The Irreverent Frog

 

 

                                                              by Walter Brasch

 

             The First Sometimes United Church decided last week not to ordain any frogs. To find out why, I visited the Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson.

            I approached him as he finished blessing the ceremonial offerings plate. "Rev. Johnson," I asked, "the frogs-rights groups are upset with your Board's decision. What are your reasons?"

            "The Bible tells us that frogs are nothing but problems."

            "The Bible tells you that?" I asked suspiciously.

            "Right there in Exodus. God said he'd smite all of Egypt with frogs if the Pharaoh didn't let the Jews be free. It proves that God was so ticked off he had to find the most loathsome creature he could to punish the Pharaoh. Do you know how bad it must be to be smited by, of all things, frogs?"

            "But God used the frogs to help the Jews. It's not that the frogs did anything God didn't want to be done."

            "Bad is bad," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson. "Turn to Revelations," he commanded. "John says that he saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon. That proves it! Not only are frogs loathsome creatures, they're also unclean." I tried to interrupt, but the anti-frog minister wasn't about to let another view meddle in his logic. "Even Shakespeare hated frogs. Right there in Macbeth. The witches brewed the most horrible concoction they could. What do you think was in it?! Eye of newt and toe of frog!"

            "This is ridiculous," I said. "Are you sure there's nothing deeper to your decision to ban frogs from the ministry?"

            The Rev. Mr. Johnson cleared his throat, looked at me carefully, then somberly explained—"They're green."

            "They're green?" I asked incredulously. "That's it? Because they're green!"

            "Green conflicts with our basic color scheme. It's not as if we're the only religion not to like color. For the longest time, a lot of churches didn't allow anyone who's black to be ordained, let alone be a member, so I guess that green is just as good a reason as any." He thought a moment, and then added, "Of course, I guess there might be another reason."

            "I thought so!" I said, now writing furiously in my note pad.

            "Frogs also have webbed feet. It's against the laws of God for ordained ministers to have webbed feet."

            I stopped writing. "Let me get this straight. You don't want to ordain frogs because they're green and they have webbed feet?"

            "That's right. Webbed feet is not God's wish for humanity. Webbed feet is a sign of breaking with God's world of five-toed feet. It's a sign of willful rebellion. It results from living in a sinful world."

            "Shouldn't the Church recognize that even frogs have faith?" I asked.

            "The Bible tells us to love all creatures, and that we are all part of the Lord. But, nowhere does it say that frogs should be ordained."

            "But what about their knowledge of Scripture or whether frogs have the ability to lead people? Shouldn't that count for something?"

            "You think that frogs can lead people? Have you ever seen a frog walk? There's no one who's going to hop to church on Sunday mornings."

 

            "But, most frogs seem to be so much more respectful and honest than many of your own parishioners," I pleaded in the frogs' defense.

            "I agree," said the minister, "and the ministry should offer models of integrity, morality, and honesty—if at all possible. And, I do admit that some ministers do stray from the paths of righteousness on occasion. But, at least they're not green, they don't have webbed feet, and they never smited anyone!" He thought a moment, and then suggested, "Maybe instead of trying to ruin the ministry, he could join the military. They have amphibious vehicles and a whole darn SEAL team."

            "You know dang well the military doesn't allow frogs."

            "Not my problem."

            Forgetting my role as an objective reporter and lapsing into an impassion plea, I cried out, "Frogs are wonderful creatures who should be given a chance to preach the will of God!"

            The Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson looked at me sharply. "You ain't a frog in disguise are you, boy? You ain't trying to take over this here church, are you?"

            "Oh, no sir!" I said. "I'm just trying to find out why frogs can't be ordained if they have every other ability."

            "You're trying to cause us serious trouble," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson, "and I don't care to discuss this issue any more. Now, if you'll leave me alone, I have to go watch an important television show. Never miss it. Even better in re-runs than first time I saw it."

            "What show is that?" I asked.

            "The Muppets."

 

            (Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 16 books, the most recent one Sex and the Single Beer Can, a look at the media and popular culture.)

