus is coming, and boy is he pissed! It's by two guys down in Florida, the Bellamy Brothers. You listen to that song, then think about this: Josh is coming, and he is pissed. That song is nothing to what will happen when he comes back if you don't change your ways!"

Think about this, preacher man! Abortion, marriage, cohabitation, love, even sin, all are personal choices. Unless someone else is harmed, you don't have any right to take vengeance for them, to control those who do them, or to condemn anybody for them. That's Dad's job, and he's very good at it. Oh, I think you should know, he gets a little pissed at people trying to do his job for him, too. You are not god. You're not even close to having enough wisdom for that job.

"You'd better start reading that book of yours a little more carefully. There's a lot in it that's BS, stuff that got added in by others, later, but there's some stuff that managed to make it through, things like Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, and maybe something like Remove the plank from your own eye before complaining about the speck in your brother's. Oh, and how about this? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!"

The man looked at the stunned preacher, then continued, "Josh is pissed. He sent me down to give you one last chance. But I think you should know, if he starts putting on his shit-stompers, you and people like you are gonna be the first ones stomped on! Oh, and just in case you think he won't do it? Well, this morning, he came damned close to getting them out of the closet, before deciding to send me down with his message, to give you one last chance. I don't think you should delay at all in changing your ways!"

With that the man stood up, gave the preacher a look of uttermost contempt. Then he disappeared with a light popping sound. Before the preacher could move, a voice came out of the air. "Remember, Josh doesn't care what name you call yourself. If you follow his teachings, he welcomes you. If you say you do, but don't, well, there's a remarkable shortage of ice water where you'll end up!"


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