from August 1, 2004
Every aspirant for the office of Secretary of Religion has his or her detractors and admirers. Unfortunately, a considerable number of them write books. Seldom do we find a fair, measured, objective account of the strengths and weaknesses, the outstanding attributes and foibles, of the candidate under scrutiny.
Fortunately, The Thalia Mews Story, by Ab Ennis, belongs in the latter category. The prose is lucid, simple, and elegant. The facts have been thoroughly researched. The aspirant for what has recently become perhaps the most controversial office in the land, Thalia Mews (1942– ), was, in the interview conducted for this book by Mr. Ennis, the esteemed author, columnist, and presidential candidate of the Dead Rights Party, forthright in defending the innovations of her forthcoming religion, and relaxed as she settled onto the stool at the end of the bar in the Hôtel Adobe barroom, lit what she habitually calls her “sucker,” and sipped what she is wont to call a “brewski.” What we have in this volume is, in a phrase, Pulitzer material.
Q. What are your plans for reconfiguring American religion after the inauguration of President Ab Ennis, your present interlocutor?
A. I’ve got every intention of making Bagnosticism the official religion of this great country. I’m kinda thinking of making every church, cathedral, temple, mosque, synagogue, and meetinghouse in America a place where people can go to hang out and discuss whatever’s on their spiritual minds, 24/7.
Q. Concerning the name. What exactly does the word “Bagnosticism” refer to?
A. Bagnosticism is the set of doctrines of the Bagnostics. The word is a conflation—I bet you didn’t think I knew that word—of three others, namely: born, again, and agnosticism. A Bagnostic is simply a born-again agnostic. Kinda obvious when you stop to think about it, isn’t it?
Q. What are the major doctrines of Bagnosticism?
A. We’ve got quite a few of them and I wouldn’t wanna rank them in terms of major versus minor. Hey, bartend! A coupla brewskis for me and my friend.
Q. Make that one brewski for the lady and a teaspoon of rotgut for me. Remember, I’m dead and I prefer not to have my ashes floating around in a mug of beer.
A. Back to the question. I don’t like to dodge ’em. I’m pretty upfront about my religious ideas. Well, if I recall, we Bagnostics believe in heaven, hell, and purgatory, preferring the latter as the goal of life. Also, we consider the horse sacred. We’re pretty flexible about what you stuff into your body, but horsemeat is a definite No-No. We believe in the Big Bang and Darwin and we’d bet big bucks that the world will end when it either runs into a humongous meteor or gets caught up in the sweep of a comet’s tail. As for rules, we’re firm believers in making up our own.
Q. What are your views of other religions? For instance, Christianity?
A. We believe Jesus died and rose again on the third day and ascended to Mars. We’ll also go so far as to predict that he’ll be back.
Q. What about the First Amendment and freedom of religion and no establishment of religion? Isn’t that a problem with making Bagnosticism the official American religion?
A. Oh no. I mean, that’s gonna be only a temporary problem. It’ll last approximately one year, then I plan to go to work and come up with a couple more religions, which will be co-official with Bagnosticism. So everybody will end up having three choices.
Q. Do you have a timetable for these extra religions, and could you give us a hint about their teachings?
A. To paraphrase Jesus, “No man knows the time, or the details.”