Interview with Religious Leader
by Bob Goodsell
I have obtained a copy of an interview done this week with a famous religious leader by a daring reporter. I obtained it through an elaborate delivery scheme intended to protect the identity of both the reporter and the religious leader: I myself do not know who they are. Here is the interview.
Q. You insist on anonymity for this interview. Many people around the world would be delighted to hear from you. Why won't you identify yourself?
A. Those who truly know me will recognize me.
Q. George W. Bush is the president of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth. He gave what is known as the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, as I'm sure you are aware. In the speech, Mr. Bush outlined an economic plan which provides little help for the poor people in his country. Any comments?
A. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.1
Q. His plan also provides tremendous benefits for the rich. What are your thoughts on that?
A. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.2
Q. So you are saying that while his plan condemns the many to starvation, it condemns the few to damnation?
A. It is you who say so.
Q. Mr. Bush started a "war on terrorism" following the attacks on his country of September 11, 2001. Do you think this was a wise course to follow?
A. I say unto him, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.3
Q. How would you respond to the idea that it is foolishness not to respond to such a brutal attack? Shouldn't a country be strong and forceful in response?
A. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.4
Q. Wow. That's really radical thinking. You could never get elected to Congress in America.
A. Thank you.
Q. In his speech, Mr. Bush said, and I quote, "All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies....One by one the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice." I don't think that I'm stretching the point to say the Mr. Bush is saying that these people who "met a different fate" were killed. None of those killed was tried or convicted by a court of law, yet they were killed by the U.S. military or the CIA on Mr. Bush's orders. Any comments?
A. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.5
Q. Mr. Bush insists that the leader of Iraq is a dangerous man with dangerous weapons. How would you respond to Mr. Bush?
A. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.6
Q. Still, Mr. Bush seems intent on attacking Iraq. Any further arguments you could make to him?
A. He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.7
Q. Stone? Excuse me, hold on a minute...Let's see...cruise missiles, cluster bombs, fuel-air explosives, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons...sorry, stones appear to be about the only weapons that are not in the U.S. arsenal.
A. Okay: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a cruise missile. Whatever.
Q. It is reported that Mr. Bush is a follower of yours and prays to you daily. Is this true?
A. He talks to me, but he never listens.
Q. Many people around the world, including some in the United States, have begun to protest the clear intention of Mr. Bush to wage war against Iraq. Do you have anything to say to them?
A. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.8
Footnotes: 1: Matthew 5:19; 2: Mark 10:25; 3: Matthew 5:39; 4: Matthew 5:5; 5: Luke 6:37; 6: Matthew 7:5; 7: John 8:7; 8: Matthew 5:9.