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Let Us Pretend
by Jonathan Rayne
For Sale
Author requests article critique



It is requested that the reader engage in the popular childhood game of Let’s Pretend. Let’s pretend that Jesus Christ’s first ministry did not occur two thousand years ago but rather in recent times and centered in the United States of America.
Let us pretend…..

Anticipation smothered Assembly Hall like a rapacious fog oozing from a Poe novel. Over twenty thousand members of the We’re Messiah’s Disciples organization had packed the auditorium to hear the words of a Man who had captured the hook, line and sinker of their imagination. (1) Overwhelmingly, members of the American Political Right had been the first to embrace the message of this Man called Jesus Christ and today’s event would be a celebration of their righteousness, an attitude trumpeted in the smash bestseller "The Moral Superiority of the Right".

The hall was festooned with banners and bunting. Intermingled with the red, white and blue were giant medallions representing Wal-Mart, Enron, ExxonMobil and other corporate sponsors. Banners proclaiming “Liberalism is the Root of All Evil” (2) , “Jesus and the GOP”, “On the 7th Day God Didn’t Rest…He made the Republicans” (3), and “Chelsea Clinton is the Antichrist” contributed to the festive atmosphere. The event would be televised on pay-per-view and reports indicated that sales had been brisk.

Surveying the audience as it shuffled through an entranceway that appeared not unlike a giant eye of a needle (4) ,Jesus acknowledged many seated closest to the stage. Among those in the front row were George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole. Near them were Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, secured in their obligatory seats in the far right aisle. Dick and Lynn Cheney were exchanging pleasantries with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, while Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, and Shawn Hannity were plotting who knows what. Jesus knew that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell just had to be there and sitting next to them was James Dobson.

“Holy Moses, thought Jesus, all the luminaries are here.” While the apostle, Simon Peter, regaled the audience with the latest news on Jesus’ miracles and the obligatory “the water fountains are filled with wine (5) and slices of bread with poached salmon (6) are available in the lobby” jokes, Jesus turned thoughtful.

“Psst, James, John, come here.”
“What is it, Sir?”, John asked.
“Want to see something funny?”, responded Jesus. “Watch me turn this audience into a horde of stampeding elephants fleeing for the exits.”
“But why, Jesus? These are among your most devoted disciples and……..”

Before James could finish, a tumult of cheers and applause interrupted as Peter introduced Jesus.
“Sounds like a State of the Union address, doesn’t it” shouted Peter. Jesus nodded and strode to the podium.

Outside the Hall an unrelenting rain had calmed to a drizzle. A withered, middle-aged man leaned on his cane. Eyes etched in pain, he confided to those who weren’t listening: “Just my leg. The pain, I can’t take it. Tet Offensive, you know. I don’t know how they saved it, but sometimes I almost wish they hadn’t. I’d like to be in there, but it’s invite only.”
“I’ve heard about His miracles. Some say He’s a charlatan, but I don’t think so. Anyways, it’s not what He does that gets me but what He says. A man’s actions can fool, just look at those magicians, but words….? Even if the tongue speaks deceit it’s hard for the face to wrap it in fancy paper and a bow. Well, that’s what I think, anyway.”

“Yeah, sure,” spoke an impatient reporter from the Fox News Channel. “Hey Shep, Shep, I just got an exclusive with William Bennett. How about you?”
“No good,” said the other reporter. “Ran into ‘em last night at the casino. (7) Nothin’ doin’.”

Suddenly the doors to the Hall flung open and a barrage of people roiled through them like the polluted waters of a dam break pillaging an innocent hillside.

“It’s all your fault”, George W. berated Laura. “Today’s the anniversary of my taxpayer-funded stadium (8) but, noooo, I had to fly up here for this!”

Closely behind them were a dazed Ronald Reagan and Nancy.
“Well, …” … “Oh shush, Ronnie,” interrupted Nancy. “Our astrologers advised us not to attend, but you insisted against their better wishes.” (9)

Bob Dole brushed aside reporters. “I got a Viagra commercial to do. (10) ” His wife averred and indicated that she was due to give a fundraising speech at the Family Values Leadership Council’s annual 250,000 dollar a plate God, Families and Apple Pie extravaganza. (11)

Newt Gingrich was brusque: “Get lost. I have a book signing to attend and then I have a meeting with my divorce attorney.” (13)

Stern-faced, Tom Delay kept a brisk pace insisting that he was innocent of any charges, past, present or future. “I’ll resign anyway, that’s how honorable I am.” (14)

Dick and Lynn Cheney were not arm-in-arm. “….And you wanted me to hire this guy to be a pitchman for Halliburton….” (15)

