Oh God, hear my prayer and deliver me from those of your servants who think you like them better than you like me.
I'm speaking, oh Lord, of folks like state senator Ophelia Ford, who declared that God is using little ol' her to illuminate the flaws in our elections. And Mayor Willie Herenton, who sees those who might doubt such a view as atheists. And George W. Bush, who believes God told him to invade Iraq and thereby create hell on earth in the Middle East and bankrupt my country. (Bush's God is, of course, a different God from the one telling suicide bombers to blow up a bus and kill 42 innocent people, all of whom no doubt thought they were being used by their God to fulfill another mission -- getting home to their families without being blown to bits.)
And deliver me, oh Lord, from Jerry Falwell, who issued the following statement last week: "Reports began circulating across the globe that I have recently stated that Jews can go to heaven without being converted to Jesus Christ. This is categorically untrue."
Well, thank you for straightening that out, Jerry. So your position is basically: "Sorry, Jews, about that whole burning-in-hell-for-eternity thing, but, hey, you can't say I didn't warn you."
I can't take any more of this pompous insanity... Wait ... What's that I hear? ... A deep voice? Oh, my heavens!
I hereby declare that God is moving my fingers as I type these words, using little old me for the purpose of calling bullshit on all this. (Wow, God typed a cuss word!) Here's what else he told me: Human beings are simple creatures, flawed and ego-driven and prone to delusion. If you truly believe in an almighty God, then you must believe that he moves each of us as he pleases -- not as you please. You don't rank any higher with God than that homeless guy outside Walgreen's who says he used to be the bass player for Booker T. and the MG's. (When you give him a buck, he does say "God bless you," by the way.)
So in closing, God told me to tell all of you to quit claiming you have some sort of special direct connection to him. And that I should remind you to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Amen.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare
Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...