Sunday, December 11, 2005
Bush Meets St. Peter
Bush Meets St. Peter
By Nicholas D. Kristof
New York Times
"If a meteorite crashed down on the White House today, the conversation at the Pearly Gates might go something like this.
(THE UNKNOWN CANDIDATE: Ohhh, if only it were true....)
'Oh-h-h. Where am I? St. Peter?'
'Welcome, Mr. President. I just need to see if you belong here.'
'Well, St. Peter, you know I'm a born-again Christian. I pray every day. I'm very religious. I brought Bible study classes to the White House.'
'That's terrific. And have you helped any lepers lately?'
'Not exactly. But my cuts in the top tax rates will create wealth that will trickle down and help lepers. I'm getting there indirectly, instead of barging through the eye of a needle.'
'And St. Peter, I've been upstanding in defending Christian values. We made sure that we call the tree at the White House a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree. And we sent out 1.4 million White House Christmas cards!'
'Wow! But I don't suppose any Christmas cards went to lepers. Or to prostitutes or beggars.'
'"I don't send cards to Democrats.'
'Mr. President, our checklist doesn't have anything about sending out Christmas cards, or putting up Christmas trees. It's more about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and housing the homeless.... This latest culture war over Christmas is a perfect example of religion based on denouncing others instead of loving them.'
'But St. Peter, they're just trying to put Christ back into Christmas. They see how faith is threatened by people saying 'Happy Holidays,' instead of 'Merry Christmas.' Fox News has covered 'Christmas Under Siege,' and one of its anchors has a new book called 'The War on Christmas.' The American Family Association is boycotting Target, and the Catholic League threatened a boycott against Wal-Mart. This hasn't been my issue, but these are my people, St. Peter. They're doing this to glorify Christ.'
'Frankly, Mr. President, here in Heaven, I say 'Merry Christmas,' but others prefer 'Happy Holidays.' Gandhi prefers it. And a Jewish rabbi told me that his family felt more comfortable with that as well. ...'
'But St. Peter, that's one rabbi. ...'
'Whose name is Jesus.'
PHOTO: (Fred R. Conrad/The New YorK Times) Nicholas D. Kristof.