Seriously? We have to argue about Confederate statues? Really?

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Tour guide on Bear family vacation, 1864

I love telling a person regaling me with tales of his or her brave Confederate ancestors that my great, great, great uncle/grandfather/whoever was a part of Sherman’s March. That’s when northern troops rampaged through South Carolina and Georgia and burned everything in their path. Bringing that up always ends the conversation. It’s great.

Side note: General William Tecumseh Sherman took this philosophy of total war and used it on the Native Americans, so my bosom isn’t exactly swelling with pride recounting this.

Anyway, I suppose people like to be proud of their ancestors. I, for one, was overjoyed when I learned one of my forebearers played piano in a St. Louis whorehouse, and a few others, also in Missouri, sold cheap horses and lousy bullets to the Confederacy.

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Not my actual ancestor.

But I digress. I’ve been perturbed by the backlash against removing Confederate statues, especially people who claim that such monuments are nothing more than “Southern Pride.” Why are we even having this argument in 2017? Never mind, don’t answer that.

I was a huge Civil War buff when I was 10-years-old. I dragged family members to reenactments, read Shelby Foote books and made hard tack for some inexplicable reason. The Confederates fascinated me, in part because, even as a small child, I had little respect for authority. (That’s worked out well.) An entire country of rebels appealed to me.

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That has worked out well.

I was overjoyed when I finally got to watch Ken Burns’ PBS documentary about the Civil War. Several hours in, the narrator talked about “The Battle of the Crater” when hundreds of Union Solders, caught in a pit formed by a large mine, were massacred. Well, some of them were massacred, and the rebel soldiers laid out who that was in seven words:

“Spare the white man, kill the nigger.”

Any romantic notions I had about the Confederacy died. Good riddance.

And now we have to litigate whether or not to keep up statues of people who fought to keep slavery legal and the flag they flew. If I could figure this out when I was 10, full grown adults should be able to as well. Sigh.

Part of the problem is that the Confederate Battle Flag is cool looking, and most of these people don’t look past that. You could make the argument that a swastika is cool looking, too, but you don’t see too many Germans with one on their belt buckle. (If you are about to say, “Well, John, the swastika is actually an ancient Tibetan …” just don’t. Please, just shut up. Thank you.)

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Hey! Look at that! They do go well together!

Solution: All you Southern Pride folks should lose the Stars and Bars and get a Mexican flag for your pickup . It features an eagle killing a snake. That’s unassailably cool, and it doesn’t celebrate the subjugation of black people. Also, you’ll have a nice conversation starter with all those immigrants you profess to hate.

And put the statues in a museum. Where they belong.

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See? Doesn’t that look just as nice without all the racist baggage?

 

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Jesus returns, moves to St. Paul

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Jesus of Nazareth returns to earth to rapture the faithful to paradise. He is utterly dismayed upon arrival to find that a vast preponderance of said faithful have wildly misinterpreted His teachings and become bigoted, hateful cretins in dire need of a lesson on being a good Christian.

Rather than fed, the poor are reviled but the wealthy placed upon pedestals no matter how greedy and unethical they are in their business dealings. Prisoners are not comforted but given mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses and no chance for employment upon their release because most business owners don’t hire convicted felons.

Single mothers are decried as whores and cited as the reason for all of society’s woes. Immigrants are portrayed as rapists and murders, even as they mow yards, pick fruit and contribute payroll taxes they will never directly benefit from. The crippled are determined to suffer from pre-existing conditions and tossed off their health insurance.

War and the military are worshiped, and the profits of large corporations are held in higher priority than the health of the planet and the future of the human race.

Although Jesus is shocked and appalled to discover that these markedly un-Christ-like stances are being carried out in His name, the one that bothers Him the most, really gets His goat and grinds His gears, is the strange and inexplicable hatred of gay people. It just defies explanation.

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Jesus. Libturd.

Upon being called an “Un-American LibTurd Commie Snowflake” by Sean Hannity on his radio show, Jesus decides that the flock really needs a “Come to Jesus Moment.” He can’t directly involve Himself as that would be cheating. They will have to figure it out before they go to any kind of paradise.

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What kind of cupcake would Jesus eat?

Therefore, Jesus, who is going by Chuy to keep a low profile, takes a job at a gay-owned bakery in St. Paul, Minn. In an up and coming neighborhood, The Cupcakery is a lovely establishment owned by a nice couple, Fred and James, who resigned their positions in the private sector — Fred was a mechanical engineer and James a mortgage underwriter — to pursue their true passion: craft cupcakes.

