By Justus E. Taylor
Copyright © 1990 by Justus E. Taylor
The massive mahogany doors stood open, inviting in a stream of clergymen and women, bishops
and cardinals, rabbis, imams and caliphs, ministers, television evangelists and all manner of reverends. Each greeted the other with "hello brother (or sister) I love you,"and they often embraced each other, irrespective of faith, sometimes blocking the doorway for long seconds at a time. The sizeable auditorium was fitted with mahogany pews, rich maroon carpets, stained glass windows, an altar draped in linen edged with gold thread and a raised hand-carved pulpit covered with ornate symbols, projecting from a central pillar of the large chamber. The pulpit was reachable by a small curving stairway. An organ intoned in hushed chords, softening the air with music that was unnamed but decidedly ecumenical.
After the flow of attendees dwindled to a trickle and stopped, a uniformed aide quietly pulled the mahogany doors together from the outside and, after locking them, posted himself securely at the entrance. The music inside faded and finally ceased when a very elderly man dressed in a plain floor-length white robe, tied at the middle with a loose velvet rope, slowly mounted the stairway to the pulpit and held his arms out over the congregation with uplifted palms, in a blessing.
"Damn God!" he screamed.
"Amen!" came the chorus of the audience back at him.
"Damn God, and his evil works."
"Damn God who has put us all on this earth to kill to eat or else Be eaten; kill or be killed; pushing our fellow man off the edge or ourselves being pushed off. Damn God! who made us to suffer from the insecurity of uncontrollable anxiety, bringing greed, War, torture and theft. He made us to be ignorant of the meaning of death and so to fear it even more than pain! Damn God! for weather that requires clothes; for sickness that requires medicine, for dishonesty that requires distrust, for Competition that strangles our Love! Damn God for taking away our innocent babies in
their sleep, without ever giving a reason. Damn God! We victims must Love each other! No brother or sister could ever do unto you such evil as God has already done. Frustrate Him! Care
about each other. Care For each other and not for Him, who has made us all victims. Now let us all rise and join hands in Love and fellowship. Reach out to the persons next to you. Tell them you Love them. Embrace them, kiss them, ask them if they Need Anything. Tell them you Understand, because he has done the same Evil Things to you!"
The organ resumed the soft ecumenical chords and the assembly hugged and kissed those nearby,
disregarding all differences in appearance, social class, sex or professed faith. The aide opened the doors from the outside and all the religious leaders began reluctantly filing out into the bright sunshine of the street. There, they saw crowds behind police barriers, roped off to preserve room for the leaders to walk along the sidewalk. They nodded to acknowledge the cheers and applause of their followers as each faith sought to boost the acclaim for their leader to a louder pitch than the competing sects. The police held the crowds back from overturning the barriers and intermittent scuffles broke out as antagonistic religions threw insults at each other.
The departing spiritual patriarchs were able to reach their shiny chauffeur driven limousines without
being ruffled, and after waving to their various assembled believers, raised their tinted power windows and cruised into the flow of traffic.
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