Signs it’s going to be a very tired week in the “humor” column of the Sunday Washington Post Magazine? When it starts with “Memo From: God. Re: Gay people.”
Post humorist Gene Weingarten is a godless man, so the idea that he can speak for God is for him like putting on a Bullwinkle the Moose costume. But there he goes, off to mock “Duck Dynasty” and Sarah Palin:
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.
How much failure can a humorist pack into two paragraphs? Forget the ACLU, forget the “Freedom from Religion Foundation” folks, no one can be seeking to remove religion from society because they would already be dead. The GLAAD folks may seek to ban you from television, but the idea that you’re being exiled is just a myth.
Perhaps this attempt to point and laugh at God isn’t supposed to make any sense as a political or cultural argument.
From there, Weingarten engaged in the usual analysis that the Old Testament is easy to mock in its Deuteronimity, and God makes mistakes in real time:
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.
When you're a secular progressive, it's always easy to mock Bible-thumpers, but Weingarten can never make fun of modern savagery. For it says in the Book of Steinem that thou shalt not stand in the way of a woman who seeks to have her eight-month-old child have its hand chopped off, and its legs, or maybe have its brain sucked out first. Instead, he mocks Dick Cheney for carrying around a bag of human heads, not Kermit Gosnell.
And Weingarten doesn't mock the Muslims, because he knows it might not practical to make hand-chopping jokes (or suicide-bomber wisecracks) about them. "Too soon?"
The headline of the column was: "In the name of God: Can't you people get anything right? The artwork in the middle was just calligraphy, which read: "An earlier testament mistakenly sentenced you to death by stoning. The Almighty regrets this error."