The Blog

I Had A Dream

I had a dream. President Obama wasn't really religious at all. It was just a front he put on for political purposes. His embrace of Christianity was just to get himself re-elected. Safely in the White House for a second term he dared to say what no President had ever dared say before. "I don't believe in God". And within twenty-four hours half of America was saying, "Well, you know what, nor do I."

Then I woke up. What brought me to my senses was a report last week about America's annual National Prayer Breakfast. President Obama told the audience, "I have fallen on my knees with great regularity..., asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation..."

So no more dreams. He could never have said something that drippy without really meaning it. Though I don't think for one moment he's ever fallen on his knees.

I did once. About ten years ago, I'd just bought a new tely and was carrying it out of the shop when I tripped. I had to make a split-second decision - drop the telly or land on my knees. And the knees won. It isn't something I'd like to do too often; one of them still hurts to this day. Which is why I hope Obama was fibbing, because you wouldn't want the person with the most important job in the world endangering himself like that. It's bad enough him having a God-smacked brain, let alone busted knee-caps.

Since the President of the USA effectively becomes a president for all of us, whenever there's an election it's difficult not to worry about who we might end up with. Hopefully not a religious loony who makes world-changing decisions by holding mumbo-jumbo conversations with a non-existent God. But on that point, the Republican presidential debates have hardly been re-assuring. Devotion to the Almighty was the one quality all the candidates were most anxious to proclaim. Americans, it seems, don't care what sort of hoaxer stands up in front of them asking to be President so long as he "believes".

But to believe is to misuse your brain. Dogs say woof, cats say miaow - no need for belief, the proof is in your ears. You only need belief when you're trying to convince yourself of something that's highly improbable, like one of these Republican candidates being fit to become president.

For my money, the one most fit would be the one who disowned religion. But since none of them are going to do that, the best thing is to decide which person, if any, might be less than truthful in calling himself religious. And the most likely one seems to be Mitt Romney.

Yes, I know, he's a devout Mormon, or says he is. But if you're born into that community and don't accept its religion, you're ostracised, family and all, which is hard to take. Easier by far is to join in by professing belief in the Book of Mormon, a fairy-tale concocted by a conman called Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century.

Smith made a living telling fortunes, reading pebbles thrown into the bottom of his hat. To start with he told people where they could find buried treasure. Then he said an angel had guided him to a book written on gold tablets. Though no one ever got to see it, he claimed to have translated it from its mysterious ancient language with the help of two more pebbles, though this time, apparently, without the use of his hat.

The result was the Book of Mormon, the story of Israelite tribes who crossed the ocean to America as long ago as 2000 BC and went to war with each other. Between his resurrection and his ascension, Jesus Christ found time to pop over to America and try and calm things down, but once he'd left the tribes went back to fighting and killed each other off completely. Other Mormon teachings tell us the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, and God was once a human being and now lives on a planet near the star Kolob.

Saddled with a religion as potty as that, it seems likely that the majority of intelligent Mormon's are just paying lip-service to it and are not actually believers at all. So for Americans who want a non-believer in the White House, Mitt Romney might be the best choice. On the other hand, if I'm wrong, we might find American foreign policy being decided by a President who sits in the Oval Office gazing at pebbles in a hat.

So on second thoughts it's probably best to stick with Obama, endangered knee-caps and all.