We are in the midst of the silly season of American politics. The clown car of Republican candidates gives ample proof that a large percentage of the American people will believe absolutely ANY nonsense provided it’s dished out by a reasonably distinguished looking man in a suit and tie with an American flag lapel pin, we have U.S. Congressional Representative Chris Smith before us as the perfect example.
Chris Smith has been in office pretty much since the British left. He has grown fat and somnolent feeding at the public trough while ignoring important parts of his constituency. He hasn’t held a town meeting in over 20 years, and from his consistent voting record, clearly loathes and despises LGBT people. He voted against equal pay for women and against the Violence Against women Act. So evidently he doesn’t much like women either — at least not the ones who “don’t know their place.” His voting record on issues benefiting seniors has been negative as well. So how does this man stay in office? Much like Donald Trump, he has become a religion. It seems that a block of New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District voters have abandoned self-interest and logical inquiry in favor of an act of pure faith: Smith has always been there, so he must be doing something right — Smith as alpha and omega.
I have to ask myself, if it works for Smith and Trump, why not for me? Why can’t I start a religion? Others have done so with no more qualifications than I have. In fact I do have the same theological qualifications as the founders of two of this country’s fastest growing religions: Scientology and Mormonism. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology was a science fiction writer, whose only theological accomplishment was a series of space opera novels. I too am a writer of science fiction, and have had short stories commercially published. Granted these were only short stories while Hubbard did full novels, but I’m only planning a small religion after all.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, was a failed novelist. I too have an unpublished novel in my desk drawer, and I too, like Joseph Smith, have had a vision. You’ll just have to take my word about the vision, and why not? Hundreds of thousands of Mormons have taken Smith’s word about his, and I would think one failed novelist is just as likely to be reliable as another.
Now, about my vision: I was having a quick one in a sleaze bar on the lower East Side just a few weeks ago when there suddenly came the sound of a heavenly host singing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and the Angel Macgilicuddy appeared unto me saying “behold, I give unto you these ten plates upon which is inscribed the Word of God. Go now and find many scores of followers who will give you money for bottles of holy water, sanctified prayer handkerchiefs and CDs of you preaching sermons in which you tell them to send you more money. Do this and the Lord will buy you a Mercedes Benz — loaded.”
Unlike the Mormons who got gold plates, these were standard paper plates covered with mystical symbols (or possibly bits of dried tomato sauce and cheese). So I gathered right away, this was a budget operation — hence the Mercedes instead of a Lear jet — but hey, I’m not greedy. The jet can come later. I asked the angel which god we were dealing with here: Yaweh, Jupiter, Ra, Om the Mysterious, Syllabus the Inclusive, Dexter…” He said “there is no god named Dexter.” I said “Mac, the universe is infinite. In infinity, all possibilities exist. Therefore, somewhere there is a god named Dexter.”
“You’re right!” said Mac, “and check out that fragment of pizza on one of the paper plates. It seems to be shaped like a D. That’s a holy sign, that is! What you have here my friend is the First Church of Dexter, all donations tax exempt. How about buying me a beer? I seem to have left my wallet back in Heaven.”
So, there you have it — a new revelation. All you Chris Smith voters out there, all Trump enthusiasts listen up. Here’s a religion you can really get behind. It is entirely based on what Trump has called “alternate facts.” Just like Chris Smith, the founder will do everything in his (my) power to avoid meeting you face to face. Your issues of substance are irrelevant, and will be ignored. What more can you ask for?
Make checks payable to First Church of Dexter. Macgilacuddy didn’t arrange my tax exemption yet, but he is no doubt working on it.
Toby Grace is Out In Jersey magazine’s Editor Emeritus.