Good Christian Folk: Rejoice!
The United States Supreme Court today — by ruling that bakers don’t have to sell cakes to same sex couples — affirmed your values. Keep you heads high and beam with pride. Feel the love of your Father shine down upon you.
Don’t feel sad, brother or sister, when people call you Christian Fascist, Bigot, A Detriment to the Advancement of Humanity or, quite simply, a Not Very Nice Person. You know you believed the right thing. The Lake of Fire awaits those who feel otherwise.
I recall a janitor at a newspaper I worked at in Oklahoma. He was a portly fellow, with crooked teeth in the advance stages of decay. He was disgusting, really, and he was in a longterm, loving relationship with another fellow who was equally fat, gross and soon-to-be missing most of his teeth through dental neglect. It was beautiful.
I was slow coming around on the gay wedding cake thing. When the issue first came up, my response was “Just go to another bakery.” Sometimes my initial reaction is a little off, and I engage in what I like to call thinking which allows me to come to a more knowing and just conclusion.
And that conclusion is this: It is essential that bakers just make the cake. If not for couples who live in big cities and are afforded the luxury of finding a cake store with more forward-thinking owners. It’s for old Jimmy Lee and Bobby Ray who live in semi-rural Oklahoma. It might be that their lousy town — and it is a lousy town. Even if I’ve never been, I can assure you that this town sucks — only has a Walmart by which to obtain wedding cake.
What happens when Jimmy and Bobby Ray walk into the bakery section at the local Walmart Supercenter and pick out a nice NASCAR cake, but Debbie behind the counter won’t spell out “Jimmy Lee and Bobby Ray Forever” because of her “deeply held religious convictions?”
A Supreme Court ruling that disallowed that kind of behavior was for Jimmy Ray and Bobby Lee. They needed your help, but you couldn’t be bothered.
I spoke with Jesus of Nazareth, who is living in St. Paul, Minnesota under an assumed name, Chuy, and working at a gay-owned craft cupcake bakery. It’s a job Jesus has held since freeing the world of a trans-dimensional horde of evil dragons last year. He is cool with this secret identity being revealed in light of Monday’s announcement by the Supreme Court.
“You know for thousands of years, people have misused my teachings to further their own greed, bigotry and hatred,” Jesus said while gently massaging his eyelids. Behind him stood former Vice President Mike Pence who has been working as a dishwasher at the bakery as a way to atone for what he calls “the wickedness inside me.”
“This decision today is just beyond the pale,” Jesus continued. “I mean just make the goddamn cake, pardon my French. You know what, just let me say it again: I don’t care if you make cake for gay people. In fact I think it’s a wonderful idea. My Father and the Holy Ghost are likewise OK with it. Cake is awesome and everyone should get a piece.”
Jesus added that the Holy Ghost was hesitant at first but has “evolved on the issue” because he is fundamentally “a good ghost.”
As Jesus and I were speaking, Mike Pence became very upset and began to quiver and gently sob.
“It’s OK, Mike,” Jesus said as he comforted his friend.
“No it’s not,” Pence responded. “This is my fault. I helped make this happen with my hateful rhetoric and false sense of moral superiority. I have unleashed the dragons once again.”
“Now, now, buddy,” Jesus continued in his characteristically soft, comforting tone. “Remember, I slew all the dragons last year. These are just very misguided people who hold some bigoted views. They aren’t dragons.”
“OK, I’m sorry.”
“It’s OK, Mike. We will work together and help these people see the light.”
After Mike Pence calmed himself and washed the tears from his eyes, we all stepped inside and kicked back with the proprietors of the establishment, Fred and James. We drank coffee and ate a couple of black forrest cupcakes with a buttercream frosting.
“Jesus, I don’t know how you do it,” Fred said as he finished off his second cupcake. “This frosting is simply divine. What’s your secret?”
“All it takes is love, Fred,” Jesus replied, a corner of his mouth curling upward. “Just a little love.”
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.