O Dear Heavenly Father
Yes, I know, O Lord, for a filthy atheist Iíve sure been praying to
You a lot lately. Itís just that there have been so many situations
that only You seem capable of handling, if You exist. Earlier this
year I prayed for
Pope John Paul II, and for those in
Your Congress who voted to save the
life of Terry Schiavo.
Actually, I donít really need to take up Your valuable time on this
one, O Lord. Maybe one of Your servants could handle this prayer.
So, could You connect me with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates? Oh ...
sure, Iíll hold.
Oh, jeez, no ... sorry, Lord, didnít mean to take Your Sonís name in
vain, but really, do you have to play ďItís a Small World After AllĒ
while Iím waiting?
Whatís that? Wait, let me write this down. To report a
mortal sin, press one. To report a
venial sin, press two. For
rosary repair, press three. To
purchase an indulgence, press four, and have your credit card handy.
If you have a request and know the extension of the angel in charge,
enter the number now. To speak to an angelic service representative,
Da dum, da dum, da dum ... small world after all, itís a small
world after all, itís a small world after ...
Oh, hello, Saint Peter? Hi, I was just sending up this prayer to
alert you that somebody will be coming your way soon, and I think
you ought to be on your guard. Youíll recognize him by the four gold
stripes on each sleeve of his black robe. You might be interested to
know heís the only Chief Justice of the Supreme Court ever to wear
those stripes. He got the idea from a
Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, if you can believe it,
Pete. (Can I call you Pete?) A little grandiloquent, if you ask me,
considering that his vote counted for no more than the other eight.
sin of Pride, maybe?
When this guy arrives, Pete, Iíd advise you to have a couple of
hefty cherubs on hand. Tell him to put his hands on the Pearly Gates
and assume the position, and then pat the son-of-a-bitch down.
Somewhere on his person youíll find copies of his decisions. Pay
particular attention to the brief he wrote while a law clerk to
Robert Jackson, another Supreme Court Justice, where he defends the
ďseparate but equalĒ doctrine of
Plessy vs. Ferguson,
and thus argued strongly against
Brown vs. Board of Education.
He later swore under oath that he only wrote it because Jackson
asked him to, a blatant lie because Jackson voted for
BvBoE. If this guy had had his way, Pete, weíd still have segregated
schools in America, and water fountains and rest rooms and buses and
lunch counters and hotels. Throughout his career he voted
consistently against every civil rights measure. In 1960, working
Barry Goldwater, he led efforts to challenge the qualifications
of black voters. It is rumored that he goose-stepped around Stanford
shouting ďHeil, Hitler!Ē around Jewish students. I canít confirm
that, but it should be right there in your book.
Correct me if Iím wrong, Pete, but back when I believed in you and
your Boss, we sang a song: ďRed and yellow, black and white,
all are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of
the world.Ē Did I get it wrong? Was it really ďAll are
separate but more or less equal in His sight?Ē Or was it ďSome are
more precious than others in His sight?Ē Would you ask Jesus, next
time you see Him, and get back to me on that?
Listen, Pete, if you let this guy in, before long heís going to be
agitating to seat black people on the backside of clouds, have them
sit in the back of the heavenly choir. Heíll want separate but equal
neighborhoods for them, and heíll outlaw playing The Blues on harps.
Heíll have the cherubs pull blacks over for ďflying while black,Ē
and make it harder for black folks to get their wings.
Take it from me, Saint P. You donít want this guy around. He was
nothing but trouble down here, and heíll be more of the same up
there. So pull the lever on that Heavenly trap door, sound the
whoopee buzzer, have
Chuck Barris hit that great big gong. Get out
that Vaudeville crook and pull his racist ass offstage. Tell him he
didnít say the secret woid (tolerance), the duck ainít cominí down.
He has to go directly to Hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Iím not going to petition Satan in this prayer, Pete. That isnít up
to me. I do know that Hell is a rigorously segregated place, nine
levels and a lot of neighborhoods, if
Dante is to be believed. Iím
sure Satan will find a place for him. I can only hope it will be
right next to
Strom Thurmond, eternally chopping cotton under the
blistering sun without a drop to drink nor a place to lay his head.
Let him keep the robe.