Wed 16 Nov 2005
I was raised in an Anglican household and went to church regularly. I was baptised and confirmed, and I sang in the choir. I even became a Head Chorister. Somewhere along the line though, after all those Sundays listening to sermons and attending Bible classes, I came to understand that the beguiling story of some beneficent being watching over us tiny scuttling mortals, caring about our affairs and woes, and offering us a nice place to go when we die, was a lot like believing in Santa Claus – I really wanted to think it was true, but in my heart I knew I was only in it for the presents.
Nevertheless, over the years I’ve come to feel that I was somehow gypped of all those hours I put in being a Good Christian Soul. After all, surely Head Chorister can only be a small step away from being Bishop, right? There’s not that much difference in the outfit, aside from the mitre and the staff and a bit of gold braid. It was like doing the apprenticeship but never getting to practice the trade. Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t make me a bad person (put your hands down in the back you Fundamentalists). I think I’d make a good minister.
It’s some kind of discrimination if you ask me. Why should my religious beliefs affect my job opportunities?
So anyway, yesterday I’m on my way to Damascus on my donkey when all of a sudden there’s this blinding flash of light and a deafening clap of thunder and a booming voice says “Go to the Universal Life Church Monastery, I have work for you to do!”†
I don’t like to argue with preternatural voices, especially when they’re loud, so after the retinal fatigue faded, the ringing in my ears cleared and I got the donkey out of the tree, I dutifully scuttled off to the appointed place and got myself ordained!
It took me about two minutes and I didn’t even need to answer any tough questions (that one about the angels dancing on the head of a pin is always tricky). Best of all, it was completely FREE! Man, if I’d known it was this painless I would have done it years ago.
While I was hanging out at the Universal Life Church Monastery, I noticed I could get my sins absolved too. Well, a person can’t expect to go into the ministry carrying a burden of mortal sin, so a couple of clicks and I was as pure and white as a baby seal in a snow drift. And as a big plus, I got a certificate to prove that as well:
I’m going to print this out and carry it with me everywhere. That way I can throw stones at whoever I want.
Anyway, now that I am an ordained minister, I need to figure out what to do with my new found powers. According to the ULC site I can, amongst other things, marry people, preside over Baby Namings and carry out exorcisms* (obviously, a callout to do all three as a job-lot would get you a discount).
Of course, if I was in the US, my status as a minister, even though it is awarded from the ULC, means I am entitled to a new Social Security number and from there it’s an easy path to a new passport, a driver’s license and a handgun! Wait a minute – it’s lucky I used my real name. What if I’d used some geeky internet handle, surely that would be some kind of identity fraud?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “It can’t be that easy. The ULC is just some guy having a laugh with a silly internet site that makes bogus certificates for Halloween parties. Anaglyph’s not really an ordained minister!”
Well, be afraid Brothers and Sisters! Not only is the Universal Life Church legally allowed to properly ordain me via the internet, they are a certified religion, with appropriate US tax exemptions.
Another thing I am allowed to do with my new powers is to set up a radio or tv ministry, or even a ministry on the internet! Now there’s an idea.
Running with this thought, I therefore declare this post Official Notice of the Inauguration of the Church of the Tetherd Cow, and the appointment of my good self as His Representative and Internet Spokesperson. Sure we’ve had that as an informal agreement for a while, me & The Cow, but now it’s all proper like.
So, my children, prayerbooks out, turn to page 23 and say after me “I believe in the Holy Cow…”
*I made that last one up. It doesn’t say that on the site at all, but ‘Marriages ☆ Baby Namings ☆ Exorcisms’ would look really cool on a business card, don’t you reckon?
†Being serious here for a moment, once you’ve lost your faith in God, the only conceivable way you can get it back is via epiphany. This kinda sucks. What kind of God would set up this kind of nutty paradox?‡
‡Yeah, yeah. I know, Mysterious Ways and all that. Such a convenient cop-out.