Bill O’Reilly, the self-anointed culture warrior, advertised that he would “expose the truth about this guy on tonight’s Factor” and then refused response to questions concerning pending illicit phone sex charges. (16)

Prancing down the steps was Ann Coulter, malevolent eyes flaring at Rush Limbaugh. “I knew it. I knew it. I knew he was a liberal. Wait’ll I write a book about this guy.” (17)

“Yeah”, said Limbaugh smugly. “I can’t believe it! And I actually said this wacko was the Messiah. What the hell am I going to tell my dittoheads now? ... Hey Bob, Bob Dole, got any extra Viagra you don’t need?” (18)

Frantically chasing a dumbfounded James Dobson (19) , Shawn Hannity stopped to offer: “Tell ‘em this guy’s the product of the biased liberal news media, Ted Kennedy, and a bunch of Big Labor bosses, and then speculate that Hillary has a part in it. Works every time.” (20)

Not to be outdone, a red-faced Michael Savage bellowed “if this Messiah guy isn’t mentally unbalanced, no one is!” (21)

A horrified Jerry Falwell (22) was on the phone with an assistant. “…..yah, and tell this Christ fellow we’ve changed our minds and get me another commencement speaker.”

A ten-year-old boy sporting a Neo-Cons for Christ (23) button approached conservative commentator Joe Scarborough. (24)
“Is it true, Mr. Scarborough, is it true? Somebody said that Man inside is going to raise FDR and JFK and LBJ and RFK from the dead. (25) Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.”

Inside the tomb-like auditorium the apostles stood nonplussed. Caught between confusion and anger Peter confronted Jesus. “I don’t get it. These people believed in you. They followed you. They believed that you are the Son of God. Heaven help us, but they were your disciples.”
Hiding the sadness in His eyes, Jesus turned away. “They are not my disciples, Peter. They never were.” (26)

As the pandemonium outside the Hall dissipated, the Vietnam vet noticed a crisply attired V.I.P. hurrying by and asked apologetically: “Excuse me, but … what happened in there?” Looking askance, the corporate executive glanced at his diamond-studded wristwatch, a corporate perk which had been assembled by outsourced labor in a third world cesspool for purposes of profit maximization so as to exceed Wall Street expectations, all of which would render the executive an eight-figure year-end bonus, and realized that he was late for a downsizing meeting. (27) “Hey, gimp, why don’t you go get a job,” he muttered regaining his step.
Splashed by the puddles of rainwater the vet shuddered as limousines with their smoked windows sped down the deserted boulevard.

In a dark corner of the auditorium the beady eyes of Judas Iscariot glared at the stage. “Izzy”, as the media had dubbed him, had become the darling of the radio and cable TV circuit and his insides were being devoured by a ferocity he
had not known. “How could He … how could He have done this. We could have milked this crowd for all it was worth but He had to say it. Fool! Messiah! He just had to say: ‘Render therefore unto Bill and Hillary Clinton the things which be Bill and Hillary Clinton’s and unto God the things which be God’s.’* (28) Didn’t He realize who the hell He was talking to?”

Onstage, Jesus glanced at the dark recesses and smiled.
“Well, men, it’s time to go. There’s someone outside I want to see and I do believe I have a miracle in Me!”

Then the sun melted the angry clouds and a gentle breeze announced the glory of God’s good day.

* Quote based upon the belief of most in attendance that a co-presidency existed.


