Some readers might recognize this as one of the ten rules of God for His children. It comes from what is generally referred to as "The Ten Commandments". It is not often that I feel compelled to remind another belly button kid of any biblical rules. Today, I did. Non-Christians would probably, had they been witness, say that I was "pushy" about it; that I foisted my religious beliefs on someone else.
Follow me just below the
squggledoodlethingey fold, and you decide.
Exodus 20:16: "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
I've had a fairly rough couple of days. One could say that my usual humor and gentle spirit have been, umm, tested. Yet, when I left for my appointment with the docs today to discuss some kind of intimidating issues, I felt fine, and rather eager to leave Chateau de Budroe, and engage to common folk.
Some two hours later, I left the docs, having been poked, prodded, made to glow in the dark, irradiated, minus a few quarts of blood, and some stern inquisitions. Usual.
I decided to celebrate the encounter by doing what I do every six months, whether needed or not. I went to get a haircut. I'm talking the full treatment, here. From the Wildman of the North Woods to proper Executive appearance. This does take some skill, so I returned to my usual source of all things tonsorial.
My usual stylist was not available. I felt somewhat akimbo. The owner, someone I have known since first visiting the shop, offered to do the deed. A bit unsure, I agreed. I sat in her chair, and said hello to her husband, who was on his way to purchase some ear rings for his bride. It seems she had forgotten to wear some to work. She felt, she said, "naked" without them. Hubbie was only too quick to solve that particular problem, while lamenting it did not seem fair that, when he forgets his watch and feels "naked" the wife tells him he doesn't even need his watch that day. Yet, off he went with a smile and a wave.
Having been wrapped in the necessary bed linens, seemingly fresh from the tent maker's, and having indicated what was required, the Mrs. simultaneously began multi-tasking. She is, after all, the shop owner, so talking and the cutting of the hardwood sometimes referred to as my hair began. Simultaneously.
Her: So, are you going to vote this year?
Me: Yes. I vote in every election. I feel it is my responsibility and privilege as a citizen.
Silence. Crickets. Time passes, and I must approve the first pass of the Bush Hog. I do.
Her: Well, I'm going to vote, too. I'm telling everyone I know to vote...
Me: That's a very goo....
Her: For Mitt Romney.
Okay, I will admit that I did hesitate, noticeably. For about a nanosecond.
Me: Oh, really? Why is that?
Her: Oh, I could never vote for a Democrat. I have morals.
Me: So you are voting for Mr. Romney because he is not a Democrat, or is it because you have morals?
Her: Well, both, I guess.
Me: Do you believe that Democrats do not have morals?
Her: Oh, I'm sure some do. But I'm "Church-O-God! Pentecostal!" That Obama is a Muslim, you know.
Me: No, actually he's not a Muslim. He's a Christian.
She stops with the chopping. She comes around to stand in front of me.
Her: Oh, no. That's not true. Obama is a Muslim! And a Socialist! And, he isn't even a citizen; he's a Kenyan you know! My Pastor told us this in Church yesterday!
Me: So, if all this is true, how is it that Obama is the sitting President of the United States?
Her: It's all a big comspiracy! Why, he's not even supposed to be in office! "They" put him there!
Me: Interesting. Who is "they"?
Her: I don't know, but my Pastor (Bless his patriotic heart!) told us this in Church yesterday. He'd never lie!
Me: What if your Pastor did lie? How would that make you feel?
Her: He can't lie! If he were caught lying, he'd be thrown out of the Church!!
Me: Why is that?
Her: Because that would mean that he wasn't fit to by our Pastor.
Me: So, if you were to learn, for yourself, that President Obama is an American citizen, born in Hawaii; that he is a practicing Christian, and that he is one of the most honorable and principled men this country has seen in the office in very nearly a century...and you knew THIS to be true, and not what your Pastor said yesterday to his congregation in Church, how would that make you feel?
Her: Thinking, with a noticable shake of the shears as she returned to cutting my locks:
Oh that would just be terrible! I'm not sure what I would do!
