“It’s true,” admitted David Silverman, president of American Atheists. “Some people are having trouble clinging to rationalism because our belief system does not allow for the place of endless torment that Joe Arpaio so richly deserves. Let’s face it, the guy ran a jail system that was akin to a concentration camp, rounding up anyone who appeared Hispanic, forcing them to wear pink underwear, and starving and beating them before they were convicted of anything. He did this just to collect the votes of retirees from the Midwest, who bought condos in Phoenix and then were pissed to find out that their neighbors were allowed to speak Spanish.
“The pardon by Trump was the last straw. Atheists were content that Arpaio would spend at least a few months in jail, even though the state probably planned to pussy out and put him in protective custody. Certainly, they weren’t going to force-feed him peanut butter sandwiches every day, like he used to do to his prisoners. There was still hope that Arpaio might die behind bars—after all, he’s 85, and we atheists would be happy to see him choke out his last breath in a prison hospital, attended only by an incompetent state-paid physician whose drinking problem prevented him from having a regular practice.
“But no, Arpaio goes free, and some atheists are having an issue with that. The Atheist Hot Line, which we maintain just so atheists who are struggling with their lack of faith, who maybe are tempted to pray to win the lottery or cure cancer, have someone to talk to who can point out that if praying worked, everyone would have won the lottery by now and no one would have cancer. It’s been ringing off the hook since the Arpaio pardon, and when we tell callers that no, Sheriff Joe just goes blank like the rest of us when we die, we’ve been getting some pushback. A lot of people, before they hang up, are asking what religion has the toastiest Hell and the angriest imps, because they want to join that one.”
Of course, you aren’t able to recommend one Hell over another. Which religion do you think is vacuuming up all these fallen atheists?
“Sadly, I think it’s the Catholic one. A lot of Hispanic atheists were raised Catholic, so they don’t have to learn a bunch of new rules. And the Catholics have a great Hell that nearly everybody goes to, including most Catholics, so Sheriff Joe is a shoo-in. It’s really regretful, since the Mexican Catholic tradition is one of the most cheerfully corrupt ones. The glue that holds it together is the belief that the Virgin Mary appeared to a bunch of illiterate peasant children in Guadalupe to give them Her vision of the world.”
That does seem unlikely.
“Damn straight it’s unlikely. If that two-millennia old virgin exists, she needs a better publicist. I mean, a couple little shepherd girls? If She’s got something to say, She needs a bigger forum. Hosting Saturday Night Live wouldn’t even be a stretch.”
We’re wandering off the subject of Joe Arpaio here, Dave.
“Yeah, sorry. I guess what I’m saying is that the best we atheists can hope is for Arpaio is to get caught in a motel room with a Cub Scout, or to be arrested for embezzling money from a fund for lepers. You know, a typical Republican career-ender. We can at least hope he dies a miserable, lingering death.”
That does sound great, Dave. Can I pray for it?
“This interview is over.”