Author’s note: I cannot attest to the absolute accuracy of the following transcripts, as the print was smudged with perspiration by the time I received them. It seems my confidential source, a congressional page, had to smuggle them out of the House Chamber in the bustier portion of his black vinyl cat suit. This extraordinarily patriotic (and uncommonly handsome) young man is currently working his way through journalism school by moonlighting as a transvestite model for the combination escort service and GOP-sponsored publishing house known as “Buff Pages, Bound in Leather.”
The actual identity of my source is a secret I have solemnly sworn to uphold at all costs (unless, of course, I am subjected to the most oblique threat of prosecution, in which case I plan to collapse like a house of cards in a wind tunnel). In any case, the imperfect condition of the transcripts at the time they came into my possession required that I employ a technique of text reconstruction known as “creative interpolation”, a method pioneered by Jason Blair and others at the New York Times. Notwithstanding this bit of journalistic license, I believe I have succeeded in preserving the essential integrity of the document, and (given its profound historical significance) I feel strongly that the American people should have the opportunity to read it for themselves.
Needless to say, if any part of this story
is challenged by the White House Press Secretary, I am fully prepared to
withdraw it from publication post-haste, offer an abject and
internationally broadcast apology to our armed forces around the world,
flagellate myself in public and, if necessary, fire several shots into
the back of my own head as penance for offering aid and comfort to the
evil terrorists who want to destroy our nation because they hate our
The Official Transcript of Remarks Delivered by the Honorable Joshua ben Joseph (aka Jesus Christ, Messiah, Savior, Son of God, et al) To a Joint Session of Congress
Mr. Speaker: “It is my distinct honor, and rare privilege to present to you someone who, quite literally, needs no introduction. He’s known to us all as the star of the Crucifixion and the Book of Revelations, and as a trustworthy and tireless friend to this House. Ladies and gentlemen, all the way from Galilee in the Holy Land, please join me in giving a warm welcome to the one, the only...Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” (Cheers, whistles, wild clapping) Or perhaps you would prefer to be called by your Hebrew name, Joshua ben Joseph?”
JC: “Call me anything you like, just don’t call me late for the Last Supper! (General laughter) But hey, good evening, ladies and gentiles, it‘s great to be back here in Washington, D.C., or as we refer to it up in heaven, the ‘Gateway to Gomorrah’... (More laughter) I gotta tell ya, I just crossed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to get here, and boy, are my feet tired! (Laughter) But seriously folks, I could use a little snack after all that traveling. Where do you keep the pork barrel, anyway? Just kidding! I never touch the stuff myself, although one of my goy friends tells me the chef at Gitmo makes a mean B.L.T.! Hey, settle down out there, fellas, I said ‘GOY’ friends!! Just because ‘Jesus’ is a Greek name, don’t go lumpin’ me in with Socrates, Plato, and the rest of those limp-wristed hairdressers! Look, I know perfectly well that some of you tormented closet cases out there just love staring at those iconic beefcake pictures of me in a loin cloth, but hey, get a grip! I’m not into boys (not that there’s anything wrong with that, as my friends in the clergy are quick to remind me!), and all I can tell you is, if I ever even thought about having sex with a man, my old man would’ve killed me! (Actually, he did arrange to have me killed, but that’s a story for another day.) ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind... it is abomination,’ was his motto, or one of them, anyway.
“Notice that my father never said anything about it being an abomination to lie to mankind, only with them. I think his choice of preposition is key here. After all, how can he expect you, his faithful shepherds, to keep your ever-growing herds of brain-addled human livestock in line, if he’s gonna make a fuss about it every time you run a few monumental whoppers up the flagpole, eh? (Peels of laughter). Forget about it!
“But gettin’ back to the whole sex thing, it’s not just men and boys I’d stay away from, if I were you. Women are just as bad. Thing is, they’re not kosher, and we’re not just talking about those five days a month of condition red, here. What, are you kidding me? It says right there in there in the Book of Genesis: WOMEN ARE MADE OUT OF RIBS!! (Hearty laughter)
“So let’s review: Sex with men? Bad. Sex with women? Also bad. So what’s left, sex with animals? DON‘T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! I got my boy Rick over here holding the keys to the zoo, so don’t be getting any bright ideas! Trust me, the guy’s got the nose of a bloodhound, the ears of a bat, and the eyes of a hawk... Come to think of it, I’m bettin’ his extended family tree looks a lot like a four-handed game of ‘animal lotto’ Maybe his fear of bestiality is some kind of defense mechanism...