Chuy enjoys the black forest chocolate with maple bacon crumbles. He loves His work. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like work, and He hasn’t been this happy since that weekend with Mary Magdalene at the Dead Sea resort.

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“I readily admit it. I’ve been kind of a jerk. I’m sorry.”

He gets along with his coworkers, in particular Vice President Mike Pence. Wrecked with guilt upon realizing he had used his Christian faith and position of power to harm others, Pence resigned and took a job washing dishes at the bakery. He prefers the plain yellow with chocolate frosting. He seeks atonement.

On weekends, Chuy volunteers at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Minneapolis. He sports his “I stand with Planned Parenthood” t-shirt and cracks the slightest, barely perceptible smile whenever the protesters scream, “You are going to burn in hell, baby killer!”

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I’d tell them that Planned Parenthood mostly does cancer screenings, but, sigh, what’s the point? 

In which I cement my place in hell via Newton

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Thanks, but I just came in here to use the urinal.

There I stood in front of a urinal inside a mental health clinic in Arvada. Someone had placed a religious tract behind the flush handle. Two things popped into my head:

  1. I wonder if this person who saw fit to pester me on how to get to heaven is one of those people who also doesn’t want a transgender person in the adjacent stall.
  2. Putting a religious pamphlet inside a bathroom at a mental health office seems like preying on people already feeling low. It’s like going to village full of starving Afghans and telling them that Islam sucks.

My religious upbringing was somewhat limited. I credit this in part to my mother and father having been brought up in religious households. My father, in particular, came up with a hell fire Baptist pastor, which turned him off on religion. It was weird to hear the non-denominational minister read psalms at my father’s funeral because one of his favorite sayings was “Fuck God and Die.”

I visited my paternal grandparents in Wichita, Kansas when I was about 10-years-old, and they took me to church. While I’m no religious scholar, the pastor opening his sermon with an invective about abortion being murder struck me as odd. Remember: this is the town where an abortion doctor was shot in the head inside a church.

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Jesus would have been OK with it. 

Before that, my parents took us to a Unitarian church in Albuquerque, New Mexico for about a year. Unitarian churches are strange places. They had women pastors who performed gay weddings long before performing gay weddings were socially acceptable. You could say they started that whole “open and affirming” thing. (If you are an open and affirming church and disagree with this, send angry letters to the Colorado Daily. Att: John Bear’s editor.)

Although Buddhists and Hindus and the occasional atheist came to church, it still had a Christian tinge to it if I recall correctly. We did the story of the birth of Jesus play. I was one of the three wisemen. We had no rehearsals, and the Sunday school teacher read us our lines during the one performance in front of the stained glass windows.

I was also in the chorus. What songs we sang elude me, but I wore a clip on tie and I blew my nose onto the sleeve of my blue sweater. My parents must have been so proud.

 

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The strawberry Newton. A hell worthy snack. 

My favorite memory, however, is snack time in Sunday school. One day in particular. They served strawberry Newtons. I was only allowed one. Finding that to be unreasonable, I ate one, grabbed two more and started on the second.

“How many cookies did you eat,” a girl asked.

“One,” I said through a mouthful of cookie, obviously lying.

“You’re lying,” she said and turned away, yelling “Teacher!”

I did the only thing I could think of. I ran. I hid beneath the slide and finished my cookies. I’m going to go to hell when I die. But I love Newtons, so it was worth it.

Jesus Christ! Dragon Slayer 2

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Jesus Saves (all your asses)

When a horde of evil dragons burst through a trans-dimensional portal and set about destroying creation six months ago, Jesus of Nazareth emerged close on their heels and spent the next several weeks dispatching the fire-breathing beasts with his twin sawed-off shotguns.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to watch a Middle Eastern dude in long flowing robes and bandoliers kick dragon ass and take dragon names.

The Man from Bethlehem also rallied the citizens of Earth to rise up against the Serpent Army. But his efforts have been met with staunch resistance. From whom, you may ask? The Republicans, of course. Who else? Seriously, who else would come out as pro-dragon if it served their interests? Ugh, that makes me so mad.

Calm down. OK. I’m all right. I’m all right.

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It’s the truth.

