from October 15, 2004
It is a truth sometimes acknowledged, that it is incumbent on every candidate running for the highest office in the free world to skirt the question of his or her religious beliefs.
To this tradition I adhere—but only up to a point. My own position is that a candidate must both (1) come clean on the question of religions whose beliefs he or she does not endorse and (2) give subtle hints about his or her own religious beliefs.
I swear to you before God, if there is such a being, that I am not an Islamic terrorist. Nor am I a Christian pacifist, or a Jewish socialist. When I lived in dire circumstances back in my father’s decrepit shack, I admit that I held low-level talks with an itinerant Buddhist nun who had gotten off at the wrong station back in Panhandle County. One morning before breakfast she taught me the first steps of meditation, which consisted mostly of sitting on a rough surface with my legs crossed in an uncomfortable position that led to excruciating pain. From that point on, I was never tempted to achieve Nirvana. As for any ties to Hinduism, all I can report is that I read a book on Indian Philosophy and became thoroughly confused. In my admittedly amateur view, they give you just too many damned options, none of which are spelled out clearly. And I’ve never cottoned to primitive religions, even though their medicine men are supposed to be capable of doing hundreds of tricks. As an accomplished beg-off artist, I’ve always figured I can match them trick for trick.
Now for the subtle hints. I believe from the bottom of my feet that there is quite probably a God, maybe even more than one, though I wouldn’t want to put a number on it. I also sincerely believe that God, or even his possible competitors, wants America to succeed. He (or She) is on our side—except, of course, on those rare occasions when we are in the wrong, in which case He (or She) sends a supernatural disaster our way as a gentle reminder. I firmly believe in the power of prayer, and if that doesn’t work, you should be allowed to cheat a little on the side and/or take the law into your own hands.
Finally, I am intrigued by the various religions my colleague, Thalia Mews, is starting. Despite the fact that I have not signed, nor will I sign, on the dotted line of any of them, I would be the first to champion her right to get them going despite what many of my more orthodox friends say about some of her so-called “nutty ideas.” In fact, it was I who first mentioned the possibility that she be named Secretary of Religion in the first Ab Ennis administration. She is a charming, charismatic lady who speaks the truth as she sees it, except when she is doing the tongue-in-cheek routine.