 

The Irreverent Frog

 

 

                                                              by Walter Brasch

 

             The First Sometimes United Church decided last week not to ordain any frogs. To find out why, I visited the Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson.

            I approached him as he finished blessing the ceremonial offerings plate. "Rev. Johnson," I asked, "the frogs-rights groups are upset with your Board's decision. What are your reasons?"

            "The Bible tells us that frogs are nothing but problems."

            "The Bible tells you that?" I asked suspiciously.

            "Right there in Exodus. God said he'd smite all of Egypt with frogs if the Pharaoh didn't let the Jews be free. It proves that God was so ticked off he had to find the most loathsome creature he could to punish the Pharaoh. Do you know how bad it must be to be smited by, of all things, frogs?"

            "But God used the frogs to help the Jews. It's not that the frogs did anything God didn't want to be done."

            "Bad is bad," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson. "Turn to Revelations," he commanded. "John says that he saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon. That proves it! Not only are frogs loathsome creatures, they're also unclean." I tried to interrupt, but the anti-frog minister wasn't about to let another view meddle in his logic. "Even Shakespeare hated frogs. Right there in Macbeth. The witches brewed the most horrible concoction they could. What do you think was in it?! Eye of newt and toe of frog!"

            "This is ridiculous," I said. "Are you sure there's nothing deeper to your decision to ban frogs from the ministry?"

            The Rev. Mr. Johnson cleared his throat, looked at me carefully, then somberly explained—"They're green."

            "They're green?" I asked incredulously. "That's it? Because they're green!"

            "Green conflicts with our basic color scheme. It's not as if we're the only religion not to like color. For the longest time, a lot of churches didn't allow anyone who's black to be ordained, let alone be a member, so I guess that green is just as good a reason as any." He thought a moment, and then added, "Of course, I guess there might be another reason."

            "I thought so!" I said, now writing furiously in my note pad.

            "Frogs also have webbed feet. It's against the laws of God for ordained ministers to have webbed feet."

            I stopped writing. "Let me get this straight. You don't want to ordain frogs because they're green and they have webbed feet?"

            "That's right. Webbed feet is not God's wish for humanity. Webbed feet is a sign of breaking with God's world of five-toed feet. It's a sign of willful rebellion. It results from living in a sinful world."

            "Shouldn't the Church recognize that even frogs have faith?" I asked.

            "The Bible tells us to love all creatures, and that we are all part of the Lord. But, nowhere does it say that frogs should be ordained."

            "But what about their knowledge of Scripture or whether frogs have the ability to lead people? Shouldn't that count for something?"

            "You think that frogs can lead people? Have you ever seen a frog walk? There's no one who's going to hop to church on Sunday mornings."

 

            "But, most frogs seem to be so much more respectful and honest than many of your own parishioners," I pleaded in the frogs' defense.

            "I agree," said the minister, "and the ministry should offer models of integrity, morality, and honesty—if at all possible. And, I do admit that some ministers do stray from the paths of righteousness on occasion. But, at least they're not green, they don't have webbed feet, and they never smited anyone!" He thought a moment, and then suggested, "Maybe instead of trying to ruin the ministry, he could join the military. They have amphibious vehicles and a whole darn SEAL team."

            "You know dang well the military doesn't allow frogs."

            "Not my problem."

            Forgetting my role as an objective reporter and lapsing into an impassion plea, I cried out, "Frogs are wonderful creatures who should be given a chance to preach the will of God!"

            The Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson looked at me sharply. "You ain't a frog in disguise are you, boy? You ain't trying to take over this here church, are you?"

            "Oh, no sir!" I said. "I'm just trying to find out why frogs can't be ordained if they have every other ability."

            "You're trying to cause us serious trouble," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson, "and I don't care to discuss this issue any more. Now, if you'll leave me alone, I have to go watch an important television show. Never miss it. Even better in re-runs than first time I saw it."

            "What show is that?" I asked.

            "The Muppets."

