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Watching the Defectives 

Crank Call

The inspiration of His Essence comes from the Holy Bible. Psalm 45:8 tells us when Jesus returns, the scent of His garments will be of myrrh, aloe and cassia. We carefully combine these ingredients, and the result is a fragrance which serves as a reminder of His Presence."

--Internet advertisement for a line of "faith-based" candles at "Interiors Plus," Waseca, North Dakota.

Did they say "cassia" or "cassis?" Did they say alcohol or absinthe? Did they say shotgun or revolver, suicide or resistance?

Never mind: Psalm 45, "A Song for the King's Marriage... a Song of loves." (And not a word about "Jesus," by the way.) "My heart is indicting a good matter... my tongue is the pen of a ready writer... Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house..."

You heard the man -- it's the literal Word of God: Forget thy father's house. Thy father has nothing to do with it anymore, and neither dost thy mother, thy brother Bobby, thy parents' attorneys, the President of the United States, his shills in Congress, his brother Jeb, Randall Terry, Tom DeLay, the whores of the media or anyone but thy Husband, to whom thou art enslaved for better or worse.

In regard to the Terri Schiavo case, I really want to know -- what happened to "the sanctity of marriage," about which we've been lectured so long and hard by the Christian right? What happened to the decree, "A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ"? Well?

A friend from Belgium -- gallant little Belgium! -- emailed me last week to ask if this country had gone completely off its rocker. "You've just noticed?" I replied, but that was an insult to Belgians. They've been noticing for a long time now, and they're appalled.

"You say that you are living in a political and moral nightmare," my friend remarked, after we renewed our correspondence. She is only two generations down from people who endured occupation and persecution under the Nazis, and only 300 miles away or so from the former Iron Curtain. "Although it is very sad for your country," she said -- Belgians are terribly polite -- "I'm relieved that some Americans realize what is going on and are trying to change things. We were so worried during the elections. Could it be that such a man [as Bush] would be chosen again?"

Here I drew back, ashamed. Yes, I stammered, it "could be." Alas, it is -- especially now that Congress, in a complete abrogation of its authority and responsibility, has bowed to the whims of a mob and its demagogues and created law around a single, pulverizing case, dashing two centuries of constitutional guarantees. I dropped into pundit mode for my Belgian friend.

"Of course we know that this Terri Schiavo thing is a huge distraction," I wrote, "and designed to be so. They want your eyes anywhere but where they belong -- on them. 'They' are also succeeding in their larger goal, which is to undermine public confidence in Congress and the courts (i.e., the constitutional separation of powers). So that when the shit really hits the fan, the only one left with authority will be 'the President' -- you know, the 'Commander-in-Chief.'" But my friend wasn't appeased.

"When we later heard [Bush's] speech proclaiming that America intended to bring freedom to the world, we didn't know how to react," she went on. "It is ridiculous: We are not living in the Middle Ages anymore."

We aren't? I gulped.

No, apparently not. "Our political system is very different," my friend insisted. "Church and state are separate."

God forgive me, but this was just what I was waiting for -- a little comic relief, while "life ebbs away, hour by hour, minute by minute," for poor Terri Schiavo, the only person in the United States who's been spared the degradation of her being, her image and her name in the march to theocracy.

"Church and state are separate?" I guffawed. "An old American idea!" My friend wasn't laughing.

"Of course we're influenced by the press here, too," she said, "and it's difficult to know what to think... We often mock at the so-called 'average Frenchman' (stupid and unrefined), but Uncle Georges always says that the average American is much worse. What do you think?"

I said I couldn't answer that, as it might get me in trouble.

"The desire to have weapons to 'protect one's family' is also something we don't understand," my friend concluded, having just heard about this nation's latest "high-school massacre" in Minnesota. "There is no civil war going on in the USA (or, if there is, you had better deal with it before bringing peace to the world)."

Lamely, I told her the latest joke about Bush and his effort to "bring freedom" to oppressed nations: "We don't need it anymore. Here, you take it!" I reminded her that the forces of decency always think they can quell the mob by throwing it bones, and that this never works. I even said, "History will prove me right," to which she only answered, in the politest tones of civilized society:

"History, yes. Provided they let us have one."

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Peter Kurth

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