Sermon on the Mount
[Author’s Note: The below is a satirical piece. It has religious and political content, and some crude language, which some may find offensive.]
Sermon on the Mount
by the Committee for the Revival of American Patriotism (Joseph Locascio, Chairperson)
Recently, some journalists have pointed out what appear to be slight inconsistencies when one compares the philosophy and practices of certain “conservative” American political groups with portions of sacred writings, which they claim to be the foundation of their beliefs and actions. The Committee for the Revival of American Patriotism has studied the problem and determined that this perception of incongruity is a false one resulting from past fallacious translations and interpretations of certain Bible passages that have seriously distorted the original intended meaning of ancient Hebrew and Greek texts. An especially problematic section of the Scriptures is in the New Testament, Book of Matthew (Chapters 5-7) where Jesus’s famous “Sermon on the Mount” is recounted. To set the record straight, we have paid off, that is to say, employed the services of, a number of learned Biblical scholars, historians, cultural anthropologists, linguists, and radio talk show hosts in order that they might restore the original meaning of these passages. Here then is the approved, Biblically correct, revisionist translation of the Sermon on the Mount.
The Sermon on the Mount
And Jesus went up to the mount and spoke to the gathered multitude: “Amen, I say unto you:”
1. Blessed are the war-makers for they shall be called “preemptive.” Don’t question war or say anything in opposition to it (and certainly not as long as your side is winning). On the contrary, do all you can to support it. War should be a choice, not something you’re forced to do as an absolute last resort in selfdefense when you have no choice. The ideal is victory in war, not peace. The winning of a war and the morality or legality of it are conceptually indistinguishable (in the same way civil and moral law are). The Fifth Commandment was meant to apply locally only. The unnecessary killing of a single person by another down the street from where you live is shocking and morally abhorrent, justifying capital punishment; however, the morality of our paying large numbers of people to unnecessarily kill hundreds of thousands of human beings at a location more distant from us should not even be raised by religious people as an issue to be evaluated, let alone acted upon. If defeatist Quaker and liberal Jewish or Catholic bellyachers insist on peace, then instead of letting our soldiers die in vain (3,000 kids dead for nothing), let’s at least have “peace with honor” (30,000 kids dead for nothing). Strong leaders who win wars, or at least give it a good try, by unhesitatingly sending thousands of other people to suffer agonizing death and disability are great heroes, even if they themselves have never been in or will be in combat. Wimps who take every reasonable strategy to keep our young people out of expensive, pointless, counterproductive, vicious, endless conflicts are despicable failures. To try to spare your fellow countrymen/women from needless death, and save your country from demagogues who want to start and continue unjustified, unnecessary, duplicitous, over-reactive war that is damaging to your nation (and the world) in so many ways, is “treason.” To urge these actions on, is “patriotism.” Got that straight? It’s a little counter-intuitive. On the other hand, say and do relatively little about ongoing genocide. Ignore such unpleasant things.
2. Blessed are those who obsess on rituals and superstitious practices on certain days of the week, endlessly reading and reciting verses from sacred books, discoursing at length on elaborate mystical nuances, adorning themselves with medallions, speaking in tongues, condemning the incorrectness of other religions and damning their sincere followers, while the poor children of the world suffer and die in hopeless, abandoned droves from malnutrition, treatable diseases, and atrocities of war and persecution. I think you son of a guns are finally getting my point about what true religion means!
3. Have faith, hope and charity, but the greatest of these is faith, NOT charity, as I believe someone has been going around claiming I said to him. (Oy vey! That meshuggener, Paul. Voices again he’s hearing! While all over the Mediterranean he’s schlepping. What other mishegoss he’s been telling those goyim, God only knows!) Preachers, place no emphasis on charity to the poor, compassion, or love, except of course to remind your flock that contributions to your church are considered as a tax-deductible charity on their tax returns. Carefully time your extolling of the Biblical virtue of cheerful generosity to coincide only with when the collection basket is being passed. Money makes money, so don’t give any of it away.
4. He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword. On the other hand, napalm, computer guided missiles, cluster bombs, and tactical nuclear weapons will inflict massive causalities on the enemy and overwhelm any of their still operational medical facilities, while at the same time minimizing losses to your own side. Invest in profitable, expensive, technologically advanced, efficient, and horrifically cruel weaponry. (Remember, it’s a theological truism that no matter how much of this diabolical stuff you support, if you believe in me, you’re saved, which is more than I can say for your victims—how’s that for justice and mercy!)