(1)See Matthew 4:19
(2)See 1Timothy 6:10
(3)See Genesis 2:2
(4)See Matthew 19:24
(5)See John 2:1-9
(6)See Mark 6:36-44
(7)William Bennett is the author of The Book of Virtues in which he pontificates on the damage wrought by the vices of man. It was later revealed that he had developed a gambling addiction and admitted to “cycling several hundred thousand dollars in an evening” at the casinos. Mr. Bennett is also a paid speaker with a fee of $50,000.
(8)While co-owner of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team, George W. Bush benefited from a referendum supporting the taxpayer financing of a new ball park in Arlington, TX. The self-described champion of the free market and tax cutting proponent was successful in getting the ballot measure approved only after he threatened to move the team. The public funding was derived from a sales tax increase. The referendum also created a quasi-governmental sports authority with the power to condemn and seize land via eminent domain. It was this land upon which both the stadium and adjacent business
complex were built. (See U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo vs. New London for an example of Bush’s “property acquisition”).
In an interview with ABC, Bush stated that both Chrisitans and non-Christians can go to heaven. "We have different routes of getting to the Almighty", he stated. This is in direct contradiction to John 14:6
(9)On August 30, 1974 California Governor, Ronald Reagan, signed legislation allowing for the licensing of astrology for compensation. Prior to the legislation, astrology was considered nothing more then fortune-telling. The Reagans had a long history of consulting with astrologers such as Jeane Dixon, Joan Quigley, Carroll Righter, and Joyce Jillson. The personal spiritual guide of Nancy Reagan was the Reverend Beatrice Anne Gehman, once among the top 100
psychics in America. Donald Regan, Reagan’s Chief of Staff, detailed the influence of astrology on the Reagan White House in his book "For the Record". There are several Bible verses condemning the practice of astrology. See Isaiah 47:13-14, Deuteronomy 4:19, Deuteronomy 17:2-5, Leviticus 20:6, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Daniel 2: 27-28, Acts 16:16-18, 2 Chronicles 33:5-7.
Ronald Reagan was Emersonian; that is, he believed that man’s desires are good and man pleases God by pleasing himself. Thusly, there is no need for man to discipline his desires. See Luke 6:45 and draw your own conclusion.
(10)Bob Dole was a leading “pitchman” for the drug Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceutical. Viagra alleviates erectile dysfunction.
(11)A satirical comment. Most “family values” families have more important things to do with their money then to shove it into the pocket of a politician.
(12)Gingrich was fined $300,000 for an ethics violation involving a book deal. He eventually resigned his Speakership of the House and his House seat. Gingrich had earlier spearheaded an effort resulting in the resignation of House Speaker, Jim Wright, for a similar ethics violation.
(13)Gingrich has been twice divorced and thrice married. He served divorce papers on his first wife while she was hospitalized and undergoing cancer treatment. Gingrich has admitted to engaging in an adulterous affair while he was
preparing charges of impeachment against Pres. Bill Clinton. Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about an adulterous affair with a White House intern. Gingrich was also involved in the House banking scandal in which he bounced 22 checks.
(14)Tom Delay is under indictment on charges that he criminally conspired to violate campaign finance laws in Texas. Two of his former aids were convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal. He has been privately reprimanded for a number of House ethics violations. He has been accused of misuse of Federal investigative agencies. Though a fierce critic of Fidel Castro he was photographed while in Israel smoking a Cuban cigar. He has denied culpability on all charges. Delay eventually resigned his House Majority Leadership position and on June 9, 2006 resigned his House seat. He has since launched his
weblog. It is ghostwritten.
(15)Halliburton has received more than $10 billion in govt no-bid contracts for the Iraq war effort. A Pentagon email indicated that Vice-Pres Cheney had personally helped his former company obtain a huge govt. contract. Cheney has denied it. As the CEO of Halliburton, Cheney was awarded a $20 million retirement package. Lynn Cheney is the author of Sisters, which features a lesbian love affair.
(16)A Fox News Channel producer filed a lawsuit against O’Reilly alleging that he had sexually harassed her with repeated mentions of phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, and other sexual fantasies such as a Caribbean shower fantasy. O’Reilly settled the lawsuit with a payment estimated to be at least $2 million.
(17)This writer’s opinion. Ann Coulter is a conservative pundit and a leading critic of liberalism.
(18)Rush Limbaugh is a syndicated conservative talk show host. He was detained at Palm Beach Intl Airport after authorities found a bottle of Viagra in his bag. The prescription was not in his name. Limbaugh is currently undergoing his
third divorce. Viagra is used to enhance sexual performance. According to this writer’s calculations … Impending divorce + Viagra = extramarital fornication.
(19)James Dobson is the Founder of Focus on the Family. He has referred to Newt Gingrich as a fine example of Christian ideals.
(20)Shawn Hannity is a syndicated conservative talk show host. His response is this writer’s opinion.
(21)Michael Savage is a syndicated conservative talk show host and author of "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder". His short-lived cable talk show was cancelled after he told a gay caller that the caller should “get AIDS and die”. Savage has
also irked some creationists by insisting that only an ignoramus would actually believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. During one of his radio programs, Savage insisted that what America needs more of is hate.
(22)The late Jerry Falwell was the president of Liberty University. In a speech at his last values voter summit, Falwell indicated that Christians would be more upset at a Hillary Clinton candidacy than one by Lucifer himself. Though he insisted that he was joking, those in attendance roared with approval.
(23)Neo-cons are neo-conservatives who serve in the George W. Bush administration. Neo-conservatism traces its roots to the 1960s.
(24)Joe Scarborough is the host of Scarborough Country on MSNBC.
(25)See John 11:43-44.
(26)See John 6:63-66.
(27)In this writer’s opinion, the mantra of the American corporate state.
(28)See Luke 20:25.

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