If I had money to burn, and I do mean a lot of it, my first order of business would be to set some priorities. Help alleve world hunger? Sure, that's a no-brainer. Lock some money up in interest-bearing accounts for my kids (if I ever have any)? It's a responsible thing to do, of course. Set up a legitimate research group with the goal to eradicate AIDS and the common cold? Any good philanthropist would think of "The Big Picture" and I would be no different.

But my top priority would be to put a gag order on politicians and televangelists. Let's be honest here: of all the different subgroups throughout American culture, politicians and televangelists have easily got to be the biggest liars and power-hungry no-goods alive. These people make it their mission in life to say whatever the audience wants to hear just to turn a buck. I mean, these are the kinds of people, that if they saw a $1 bill lying on the floor, they'd pick it up if no one was looking and pocket the money as though it was theirs to begin with. I've always had a secret desire to set up a hidden camera in the hallway just outside the Oval Office or Jerry Fallwell's Kingdom Come Hall (or whatever the fuck it's called) just to see if my suspicious are correct. My gut tells me that I'd have some interesting footage- if predictable.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I have no animosity against individual politicians or TV preachers, but as a whole they piss me off incredibly. Some of them, I'm sure, are fairly decent people who live fairly decent lives and have fairly decent views of the world at large. But it's an undeniable fact that the majority of them have some peculiar notions about community service. The whole WWJD movement begs the question: would Junior go out and buy 6 condos, a limo, 2 palatial estate mansions, a Lear jet and and hire hookers to help Him keep the ol' pistons grinding? Would He take the shortcut of using television to get His Word out? Or would He live a life of austerity and make singular relationships with every person who came across His path, teaching them His ideas on a one-to-one basis? He told us that actions speak louder than words and I suspect that His representatives aren't exactly acting in the way He would find pleasing.

He's come and gone, as far as I'm concerned. He left it in our hands, the hands of the meek, to do something about the iniquity around us. But, like mindless sheep, the majority of us just shrug our shoulders and say, "Oh, well. Jim and Tammy-Fae will get theirs eventually." Or, worse still, some people are actually dumb enough to support those thieves. Like Rhonda-Jo, in the trailer park just outside of town, who just sent off her last week's paycheck to help Mister Roberts fund his national campaign to improve literacy. She thinks it's a investment in her own future, because she herself can't read anything longer than a pamphlet without feeling overwhelmed, but does she really expect Roberts and a team of literacy experts to come knocking on her door next month? Nope. But, by God, he'll knock on somebody's door. Won't he? He said he would. I can trust him, she thinks. He's a man of the cloth.

Sorry, Rhonda-Jo, but Brooks Brothers hasn't come out with a drab-black priest's frock line of clothing since it opened it's doors and these men you send your hard-earned money to each month shop nowhere else.

Men of the cloth you say? Get this: American US currency is actually cloth. It's a fiber-woven note that resembles paper, but the fact is that it's a merely a piece of cloth. That's why it lasts so long. Try to imagine how long a scrap of notebook paper lasts over the course of thirty years in comparison to a $!0 bill. The paper gets yellowed, brittle, tears easily and doesn't last very long. A ten-spot, however, even if it ends up in the washing machine a few times, holds up for a lot longer than your garden-variety pair of blue jeans. Money is made of cloth, so, yeah, these men that are "responsible" for our spiritual upbringing are certainly men of the cloth. In God we trust, eh?

And politicians are no different, if you ask me. I mean, these folks have taken it upon themselves to serve the greater good, which is what some preachers take an oath to do. Still, however, the race for office in nearly any political arena is won by the highest bidder or the best liar. Do you honestly think I or someone else who makes a measly $15,000 a year would have a chance in hell of getting into the Oval Office? Say the candidate is the most honorable and dignified person in this country, has somehow managed to collect the $1,000,000-minimum registration fee to run for President and actually gets to make some appearances here and there. What do you think that person's chances of going up against, say, Bush Junior are? Ask Ralph Nader. The only difference between politicians and evangelists is that evangelists are... wait a second, there is no difference.

They both are concerned only with helping those who share their ideas and social leanings. They both take in copious amounts of money and spend it more on themselves than The People. They both use TV to make sure as many people as possible know who they are. They both argue viciously with anyone who doesn't share their beliefs. They both depend on others to survive without doing any dirty work on their own. They both set up elaborate security measures to make sure the people who send them money never get the chance to get that money back if it's mismanaged. They regularly get caught breaking the rules. They focus on the letter of the law instead of the spirit behind it. And, lastly, they both put on some pretty interesting shows when they know people are watching.

If I had the money to shut them down I would do it in a heartbeat. That would be my greatest pubic service, I think. I wouldn't spend time trying to explain myself or win people over to my way of thinking. I would simply do everything I could to make sure religion stays off the airwaves and campaigning gets outlawed. I would make sure that these people who lie from the bottom of their hearts would have no other option but to let their actions speak for themselves.

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