Monday, February 15, 2010

Huckleberry Hell

Here's a very partial list of folks who, I'm sure, expect to spend the afterlife plucking harps in heaven:  Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, Rick Warren, Pope Benedict, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Ayatollah Khamenei, Osama Bin Laden, George W. Bush and (let's throw in at least one Democrat) Jeremiah Wright.  Imagine what beautiful music these harpies will make together.

And you'd better watch out!  If you don't behave according to the rules these guys promulgate, you will be cast into the Other Place.  That's because all of the aforementioned angels-in-waiting have special connections with the Almighty, connections which give them alone the power to interpret properly (choose one or more) the Bible, the Koran, the Constitution.

If you don't see it their way (never mind that they don't agree among themselves), you're heading for hell.

Do you remember Huck Finn's dilemma?  All the angels-in-waiting of his day have been telling him that he is morally obligated to turn over Jim, the runaway slave, to the authorities.  Huck wants to be "good," so he writes a note revealing Jim's whereabouts.

But, but, but...Jim is Huck's friend.  Jim is the only truly "good" thing that has ever come Huck's way.  To betray this friendship and to hurt his surrogate father would be a monstrous evil--contrary to every impulse in Huck's 13-year old conscience.  So Huck decides to do a "bad" thing--he tears up the paper and says to himself, (with enormous relief):  "All right then, I'll go to hell."

I think it's pretty clear that Huck truly believes that he WILL go to hell (though, of course, Twain doesn't).  But Huck's common sense and fellow-feeling trump the lunacy of the supposedly "good" world.  He knows, somehow, that those heavenly rules supporting slavery are, in fact, inhuman and wrong.  So, for Huck, going to hell is the only moral thing to do.

That's pretty much how I feel when I listen to the hateful "morality" spewed--ever so unctuously--by the angels-in-waiting I mentioned in my first paragraph (about, let's say, anyone who is poor, gay, sick, unbelieving, of another color).  My common sense rebels and I say, with Huck, "all right then, I'll go to hell."

Will you join Huck and me there?  Maybe we can build a raft for that lake of fire.  And have a party! (It'll be a lot more fun than plucking harps with creeps like Ann Coulter and Pat Robertson.)

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