The following is an official communication from the Republican National Committee (facepalm):

The Republican party has long prided itself as the party of personal responsibility and limited government. Jesus Christ’s recent efforts to unify humanity in an end-all, be-all fight against dragons is sadly moving the United States in the direction of socialism. We believe that free-market capitalism will sort out the so-called “dragon problem.”

Despite the pronouncements of hysterical alarmists, the science is not set in stone as to whether or not dragon fire actually poses health risks to people who are burned by it. It’s obvious that Jesus is using dragons — praise be upon our scaly overlords — to advance his liberal anti-freedom agenda. He is also in league with certain media outlets who have let their anti-dragon bias be known to all.

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Dragon Slayers love bear claws.

We fear that if Jesus is allowed to continue his “crusade,” it will undermine the religious liberty of Christians in the United States who we all know are better than everyone else. And it’s already happening. For example, a baker in Chickasaw, Okla., was asserting his sincerely held religious beliefs last week when he refused to serve a group of dragon slayers who had come into his shop looking for bear claws. He was admonished by Jesus on social media.

We call upon Jesus to stop being such a social justice warrior and revert to being a mystical figurehead we invoke to advance the GOP platform, mainly that rich people deserve that extra bit of income — even if it means poor kids won’t get lunch — and that women are inherently second-class citizens who need to shut up and make dinner, preferably nothing too ethnicky.

And guns, lots of guns. We feel that Jesus using his shotguns with surgical accuracy to kill dragons and never hit any innocent bystanders is nothing more than thinly veiled gun control, and that is tyranny, folks.

Hail dragons.

P.S. Anyone who says the president is colluding with the dragons is lying and fake news. Sad!

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All Hail the Dragon Overlords!!

Jesus Christ! Dragon Slayer

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Yes, he is back. And he’s kicking ass and taking names.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” was a great title but a bad movie (I never read the book). Although it wasn’t trying to be anything it wasn’t, it could have been better. Much better.

During several late-night phone calls with my good friend Scott — a liberal-minded chap who lives in deep red Oklahoma and is game for blaspheming for the sake of a good laugh — we decided on another great title: “Jesus Christ: Dragon Slayer.”

Although I have a hard time understanding Scott most of the time (Oklahomans don’t have an accent as much as a refusal to speak correctly) I’m pretty sure he suggested that the title be “Jesus Christ! Dragon Slayer,” forcing anyone who says it to emphasize the name of our Lord and Savior in the manner most people like Scott and me usually invoke His name.

The scene: A park on a sunny day in any American city. Families sit on blankets and have picnics. Dogs chase frisbees. A man ice cream cones to laughing children. Without warning, a portal opens up, black with flames around the edges, and fire-breathing dragons come pouring through. People run screaming. Some are on fire. It’s horrifying

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Dragons. They are mean and they are nasty. But they are no match for Jesus of Nazareth.

Cut to the portal. A figure, more of an aura really, emerges. The dragons momentarily stop eating people and gaze upon the figure as it steps from the portal. It’s Jesus of Nazareth, complete with the flowing robe, but this time he has bandoliers strung across his shoulders. The dragons race toward him with unbridled fury.

Jesus remains calm.

“I am the truth, the way and your worst nightmare, cabron,” he says as he produces a sawed-off shotgun and dispatches the first dragon.

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Was there ever any doubt in your mind?

This might be a good time to mention that in my vision of this movie, Jesus is Mexican. Jesus is always showing up in Mexico, so it makes sense to have an all-Mexican cast. This idea came to me miraculously one evening when the CNN feed on the newsroom television was accidentally changed to Univision, and I was treated to a telenovela for the better part of an hour. It was wonderful.

This will work on two fronts. One, it will be awesome. Two, it will anger white racists who will say “Jesus wasn’t Mexican!” Maybe, but he wasn’t a white boy, either.

Of course, if this ever gets made into a movie, the studio heads will shove a white Jesus on us with some limp reasoning that they need a star (read: white person) in order to make the film profitable. See “Exodus: Gods and Kings” if you don’t believe me. I haven’t seen that many white people since my last family reunion.

I digress. This is mostly a trailer in my mind. So I’m thinking a shot of Jesus spinning head over sandals, twin shotguns blazing, then sharing an embrace with Mary Magdalene as he raises the shotgun to send another dragon to hell. …

Tagline: This Summer … Jesus Saves … Your Ass.

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I think that’s a dragon slayer.