Me: Well, what do you think you would have to do in a case like that?
Her: Oh, I shudder to think! It would just destroy our church! We've been hearing this from our Pastor for months.. Why, just yesterday, he told us that if we voted for a Democrat, we'd burn in Hell!
Me: Really? Do you believe you have no Democrats in your congregation?
Her: I'm sure we do, but they would surely follow the teaching of our Pastor! They're Christians!
Me: Do you mean they can be Democrats, AND Christian?
Her: Sounding somewhat befuddled. Well, of course they could.
Me: And, would you say they could also be Democrats and moral people?
Her: Well, I guess so.
Me: So if you had members of your congregation present yesterday who were patriotic democrats, all filled up with moral, and they heard your Pastor say this, how do you think they might feel?
Her: Oh, my! That would be just awful! I have friends at Church who are Democrats. I love them. I just wouldn't vote for them to be in office!
Me: Why not?
Her: Well, they couldn't run as a Democrat and be moral. That's what Pastor said, just yesterday.
Me: Your friends, you mean. You Democrat fellow church members. Would you let someone so immoral as a Democrat to be a member of your church? Really?
Her: Putting down the scissors of death. Now, wait! That's not what I said. I mean....
Me: So, which is it? Are you "Penntee-costahl Church-O-God"? Or, are you moral?
Her: Well, all I know is that Obama is a Muslim, Kenyan Marxist...and a Democrat. I'm voting for Romney.
Me: He's Mormon, you know. What do you think about Mormons, generally?
Her: I don't like 'em. No sir, not one bit. They're a cult, you see.
Me: Did your Pastor tell you that, did he?
Her: Yes, sir! He's a good man, Pastor is.
After inspecting, and approving the work accomplished, and the usual flair or the table linen from across my breast, I put on my glasses, and stood up. We walked to the cash register.
Her: That will be $23.00 today.
Withholding my cash momentarily, I looked at her.
Me: Does your Pastor ever teach you about the Ten Commandments at your Church?
She: Red-faced, and not a little shaky: Why, yes. Every year, we go over the Ten Commandments in Sunday School AND Church.
Me: Do you happen to know, or remember The Ninth Commandment?
Her: Well, (pshawwing her hand at me dismissively) of course I do. Hubbie joins us from the anteroom for what must be the ceremonial leaving of the customer.
Her" Honey, this man's asking about the Ninth Commandment.
Him: Yes, honey. I heard.
Me: I want to tell you both something, and then I want you to tell me what the Ninth Commandment is, okay?
They shake their heads, looking at one another somewhat nervously.
Me: President Obama is a United States Citizen. He was born on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii on August 4th, 1961. He was not born in Kenya. He was born to a Kenyan Father, and an American Mother. He was raised by his maternal Grandmother, along with the rest of his family. He is a Christian. He is not a Muslim by either paternity, or voluntary religious affiliation. He is a Christian. He is not a Marxist, nor is he a Communist. He is a Democrat. He is the rightful and duly elected President of these United States, having been elected by a clear majority of the American people in November, 2008.
I am a Democrat. I am a Christian. I am voting for President Barack Obama in this election, because he has been working every day of his term for me, and for you. I am not voting for President Obama because Mitt Romney is a Republican, or because he is Mormon. I disagree with his politics, and believe him to be an extremely dangerous man when it comes to the notion of "deserving" to be our President.
This is the truth. The absolute truth. Now, what was that Ninth Commandment, again?
They looked at one another, red of face and teary of eye as I laid down 2 ten dollar bills, and put three $1 on top, carefully spanning them so as to be readily counted. I turned and exited as I heard a duet:
"Thou shalt not bear false witness!"
I got a haircut. I don't know what they got. I do know that my slightly misaligned haircut will not kill me, or condemn me to an eternity apart from my Creator. They've got some work to do. I hope they will.
I'm home, and the Chili is simmering. So, incidentally, is my anger.