Wouldn’t it be great if we could elect our own deity and then pick and choose the accompanying rules to go with our new religion?
Take a moment with me and picture a fictitious fellow entering the voting booth to choose what parts of faith he will keep or discard. As he fills in his ballot, he says:
OK, first, let’s see who the candidates are and then we’ll get to the ballot measures.
Looks like the same old guys. Jehovah and Allah running against a slew of other candidates I can’t pronounce.
Of course, I’m voting for the Christian deity again. After all, my parents and grandparents always have voted Christian.
OK. Who they got this year? Looks like the same ol’, same ol’: The Father, his boy and the Holy Spirit.
I like the Father. He’s got a lot of experience and he’s not a micromanager. I’m not sure about the son, though. After 2,000 years in the VP role, you’d think he’d be goin’ for his old man’s job. I’ll give him one more term.
The Holy Spirit is a wholly (chuckle) different question. He’s a meddler; kind of like Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket. Toss the bum. I don’t believe in big trilogies. I’d rather keep it a simple father/son operation. I’m going with the write-in this year, “Selfish guy.”
That was easy. Now, let’s take a look at the props and measures.
Hmm. Ten Commandments. I’ve always wondered what the “shall not” means in 7 and 9. I mean, what is adultery, really? Or who can say what a lie really is? Let’s cut them down to eight this year. Maybe that’ll save some tithe money on the enforcement end.
Oh, no. Don’t tell me they’re trying to outlaw gluttony again. No way. Stick to the ones against homosexuality and alcohol.
Now, here’s one I like: “An eye for an eye.” Yes. That’s a keeper!
But what’s this? Jesus is pushing the Matthew Proposal: “Don’t hit back at all. If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. . . . No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
No. That’s out too. Honestly, does God expect to be given carte blanche in my life?
Uh, oh, they’re getting harder. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
Hmmm. . . . That needs a softening revision for sure. Maybe, “Do unto others only if they do unto you.” Yes, let’s send this one back for a rewrite.
There, that’ll do. Now I have my very own designer faith.
What? You say this is voter fraud? What do you mean I have chads hanging everywhere? I can’t have my own religion? Then forget it.
Our little befuddled voter reminds me that the great principles of faith don’t come to us as a true/false test. Neither do they come as multiple choice.
Faith is a full package deal that helps us relate to God, others and ourselves. Most of us would vote to keep the “ourselves” part, but given half the chance, we’d easily exclude the tougher parts about God and others. That means that at the end of the day, if you’re going to choose faith, then I’d suggest taking the whole shooting match. We all have to choose our path and this election year I’ll be sticking with Christianity. All of it: the commandments, the Bible, the church, and, yes, even the Holy Spirit guy.
Burkes is a former civilian hospital chaplain and an Air National Guard chaplain. Write firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thechaplain.net. You can also follow him on Twitter, username is “chaplain,” or on Facebook at facebook.com/norrisburkes.