5. If a man smites you on your right cheek, turn the other cheek. Forget about the person who did the smiting. But don’t miss the opportunity to exploit the situation as an excuse to carpet bomb and occupy any sovereign foreign country whose inhabitants are of the same religion or even distantly ethnically related to the person who smote you, even though they had nothing to do with the smiting, as a pretext for securing their natural resources. I wouldn’t exactly consider that lying. I’m thinking about repealing the eighth commandment anyway or at least amending it to grant executive immunity. Nobody will catch on to your bull, and the whole world will grow in love, trust, admiration, and respect toward you. Even if some get it, they won’t say anything on account of we’re paying them off or they’re scared shitless. If possible though, try to minimize collateral carnage among innocent noncombatants, especially toddlers. It makes for bad press. Speaking of the press, make sure they don’t show any blood in their reports; that’s not nice. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, 1,000 buildings for 2 buildings, 300,000 innocents for 3,000 innocents. Repay terrorist evil with fascist, imperialist evil. Defense is the best excuse for a good offense.
6. Blessed are the strong for they will dominate with shock and awe. God don’t suffer no meek fools. By the way, whenever you kinda feel like you’d like to bomb, invade, and occupy some country or other, don’t try to count their dead, especially the noncombatants. That way if someone asks you about them, you can say, “Gee, I donno” or “That’s an exaggeration!” How da hell they gonna know if that’s BS or not?
7. Disparage hard-working scientists who try to contribute knowledge they hope will improve the human condition. They say they have no choice but to tentatively accept models that appear logically, evidentially, probabilistically, and actually true. Rubbish! These pompous egg-heads and geeks arrogantly disregard inconsistencies with the literal wording of our pleasant, sacred poetry and metaphors written by people in ancient, primitive, and ignorant eras, who could only understand concepts in terms familiar to them at the time. Scientists are anarchists who have always had the unmitigated gall to think for themselves and give more weight to their sense perceptions, reason, and empiricism than to tradition and the pronouncements of recognized religious and political authority figures! Scientists and the scientific method seem, for some reason, to be useful when you need something like a vaccine for a terrible disease, or technology to improve your life, but generally, ridicule them. Sadly, the good old days seem to be passing away when it was in vogue to physically torture, imprison and execute scientists who weren’t careful about reporting their observations or stating reasoned theories, but we can certainly still verbally abuse and gang up on them. It brings a tear to my eye when I remember how we used to sit around those book-burning bonfires, arm in arm, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Sometimes we’d throw a heretic or two on the fire. I haven’t had that much fun since the old stoning days. I think I’m going to start blubbering in a minute. Attacking scientists for trying to be rational promotes an atmosphere that nurtures progress, enlightenment, and a courageous acceptance of and respect for the truth. Remember, if everyone in the world can be gotten to believe that the sum of 2 plus 2 is 5, it increases to 4.3 at the very least. I always intended the Bible to be a biology, chemistry and physics textbook that describes the details of natural science. All scientific discoveries should first be screened against its sayings before being reported. A Bible on every lab bench, I say! Every word the Scriptures says is as literally real as the solid firmament God put over our heads to hold back the waters!
8. If you see a mentally ill person without food, decent clothing or shelter, have no pity. Pay no attention. Probably some of the abundant, accumulating luxuries of those born super-rich will eventually trickle down to him in time to avoid much permanent damage to his health from malnutrition. If he doesn’t survive, it’s his own fault—he must be weak, maladapted, maladjusted, or unintelligent. Remember, teaching evolution conflicts with the Bible, but practicing “social Darwinism” is right in line with it. Give your money instead to pay the titanic, bankrupting, unprecedented defense debt. Budget cuts for medical research, education, and natural disaster emergency relief should be made in order to fund astronomical defense expenditures, not the other way around. Prioritize. Providing first for abundant monetary rewards to those who develop and produce more and more horrific weapons, that eventually will be used against us too, instills in everyone a sense of hope in the future.
