Good morning, y’all. I guess we’ve got some birds of a feather flock together news as the Donald announces his most recent campaign shakeup. The pro-Russia Paul Manafort appears to be headed for the sidelines as the pro-misogyny Roger Ailes moves in. I guess as long as he surrounds himself with haters, it’s all the same to the Donald. Although I suspect the Donald will feel more comfortable with an abuser of women and someone who never let the truth get in the way of his narrative. May they go down in flames together.
Speaking of going down in flames brings us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. The three friends walked into the office of the Little Church in the Valley after Wednesday Night’s Prayer meeting to a spirited argument about women’s rights.
Reverend Helena was talking and seemed to be full of vinegar, “One of the things that should be in everyone’s control is parenthood.” “Whether or not to have a child should totally be up to the parents.” “I guess in a perfect world we would want two happy well adjusted people who really loved children and would do right by them to be parents.” “Failing that, at least one of the parents should meet that criteria.”
The Reverend drew a breath and continued, “In my mind, you have to have the mother’s total 100 percent buy in, or it’s a nonstarter.” “I don’t think I’m being sexist, or old school, I think I’m being pragmatic.” “If the mother can’t commit to 100 percent love and devotion to a child, she should have an out.”
The Reverend turned her head slightly towards the male members of the group as she said, “No, I’m not talking about adoption or orphanages.” “The horror of state run orphanages and places like the Sisters of Magdalene are well documented.” “The potential mother should have a choice about when to exercise her lifetime commitment to raising a child, if ever.”
Elder Cheatum was first to speak, “I don’t know exactly what you’re advocating here, but we, and the people of our community, represent very conservative, Christian values.”
“Well, to your first point, conservative values”, replied Reverend Helena, “you must not mean fiscal conservative.” “As far back as 1972, the Rockefeller Commission determined that a liberalized abortion policy superseded a reduction in crime eighteen years in the future.” “Those statistics were further confirmed in a study done by Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago and John Donohue of Yale University in 2001.” “Their study concludes that the states with a high abortion rate have also experienced the greater reduction in crime.” “So, you can’t argue with those facts if you’re a ‘fiscal conservative’.”
Reverend Helena used the stunned silence to continue, “The study conclusively points out that unwanted children become society’s burden in the future.” “It would seem that true conservatives should be in favor of molding a society where the ‘unwanted’ children would not be disrupting classrooms, creating crimes of varying degrees of sophistication and violence before finally being moved into the prison system.” “The average cost to house a criminal in prison is $32,000 a year.” “It would seem that true conservatives would prefer these children to be taxpayers, not taxtakers, that is unless it’s not about ‘fiscal’ values.”
Elder Cheatum stammered, “How on Earth did we get on this topic, I find this totally inappropriate for our meeting.”
Reverend Helena drew her breath and continued, “And that brings us back to the second part of your statement, ‘Christian values’.” “I am alarmed at the “holier than thou” elements that our faith has attracted over the years.” “These folks would like for us to turn back the clock to the “Scarlet Letter” days.” “Rather than a letter sown onto their dress to signify their sin of fornication, the ‘modern’ Christians would prefer the woman have a child to carry as a constant reminder of her sin.”
Reverend Helena continued to drive it home when she said, “I think all of the concern about ‘fetal pain’ and the ‘beginning of life’ are just red herrings designed to draw us away from these so-called Christians true motivation.” “These people want the woman to pay for her sin, and they are not content to wait for Judgement Day.” “They want her to pay now, and in the hereafter.” “They want a woman to wear her sin.”
The Elders were completely speechless, they didn’t know whether to attempt to argue, pretend to agree, or adjourn the meeting. Before they could decide, Reverend Helena made the decision for them.
Reverend Helena stood to leave and said, “I’ll just finish this up by saying I’m for free, on demand birth control, whatever shape it takes.” “There should be a Planned Parenthood office every hundred feet if necessary to keep unwanted children born.” “Bob Barker used to end each show by reminding everyone to have their pet spayed or neutered.” “Are we more concerned about unwanted pets than we are children?” “As a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, I hope not.”
And then Reverend Helena left the room with the members of the committee looking at one another with dazed confusion. It was a full minute before anyone spoke.
“What got that started”, Elder Cheatum asked as he looked at Mulva.
“I don’t rightly know”, Mulva replied, “I was telling her that I thought Alva Bread might be pregnant again, and what a blessing it was, and then you all kind of walked into the middle of it.” “She obviously has some very strong feelings on the subject.”
“Another bun in the oven”, replied Elder Diggum attempting to make a pun with the Bread name, “or should I say a biscuit?”
“You should say as little as possible”, said Elder Wiley, “Remember it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
Turning to Mulva, Elder Wiley said, “I would have thought Reverend Helena would have been as happy as a clam after Sunday.” “Is there anything else going on?”
“Not that I’m aware of”, replied Mulva, “she seemed okay until I told her about Ava, and then it was like she’d been struck by a bolt of lightning.” “I don’t think I’ve actually seen or heard her express her personal beliefs so strongly before.”
“Well, since that outburst was confined to our group I guess we’ll let it go,” determined Elder Cheatum, “but if any of that heresy gets to anyone outside of our group, Reverend Helena will have to be dealt with.” “Now, to more important things, how’d we do?”
“Well, money is still coming in from TV land, but the collection plate at the Crystal Place was over twelve thousand dollars”, replied Mulva, “I think we’ll get at least that much from TV land and then you can add in about twelve hundred dollars from the Little Church”.
“So we’ll be over twenty-five thousand for the week”, asked Elder Wiley.
“Absolutely, I’m being conservative on the TV land money, cause, you know you can’t count it until it’s in your hand”, answered Mulva.
“Well that’s where our growth has to come from”, replied Elder Cheatum, “I don’t see us packing any more bodies in the Crystal Place.”
“Shame we couldn’t pass the plate to the people standing around the broadcast truck”, said Elder Diggum.
“We could put donation envelopes and a collection box out there”, replied the secretary/ treasurer.
“Let’s hold off on that”, replied Elder Cheatum, “that crowd probably has more advertising value than they would contribute.” “Let’s not scare them off by charging admission.”
“Okay, I’m going to call it a night if there’s nothing else”, Elder Cheatum said as he rose to leave, “if anything turns up….”
“Just turn it back over”, answered Elders Wiley and Diggum.
“Is he okay”, asked Mulva after Elder Cheatum left.
“I think the young reverend is proving to be quite the challenge, not that Reverend Dale isn’t a challenge still”, answered Elder Wiley.
“But we’ll leave him for another time”, Elder Wiley said as he stood to leave.
“See you in church”, the duo of Elders said to the secretary/ treasurer as they left her with her paperwork.
“A man’s work is from Sun to Sun, but a woman’s work is never done”, thought Mulva as she watched the Elders leave.