“The funny thing is, even though he never seems to stop reading the Bible, Rick still gets a little confused about scripture from time to time. Just the other morning, he told me he read in Leviticus that ‘It behooves a man to cleave unto his lawful wife.’ Later that day, I heard him mangling the same line in a classroom full of elementary school children, telling them that ‘It is lawful for a man to choose a wife whose hooves be not cloven’! I’m still not sure if it was an honest mistake, or if he was just “kidding” around... Hard to say, cause he and I are always trying to get each other’s goat...
“Say, getting back to dietary proscriptions, how do you get a fundamentalist Muslim to grab a handful of pork? Start feedin’ his Koran to your potbelly pig! (Laughter, shouts of approval). I kid the Arabs!
“By the way, thanks for that truly generous introduction, Denny. And just to show my appreciation, you can expect a little visit from the “Truth Fairy” tonight. You know how she works, right? You just gather up any scraps of truth you still have in your possession, place them in a matchbox under your satin pillow, and while you’re in dreamland (log-sawing your way along the steam table at Hometown Buffet), she’ll swing by and exchange it for a nice bag of silver, like the one I promised you back stage. (Laughter) I know it sounds too good to be true, but if you think I‘m making it up, just ask your buddy, Tom, over there. Tom used to be good friends with the “Truth Fairy”. I say “used to”, because he’s having such a hard time filling up his matchbox lately, he’s lucky if she leaves him a roll of pennies! (Everyone but the Majority Leader laughs at this.)
“But you know the real beauty of using the “Truth Fairy” as a lobbyist? She can never be forced to testify before the House Ethics Committee. And why is that, you ask? BECAUSE SHE DOESN‘T EXIST, YA SCHMUCK! Come to think of it, NEITHER DOES THE HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE! (Raucous laughter)
“But seriously, folks, it’s a thrill for me, personally, to get a chance to see where the laws of this great nation are made. Later this afternoon, I’ll be touring the Oscar Mayer wiener factory in Madison, after which I’ll be flying on to Las Vegas to watch a live sex show. If everything goes as planned, by tonight I will have seen the making of pretty much everything I’m not supposed to! (Chuckles from the back of the room)
“Anyway, getting back to this building, first let me say, as a carpenter, I love what you’ve done with the space! You’ve managed to take an elegant, but unpretentious, den of thieves (or, more accurately, a rumpus room for petty burglars) and mold it into a house fit for my father. I LOVE IT!!!! Listen, I’ll be honest. When I heard you guys were in the process of converting a government building into a retirement home for the Sovereign Lord of All Creation, I was afraid you might succumb to the temptation to overdo it a bit with the decor, you know, tasteless Gothic Crucifixes hanging over the entrances, oversized Florentine Pietas blocking the aisles, that sort of thing. But obviously, my fears were groundless. In spite of all the recent changes (including the installation in the foyer of a seventeen-foot-tall set of onyx tablets engraved with the ten commandments, and the mounting of a 23-ton white marble alter in front of the podium designed to handle both bovine burnt offerings and the reading of bird entrails), the room still retains the delicate ambiance of a frontier bordello. It strikes just the right note.
In fact, it puts me in mind of what my publicity agent, John, once quoted me as saying: “Make not my Father’s House into an house of merchandise.” Actually, what I said was, “Make not my Father’s house into an house of cheap merchandise.” (Laughter) So take my advice, and stay away from that Ikea crap. It falls apart quicker than a bipartisan coalition! (More laughter). And don’t even talk to me about Target! What, are you kidding? (Even more laughter)
Which brings up the subject of being misquoted, which is a pet peeve of mine. Sure, all those medieval monks in Ireland were responsible for the copying of thousands of pages of biblical manuscript, but you can’t begin to imagine how those drunken bastards used to put away the sauce! And, as they say, what goes in must come out. So half the time when they went outside to take a leak, they’d come back in and forget where the hell they left off...You’d be amazed to know how many of my sacred utterances were pissed away into the monastery latrines!
Let me give you an example. I was quoted in the Book of Matthew as saying ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ I ask you, would I have said anything that ridiculous if I was even halfway sober? What am I, an idiot? What I actually said was, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall collect a lot of dirt.’ More to the point, I inserted a codicil, which read as follows: ‘In all cases, the original lease-holder shall retain all mineral rights to said property.’ Let’s get real here, I mean, if the meek really want to inherit the earth, for God’s sake, let them get fulltime jobs and buy it one cubit at a time! What are we here, a charity?