9. Don’t channel any of your hard-earned money to helping all the suffering people of the world get off the ground or in trying to aid them in solving their many problems. What’s the point, anyway? All will be destroyed in the End Times, and there’s so many bestselling books that prove that’s just around the corner and that it’s our moral obligation to contribute to any injustice or violence that helps to bring it about. Besides, the world might respect, trust, and admire us if we show beneficence. God forbid, i.e., I forbid. Instead put your money toward killing the people of the world. Consider it a mercy.
10. It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. This is why I always advise investment strategies for the super-rich in which they channel capital from their permanent tax cuts into lucrative ventures in nanotechnology.
11. Blessed are the arrogant, financially irresponsible jingoists for they shall win elections... if they oppose gay marriage. By the way, remember, in a presidential election, 50.7% of the electorate constitutes a “mandate” to do everything completely abhorrent to the other 49.3%.
12. “Vengeance” is the Lord’s, but you can still cover a lot of the same crap with the word “justice.”
13. Speaking of which, let’s clear up this confusion about capital punishment right here and now. If you’re pretty sure they’re guilty, then I say string up the bastards! That’s consistent with the spirit and letter of everything I’ve said and done. If we find out later that some of those executed were innocent, well then, we can always send a condolence card to next of kin as a way of apologizing. Hallmark makes some cute ones—like—“Sorry ‘bout the lynching! Hope you’re not still strung out about it. Keep hangin’ in there!”—that one gets me all choked up and I’m not just stringing you along either, although sometimes I think they’re stretching it a bit... or maybe that’s just my own hang-ups; I know I can be a pain in the neck at times, but I tell ya, sometimes I feel like I’m at the end of my rope! ... yuk, yuk. [Editor’s note: Some scholars argue that this is where God created stand up comedy, though you can see that in this early, primitive form, the quality of it is very poor.]
14. Blessed are the merciless, for mercy will just “embolden the enemy.” Remember, where you draw the line between legal interrogation techniques and torture is very arbitrary. (Oy, let’s hope the enemy doesn’t feel the same way though.) Snooty prigs who label boiling people to death as “cruel” are presumptuously trying to foist their purely subjective value judgments on the rest of us! This is a moral outrage!
15. It’s noble and morally right to use ruthless, callous, indiscriminant, violent force as the preferred method of choice for promoting the practice of your political beliefs and for changing bad regimes. Spread democracy by burning people alive with incendiary bombs—it’s my gift to humanity. Ignore world opinion and criticism from busy-bodies. Blow people to pieces with missile-guided cluster bombs, pour sticky, flaming jelly all over them, and incinerate them with nuclear weapons... but let’s be civilized about this—no barbaric tactics like beheading! We don’t do that! What we need are techniques like crusades, inquisitions, and witch burnings—those will do a lot to foster long lasting good will, reconciliation, and plain old-fashioned friendliness. Nonviolent methods, trying to peacefully mitigate root ideological, social and political causes of violence, talking, diplomacy, negotiation, restraint, creative solutions, cooperation, compromise, argument, understanding, example, sincerity, international law, adjudication, arbitration, blah, blah, blah— all that stuff is for sissies, only to be tried as a final, absolute last resort after all attempts at force, mass murder, maiming, destruction, collateral devastation of innocents, appallingly wasteful defense expenditures, lying, poisoning of international relations and violating of international law, vilifying, destabilization, corrupt reconstruction, torture, and atrocities have been first thoroughly exhausted (or if your butt’s about to be impeached otherwise). Always be mindful of the example you’re setting. It will be helpful to everyone in the long run, and to your own country particularly, when you’re no longer the most powerful one around, to show the world that “preemptive” and illegal warfare can get you what you want, as will torture, unilateralism, ignoring of world opinion, massive defense buildups, refusal to negotiate, bullying of smaller countries, deceit, intimidation, etc. That’s a happy thought. Regarding examples, look at mine—I have continually advocated violence against the oppressive Roman Empire. I’ve killed a number of Romans with my bare hands. Rome will never be changed by an ideology; only force will do that. (Oy vey, a bad rep I think I’m getting already for healing that goyish centurion’s servant!)