 

            (Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 16 books, the most recent one Sex and the Single Beer Can, a look at the media and popular culture.)

 

The Irreverent Frog

 

 

                                                              by Walter Brasch

 

             The First Sometimes United Church decided last week not to ordain any frogs. To find out why, I visited the Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson.

            I approached him as he finished blessing the ceremonial offerings plate. "Rev. Johnson," I asked, "the frogs-rights groups are upset with your Board's decision. What are your reasons?"

            "The Bible tells us that frogs are nothing but problems."

            "The Bible tells you that?" I asked suspiciously.

            "Right there in Exodus. God said he'd smite all of Egypt with frogs if the Pharaoh didn't let the Jews be free. It proves that God was so ticked off he had to find the most loathsome creature he could to punish the Pharaoh. Do you know how bad it must be to be smited by, of all things, frogs?"

            "But God used the frogs to help the Jews. It's not that the frogs did anything God didn't want to be done."

            "Bad is bad," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson. "Turn to Revelations," he commanded. "John says that he saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon. That proves it! Not only are frogs loathsome creatures, they're also unclean." I tried to interrupt, but the anti-frog minister wasn't about to let another view meddle in his logic. "Even Shakespeare hated frogs. Right there in Macbeth. The witches brewed the most horrible concoction they could. What do you think was in it?! Eye of newt and toe of frog!"

            "This is ridiculous," I said. "Are you sure there's nothing deeper to your decision to ban frogs from the ministry?"

            The Rev. Mr. Johnson cleared his throat, looked at me carefully, then somberly explained—"They're green."

            "They're green?" I asked incredulously. "That's it? Because they're green!"

            "Green conflicts with our basic color scheme. It's not as if we're the only religion not to like color. For the longest time, a lot of churches didn't allow anyone who's black to be ordained, let alone be a member, so I guess that green is just as good a reason as any." He thought a moment, and then added, "Of course, I guess there might be another reason."

            "I thought so!" I said, now writing furiously in my note pad.

            "Frogs also have webbed feet. It's against the laws of God for ordained ministers to have webbed feet."

            I stopped writing. "Let me get this straight. You don't want to ordain frogs because they're green and they have webbed feet?"

            "That's right. Webbed feet is not God's wish for humanity. Webbed feet is a sign of breaking with God's world of five-toed feet. It's a sign of willful rebellion. It results from living in a sinful world."

            "Shouldn't the Church recognize that even frogs have faith?" I asked.

            "The Bible tells us to love all creatures, and that we are all part of the Lord. But, nowhere does it say that frogs should be ordained."

            "But what about their knowledge of Scripture or whether frogs have the ability to lead people? Shouldn't that count for something?"

            "You think that frogs can lead people? Have you ever seen a frog walk? There's no one who's going to hop to church on Sunday mornings."

 

            "But, most frogs seem to be so much more respectful and honest than many of your own parishioners," I pleaded in the frogs' defense.

            "I agree," said the minister, "and the ministry should offer models of integrity, morality, and honesty—if at all possible. And, I do admit that some ministers do stray from the paths of righteousness on occasion. But, at least they're not green, they don't have webbed feet, and they never smited anyone!" He thought a moment, and then suggested, "Maybe instead of trying to ruin the ministry, he could join the military. They have amphibious vehicles and a whole darn SEAL team."

            "You know dang well the military doesn't allow frogs."

            "Not my problem."

            Forgetting my role as an objective reporter and lapsing into an impassion plea, I cried out, "Frogs are wonderful creatures who should be given a chance to preach the will of God!"

            The Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson looked at me sharply. "You ain't a frog in disguise are you, boy? You ain't trying to take over this here church, are you?"

            "Oh, no sir!" I said. "I'm just trying to find out why frogs can't be ordained if they have every other ability."

            "You're trying to cause us serious trouble," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson, "and I don't care to discuss this issue any more. Now, if you'll leave me alone, I have to go watch an important television show. Never miss it. Even better in re-runs than first time I saw it."