“And, as if that flub-up wasn’t bad enough, here’s another one from Matthew that’s even more misleading: ‘And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.’ What I really meant to say was ‘If you’re a CEO in charge of a multinational corporation engaged in the garment trade, and some asshole tries to bring a frivolous lawsuit against your company claiming that his six-year-old daughter has developed carpal tunnel syndrome from working thirteen hours a day at an industrial sewing machine, you’re fully justified in unleashing a high-priced team of unethical attorneys on the guy to take him to the cleaners, rip the shirt off his back, brand his shoulder with a red-hot branding iron, and douse the burns with rubbing alcohol. And if he ever tries to do it again, my advice is to kill him. And for heaven’s sake, don’t worry about the legal ramifications. I can assure you that at least five of the last seven judges you guys have confirmed in recent months have already handed down legal opinions from the bench that offer justification for such killings under the heading of ‘self-defense’ So relax, already.
“And speaking of killing, you guys have been doing a reasonably good job in Iraq and Afghanistan so far, but you need to speed things up. At the rate you’re going, its gonna take you decades to kill all those unbelievers, and, well, let’s just say we just don’t have a lot of time to spare. So get a move on. And don’t forget to pay special attention to the women and children. After all, where do you think adult male terrorists come from? Hello-o-o-o-o?
“But since you guys are always claiming to get your marching orders from “yours truly”, listen up. While I approve of most of what this administration and the current congressional leadership is doing, you guys clearly have your head up your ass when it comes to some of the details. Like, for instance...
Regarding your plans for promoting “abstinence only” sex education in the schools as the surest means of preventing teenage pregnancies, my Mother asked me to remind you brainiacs that it didn’t work all that well in her case, so you might want to rethink that one. Duh...
And hey there, Mister ‘I’m running the show from behind the scenes in the underground bunker of my undisclosed location’, maybe you should suggest to your little buddy George that he stop going around claiming that my father wants all the people of the world to be ‘free’. Frankly, that’s exactly what he doesn’t want. That’s why we refer to it as the Kingdom of Heaven, and not the Republic of Heaven, if you catch my drift. All this drivel about democracy is nothing but a huge can of worms, if you ask me. I’m telling you, if that atheist bastard Thomas Jefferson was a genius at anything, it was causing trouble! Your misguided ancestors should have hanged that hockey puck from the nearest tree and fallen in line behind King George III (sure he was mentally defective, but he’s no worse than the guy you got now). If they had, we surely wouldn’t be having to go through the trouble of rooting out something as counterproductive as the notion of “individual rights.” What a crock!”
Upon completion of his prepared remarks, the figure behind the podium invited members of the House to participate in a question-and-answer period. Of course, by then, most of the distinguished members were so busy groveling, genuflecting, and attempting to ingratiate themselves with their hero that they did not notice a tiny group of dissenting voices gathered near the back of the chamber. Arising from the midst of that enclave, a gray-haired sage of gentle nature and dark complexion requested permission to address the chamber.
“The Chair recognizes the honorable member from Michigan.”
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, Mr. ben-Joseph, I wish to offer you my sincere thanks for braving the arduous journey all the way from the Middle East to speak to us here this afternoon. Having said that, I respectfully submit to you the follow question.
“As someone who has devoted a good deal of time over the years to studying your teachings, and having discovered in them a profound source of inspiration in my own life, I find it more than a little perplexing to hear you now contradicting, revising, and redacting for the record so much of what you are quoted as having spoken in those sacred texts. Unless I seriously misinterpret the message you have laid before us today, I gather that you are anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-poor, anti-child, and anti-peace. In fact, with all due respect, sir, you appear to be anti-life itself. What explanation can you offer us regarding this all-but-complete inversion of the message contained in the Gospels? How can you be so anti-this and anti-that?”
All eyes in the room now turned back toward the bearded, but well-coiffed, man at the podium. As they watched his upper lip slowly curl into a Cheneyesque sneer, some of the members in the front of the chamber seemed to catch, beneath the pervasive odor of frankincense and myrrh, the faintest whiff of brimstone.
“Funny you should ask me that,” he chuckled.
Mark W. Bradley is a history teacher and political satirist in Sacramento, California. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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