16. Never say anything about social injustice, or ethnic or religious prejudice. In fact, side with those things when reasonable claims for equality with respect to gender, ethnics, religion, and sexual orientation conflict with something written eons ago by someone immersed in chauvinistic beliefs and practices of a superstitious, ignorant culture. Peace, reason, understanding, justice, knowledge, enlightenment, harmony, universalism, tolerance, cooperation, kindness, and human compassion are no substitutes for comforting traditions that make you feel you’re better than everybody else. Never try to separate provincial, primitive culture and old habitual, unfair and destructive ways of thinking and acting from theological dogma (especially when it makes you top dog). It’s tautological that God, My Father, is as male as I, His Son (and a Caucasian humanoid of course). Therefore, it’s obvious, at least to every man I’ve ever spoken to, that God’s desire is that all women should just be submissive housewives and have only subservient roles in churches also. Look at that Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Eleanor Roosevelt, for example. They would have made wonderful stay-at-home moms. What a waste! (Oy, I forgot they haven’t been born yet! Oh well, we all make mistakes. I’m only human—half anyway, on my mother’s side. ... Speaking of my mother— When are you going to get married?—she keeps nagging me! What’s the matter with that Magdalene woman? She’s crazy for you and she’s a nice Jewish girl. You’re holding out maybe for Barbara Streisand?—she asks. You’re expecting maybe a proposal from Elizabeth Taylor? And stay away from those Samaritan shiksas! Everyone’s talking! Oy!) And I shouldn’t have been so silent about homosexuality either. Let me just say now for the record that it’s prima facie evil and obviously harmful to the rest of us normal people! Using anything for an “unnatural” purpose is evil, which is why whistling, for example, is a heinous sin. Don’t you tell me those gays and lesbians didn’t choose to have those feelings. They deliberately chose it out of pure wanton malice just to interfere with my natural and benevolent plan for catastrophic overpopulation. We have every right to tell them what to do, incarcerate them, damn them, call them names and/or brutalize them. (Oy, that Simon! I’m tellink you. Such a nebbish he is. So maybe he should stop already vit making vit the “Prince of Peace” visecracks!) Such destructive values these gays have—we all know the reputation they have in the arts, literature, music, science, and scholarship, in place of the ingrained, God-given tendency toward macho violence that the rest of us men have and that has always had such a positive influence on human relations. Which brings to mind the Jews. It’s right to persecute them too. You can rationalize... I mean justify that with ancient writings. It’s just to condemn a whole race for what a couple of their clerics may have said millennia ago. What have the Jews given the world anyway except for the moral foundation of Western Civilization and a few paltry intellectual and artistic contributions? By the way, I’m not a Jew myself. Like you, I’m a Christian. Those are 99% the same thing—everything I’ve been teaching is basically condensed Torah, except I guess the Jews don’t buy that I’m the son of God (actually, I can’t quite figure out exactly what that means myself and I’m supposed to be omniscient! An “identity crisis” my analyst calls it! Fifty shekels an hour that gonif is charging me and such nonsense is the best he can come up with! From Dr. Phil, better advice I could be getting! Oy, such a headache it’s giving me! Have they discovered aspirin yet?) Those Jews are a bunch of sticklers, I’m telling you. At any rate, our differences are certainly worth damning, hating, and killing over, I say. That’s perfectly reasonable. After all, what’s religion for if not to promote misunderstanding, persecution, elitism, cruelty, arrogance, intolerance, ignorance, close-mindedness, bigotry, superstition, social injustice, irrational fanaticism, divisiveness, alienation, hatred, killing, and what would we do without that most wonderful boon of all to mankind—our beloved warfare? Lastly, I’m sure I don’t need to go into why skin melanin and folded eyelids lower human value—those truisms are self-evident from wise customs and through validation by democratic consensus. Statistics show that these ethnic groups are more ignorant than we are. This proves that it’s pointless for them to try to educate themselves and justifies our past and continuing policies that prevent any of them from doing so.