            "What show is that?" I asked.

            "The Muppets."

 

            (Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 16 books, the most recent one Sex and the Single Beer Can, a look at the media and popular culture.)

 

The Irreverent Frog

 

 

                                                              by Walter Brasch

 

             The First Sometimes United Church decided last week not to ordain any frogs. To find out why, I visited the Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson.

            I approached him as he finished blessing the ceremonial offerings plate. "Rev. Johnson," I asked, "the frogs-rights groups are upset with your Board's decision. What are your reasons?"

            "The Bible tells us that frogs are nothing but problems."

            "The Bible tells you that?" I asked suspiciously.

            "Right there in Exodus. God said he'd smite all of Egypt with frogs if the Pharaoh didn't let the Jews be free. It proves that God was so ticked off he had to find the most loathsome creature he could to punish the Pharaoh. Do you know how bad it must be to be smited by, of all things, frogs?"

            "But God used the frogs to help the Jews. It's not that the frogs did anything God didn't want to be done."

            "Bad is bad," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson. "Turn to Revelations," he commanded. "John says that he saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon. That proves it! Not only are frogs loathsome creatures, they're also unclean." I tried to interrupt, but the anti-frog minister wasn't about to let another view meddle in his logic. "Even Shakespeare hated frogs. Right there in Macbeth. The witches brewed the most horrible concoction they could. What do you think was in it?! Eye of newt and toe of frog!"

            "This is ridiculous," I said. "Are you sure there's nothing deeper to your decision to ban frogs from the ministry?"

            The Rev. Mr. Johnson cleared his throat, looked at me carefully, then somberly explained—"They're green."

            "They're green?" I asked incredulously. "That's it? Because they're green!"

            "Green conflicts with our basic color scheme. It's not as if we're the only religion not to like color. For the longest time, a lot of churches didn't allow anyone who's black to be ordained, let alone be a member, so I guess that green is just as good a reason as any." He thought a moment, and then added, "Of course, I guess there might be another reason."

            "I thought so!" I said, now writing furiously in my note pad.

            "Frogs also have webbed feet. It's against the laws of God for ordained ministers to have webbed feet."

            I stopped writing. "Let me get this straight. You don't want to ordain frogs because they're green and they have webbed feet?"

            "That's right. Webbed feet is not God's wish for humanity. Webbed feet is a sign of breaking with God's world of five-toed feet. It's a sign of willful rebellion. It results from living in a sinful world."

            "Shouldn't the Church recognize that even frogs have faith?" I asked.

            "The Bible tells us to love all creatures, and that we are all part of the Lord. But, nowhere does it say that frogs should be ordained."

            "But what about their knowledge of Scripture or whether frogs have the ability to lead people? Shouldn't that count for something?"

            "You think that frogs can lead people? Have you ever seen a frog walk? There's no one who's going to hop to church on Sunday mornings."

 

            "But, most frogs seem to be so much more respectful and honest than many of your own parishioners," I pleaded in the frogs' defense.

            "I agree," said the minister, "and the ministry should offer models of integrity, morality, and honesty—if at all possible. And, I do admit that some ministers do stray from the paths of righteousness on occasion. But, at least they're not green, they don't have webbed feet, and they never smited anyone!" He thought a moment, and then suggested, "Maybe instead of trying to ruin the ministry, he could join the military. They have amphibious vehicles and a whole darn SEAL team."

            "You know dang well the military doesn't allow frogs."

            "Not my problem."

            Forgetting my role as an objective reporter and lapsing into an impassion plea, I cried out, "Frogs are wonderful creatures who should be given a chance to preach the will of God!"

            The Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson looked at me sharply. "You ain't a frog in disguise are you, boy? You ain't trying to take over this here church, are you?"

            "Oh, no sir!" I said. "I'm just trying to find out why frogs can't be ordained if they have every other ability."

            "You're trying to cause us serious trouble," said the Rev. Mr. Johnson, "and I don't care to discuss this issue any more. Now, if you'll leave me alone, I have to go watch an important television show. Never miss it. Even better in re-runs than first time I saw it."

