But in a step backwards for the Good Book, a Tennessee public elementary school will no longer feature an hour-long school assembly every month at which a local minister who called himself The Bible Man dressed in tight clothes and wore a cape while reading passages from the Bible and explaining them to an auditorium full of allegedly rapt youngsters. A local atheist sued to get the school to stop this proselytizing practice. She was promptly showered with a few death threats, which she snottily dismissed by saying something about these good Christians being filled with hate.
Personally, I think she should quit her whining. Death threats, especially ones carried out, have long been part and parcel of Christianity. The faith wouldn't even exist if Jesus had died of old age, right? But the Bible Man's visits to Grundy County schools have been changed to voluntary, after-school events at which attendance is optional, rather than full school assemblies in the middle of the school day, and in the spirit of religious open-mindedness that Grundy County has so recently discovered, superheroes from other faiths are scheduled to appear. The following is a not-necessarily complete roster of powerful religious figures and the beliefs they will be trying to instill in the elementary schoolchildren of the county:
SHARIA LAW MAN: Tells the kids it's okay for your pa to keep on whupping on your ma and your sisters, as long as he gives up the corn liquor.
RABBI GUY: The most long-winded of the heroes, he explains that before his religion got started, Bronze Age tribes all had their own sets of gods, and if they got defeated in battle and enslaved by the neighboring tribe, it was because their gods sucked compared to their conqueror's gods. Nothing you could do about it. Then his religion invented the One True All-Powerful God, who by definition cannot suck. So if you were defeated and enslaved by the neighboring tribe, it must be because you sucked. Thus humanity was gifted with the concept of guilt. You're welcome. Then Rabbi Guy would explain that his religion doesn't really recruit and if they ever changed their mind about that, they certainly wouldn't start in Grundy County.
POLYTHEISTIC PERSON: Would tell the kids that if guilt seemed like an unnecessary burden, all they had to do was sacrifice a few animals to a short list of fanciful superior beings and it would go away, and sure, catching frogs, stuffing M80's down their throats and setting them off counted just fine.
WICCA WOMAN: Too stoned to show up. Sends cat instead.
MORMON MAN: Like the Bible Man, only with an even more incomprehensibly boring book to drone on about.
BUDDHIST BEING: A guy who is as fat as your truck-driving uncle, which is easy to see because his gut sticks out from underneath his t-shirt in exactly the same way. Buddhist Being can nonetheless sit cross-legged on a pillow, which your uncle couldn't do for more than five minutes unless it was of the hemorrhoid variety. And like your uncle, nobody really understands what he says, but unlike him, Buddhist Being seems fine with that, and doesn't go stomping off mad to sleep in his truck the way your uncle does every time he comes over for dinner.
Finally, the ATHEIST AGENT—would just give out candy to jack the kids up and then distribute paper clips, rubber bands and spitballs for them to use on each other for the hour, wisely realizing that the more you boreass elementary school children with your personally held Absolute Holy Truth the more likely it will be that they will reject it later on in life. The kids will all stream home afterwards on babbling sugar highs and tell their parents that they want to be atheists.
Amen to that.