Practice what they preach 


I used to think that speaking out against injustice -- and combating institutionalized insanity, incompetence and hypocrisy -- was worth the effort. But I'm beginning to realize it's a pointless waste of energy. Rolling the rock uphill only goes against the zeitgeist -- and it doesn't help pay the rent, either. So, I'm tossing aside the old me, in favor of a smarter, more accepting version; one who knows -- according to the latest beer commercial -- how not to let a good opportunity go by.

For example, the old me would have delighted in pointing out that, according to the latest vote recounts, it now appears certain Al Gore actually won the presidential election; the present inhabitant of the White House is, in truth, the illegitimate inaugurate of a judicial coup d'état. Therefore, the old me would have intoned Thomas Jefferson's dictum that any government that establishes itself against the will of the people invites nothing short of revolution.

The old me might have argued that our new Orange County chairman's plan to ban dancing in clubs for all (in order to combat illegal and unhealthy drug use by some) is yet another ignorant, knee-jerk response to a problem which cannot be solved by just more draconian prohibitions. I may have suggested, perhaps, that an entirely different approach -- one that fosters harm reduction and education -- would have a better chance of success than constitutionally questionable moratoriums.

If I were still the old me, I might even have hurled some heavy bombast in the direction of our local United Way, for failing to live up to its own standards of nondiscrimination when it decided to continue funding the Boy Scouts, even though that organization bans homosexuals while using public property for its meetings. I could have reasoned that, in doing so, the United Way is supporting not only an immoral but, in fact, highly illegal practice.

But since I evidently can't beat 'em, I've decided it's time to join 'em. Yep, I've decided to take advantage of the unjust lunacy all around me and become a whole new person in the bargain. Luckily, a fortuitous e-mail I received last week has shown me the way.

You see, Minister Charles Simpson of Billings, Mont., has the power to make me a "legally ordained minister" within 48 hours. And, for only $29.95, I can, after my "legal ordination," start my own congregation. And starting my own congregation means having my own church. And having my own church means -- stay with me, here -- I can now apply for federal funding as a bona fide "faith-based charity" under our illegal new president's initiative to have "people of faith provide social services."

What "social services" will I be providing? Simple. What could be more "social" than dancing? You see, a lot of people in Orange County -- because we've banned new dance clubs -- will be in need of an alternative. And since the "secular" society has abandoned them, the void will have to be filled by my particular "religious" organization. And the beauty part? The moratorium against dancing, as promulgated by the new Orange County chairman, explicitly excludes churches! That means dancing in my church will not only be legal, it also will be officially sanctioned by our local government and -- if all goes well -- largely underwritten by the federal government as well! Now, is that a plan, or what?

But wait, it gets better. Since this is going to be my "church" (that's for the county) and my "faith-based charity" (that's for the feds), I'm going to be able to shut out anyone whose "lifestyle choices" don't agree with, well, mine! And since the Heart of Florida United Way already has shown that it has no problem funding an organization that discriminates, I see no reason why I couldn't pick up some extra cash by getting myself listed as a separate "contract agency" -- much like the Boy Scouts will now be -- on its donor forms!

So there's the plan: $29.95 up front, a couple of hours filling in grant applications from the White House and the United Way, and the Orange County Church of Terpischore (along with its affiliated "faith-based charities") will be up and running. What a great feeling! I've finally learned to go with the flow. And not only will I be supporting -- instead of mocking -- our illegal president and our clueless local political leadership, but -- if I get really good at being the "new me" -- I'll soon learn to walk in the footsteps of some of the great religious leaders of our time.

And you know what that means, don't you? Within months, I'll be a millionaire!!!


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