            "What show is that?" I asked.

            "The Muppets."

 

            (Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 16 books, the most recent one Sex and the Single Beer Can, a look at the media and popular culture.)

 

Why The Beck Event Didn’t Need Politics

Palin likened the rally participants to the civil rights activists from 1963. She said the same spirit that helped them overcome oppression, discrimination and violence would help this group as well."We are worried about what we face. Sometimes, our challenges seem insurmountable," Palin said. "Look around you. You're not alone." - Yahoo News

Many of the pundits and talking heads were concerned today about what the motive was for Glenn Beck’s rally over the weekend. Many questioned why Mr. Beck who has been one of the staunchest critics of this president would hold a political rally without the politics? By all accounts the rally was a cross between a revival meeting and a church picnic. There were no political speeches extolling the shortcomings of this president and his administration. There were no references to liberalism, socialism, or Obamacare in any of the speeches. So with one of the largest captive audiences in recent memory why was there no demagoguery by two of the best in the business?

The answer is really very simple. All one has to do is look at the demographics of the rally goers to understand that there was no need for these types of speeches. The majority of the participants were white, over 50, and evangelicals. With this group there was no need for over the top rhetoric, racists signs, or t-shirts. Just as the Pope does not have to detail the tenets of the Catholic faith during Mass at St. Peters Basilica neither did Glenn Beck have to give the tenets to those gathered at the rally? Is there any doubt what the political leanings of those people in that demographic would be? The people who showed up at that rally are conservative right-wing voters and their politics is their religion. In their minds there is no separation of religion and state or religion and politics. America in their minds is a Christian country and anyone who does not share their brand of Christianity is an outsider. One of the reasons that President Obama’s religion is questioned and is treated with skepticism is because he does not espouse or demonstrate their brand of Christianity. So we get “He says he is a Christian and I take him at his word.”

When groups of like minded individuals get together there are certain ideas or values that don’t require being spoken. Your very presence at the event signals your agreement with the group’s positions on politics, social values, and community mores. We are God’s people and everyone else are godless infidels who are not worthy of our compassion but instead they are worthy of our contempt. The thing to remember with group dynamics is that certain words can carry special meaning that the majority of the group understands so even a non-political rally can carry political significance. So instead of talking about liberals or foreigners we talk about those who share our version of religion and those who don’t. To the folks in the crowd the meaning is crystal clear and there is no difference.

"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." - Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun

The question that continues not to be asked today is not why more people think that President Obama is a Muslim today than when he was elected. The question that needs to be asked is in a country where we supposedly have freedom of religion why does it matter what religion he is. So we have these endless conversations on the television about what the poll numbers mean to the President’s ability to do his job and no conversation about the hypocrisy of this whole conversation. The thing that should scare the hell out of all Americans who value freedom about the Glenn Beck rally is that today it is the liberals tomorrow it will be the Methodists or the Catholics. A prime example of this is the fall-out from some Christian religious groups that stated following the rally that because Glenn Beck is a Mormon he is unfit and offering a false gospel. You see that once the hate mongering starts it becomes contagious and it will infiltrate and contaminate everyone it comes in contact with.

What Glenn Beck was attempting to do was to marry religion with politics. He is seeking to rally the troops under the cross, the flag, and oh yeah a little gold wouldn’t hurt. America has a history of following these Elmer Gantry wannabes promoting that good ole time religion. The problem with these charlatans is that their version of ole time religion is not very old. I truly believe that no group has done more to divide the Church in the history of the Church than the Evangelicals. According to them God is constantly providing new revelations that only they can hear and decipher which of course makes it next to impossible to dispute. Glenn Beck decries the liberation theology of others yet as you can see from Ms. Palin’s remarks that this is exactly what they are promoting only it is liberation for those who are the most liberated in the country. Who is more liberated than middle-aged white people? What they don’t realize is Beck, Palin and their rich cronies are the ones who are oppressing them.

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. - Anne Lamott

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