17. And please don’t turn into a sentimental bleeding-heart for chryssakes. You can find plenty of reasons for hate in the Bible if you look for them, plenty. You can justify anything, anything. As conflicts between political-economic systems subside, by God we’ll find other reasons for domination, demagoguery, and war. World wide religious fundamentalism, intolerance and fanaticism, with a little touch of good old fashioned ethnic and male chauvinism, should pick up the slack. Just forget about all that stuff I said about loving your enemies, not judging people, do unto others as you would.... yada, yada, yada. There are actually some of you who believe and try to practice that stuff! I don’t know what in the world I was thinking when I said it! Maybe too much vino. It was just the booze talking. (Oy, I shouldn’t have changed all that water to Mogen David for my first miracle, or I should have at least made it a better year. Maybe Judas had a point when he said I was abusing my power a bit on that one. And those tax collectors and prostitutes! Talk about your party animals! They’re a bad influence. So? Vaht? Better maybe to bottled water you want I should stick?? Oy vey!)
18. You people don’t seem to understand that we’re in a culture war, against foreign idolaters and domestic pagans! They’re trying to tear down our culture and we must do it to them first. Everything about our culture is good; everything about theirs is strange and bad. Our irrational religious fanaticism kills people in greater quantities and in a much more civilized, organized, orderly, efficient and technologically sophisticated manner than their irrational religious fanaticism does. And we cover up and rationalize everything much better. We’re clearly superior! We respect freedom and value human rights which is why we have every right to kill and torture innocents, invade any ole country we feel like invading, permanently suspend civil liberties, incarcerate guiltless people indefinitely in secret prisons without bothering with courtesies like telling them why they’re there, allowing them any legal consultation, or a trial, and ... well, you get the point. When you criticize, never acknowledge anything of value or truth in another person’s creed, religion, culture, politics or philosophy, even if what they believe in is exactly what you believe in with just a different name. “Jehovah” is God, not “Allah”! God’s not Arabic for Pete’s sake! These Sermon–methods will win others over! Kill, die, torture, lie—forever. If everyone does this, what a wonderful world this will be. I feel like singing folk songs!
19. Let me also point out that, although it may seem a little unjust on the surface, everyone who has never heard of me, even if through no fault of their own, is going to be punished by not being allowed entry into Heaven, and I can prove that assertion. First of all, you got your basic heresy there that someone can get into Heaven without believing in me specifically. Secondly—now stay with me on this one—if these ignoramuses could get into Heaven that would mean that by evangelizing to one of them you’re giving the person, who might have been saved if left alone, the opportunity to reject me and then get the boot for sure. Therefore evangelism and witnessing would actually be causing some people to change from being saved to unsaved— and that don’t make no sense. You follow? Q.E.D. Tough luck you Aborigines. (Oy, this bunch doesn’t even get this stuff. My head hurts when I think of what’s going to happen when they try to teach it to those goyim numbskulls!) And the same goes for those pretentious agnostics! They think they’ve got all the answers!
20. Your beliefs are true and you are good; their beliefs are false and they are evil; therefore you are morally justified in killing them. However, from their point of view, the exact reverse is equally true. This will come to be known as the “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle”—who’s observing something changes what’s being observed. ... Look, I don’t get it either—I just create this stuff; I don’t have to understand it.
21. Don’t read, and for My sakes, don’t think or question. Watch plenty of TV instead, as soon as it gets invented, but avoid PBS; you won’t understand a lot of that intellectual crap anyway.
22. You know, I think I overdid it in bad-mouthing religious hypocrisy so much. I meant that to apply to the Pharisees only.
23. And lay off with the deep questions like “Why is there suffering and evil?” okay? I got headaches enough. Robots don’t make good company so I made you with free will and brains. I even chose a group in the center of the world and gave them a few general suggestions to pass along to everyone in case you were too stupid to figure things out for yourself. So you can make this thing Heaven or Hell. Your choice. Don’t blame me if you totally screw up.
24. And please quit telling me you want to see miracles. Proof would take away your choice. How’s that for profundity? Besides, if you’d stop straining so hard to see miracles, you might notice a few. They’re everywhere.
25. Lastly, remember that all the laws and admonitions of Moses and the prophets can be summarized in three great commandments: (1) love God, (2) love other people, and (3) love your country to such a fanatical degree that you disregard the first two commandments.
26. Oh, and let me mention in closing that preachy, insulting smart-alecks who try to satirize religion (or the lack of it) are immoral heathens! There shall be no place for them at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob during the Lord’s feast in Heaven!—They’ll be lucky to get take-out.
Appeared in Secular Nation—Vol 12, Number 1, pages 8-11, 16. (Published July 2007)