The following one-minute mouth-off monologues
focus on religious issues of varying kinds. Some of the monologues
may eventually find their way into a play, but for now I've shaped
them into monologues that challenge the actors to fill in the
missing details from their own imaginations: who, what, where,
when, why, how?
This symbol means this monologue has been recorded. Click on the triangle to listen.
Is there a "War on Christmas"? I don't believe it! What's the matter with
"Happy Holidays"? People said "Happy Holidays" when I was little. Nobody
got all hostile about it. After all, Christmas and New Year are two holidays,
aren't they? You want to wish people happy for both-- or happy whatever they celebrate.
My atheist aunt celebrates Christmas. So does my atheist Chinese boss and my Jewish
girlfriend. A Muslim coworker always gives me a Christmas present. "Holiday" sales
are what stores are supposed to have! Are they going to tell people that they're
not allowed to buy for Kwanzaa or Hanukkah? Spring Break or Summer Solstice? Why
not, if that's they want to spend their money on? Or should stores to sell only
to Christians? Is that even legal? People are so ready to take offense. The fundamentalists
get offended if you don't say "Merry Christmas", while other people get freaked
if you even mention the word. I read about some carolers who were turned away
from an ice rink where skater Sacha Cohen was going to perform, for fear that
their Christian songs would offend her. If they're going to send away carolers
for the sake of a single person, how about at least asking that person if carols
upset her? Maybe, like my Jewish girlfriend, she's a big fan of Christmas.
Click on the triangle to listen:
Having been raised in The Heartland by strict conservative parents, I have
some personal experience with how religion can crush the Spirit. The God of my
childhood demanded that I be a submissive daughter, and I was supposed to grow
up to be someone's submissive wife. According to those standards, I've been quite
the sinner. But as a single mom living in "wicked" New York City, I can tell you
that I have a closer relationship to God now than I ever did growing up - even
though I haven't set foot in a church in years! I currently have no problem submitting
to something greater than my own self will -- I learned that during the process
of childbirth. And I make choices to "do the right thing" every day, out of love
for my beautiful daughter. There's a big difference between behaving well out
of love, and giving in to powerful people who bully and humiliate you. Today,
I give thanks to God that my daughter and I are alive and healthy. It's a genuine
feeling of gratitude. I'm not tempted to do things that are forbidden or self-destructive
any more-- but not out of fear. In fact, I'm certain now that God doesn't want
to be feared-- because the closer I feel to God the more fearless I become!
Click on the triangle to listen:
So, Senator Inhofe? You say there's no need to worry about Global Warming because
"God is up there!"? Well, yes, I agree that God is up there, Senator: but what
makes you think He's against science? God gave us brains so that we can understand
and care for this lovely Earth, and all the wonderous creatures that live on it.
God looks down and sees how we are treating His Creation. You think He approves
when we dump toxic sludge into His water? Pump carbon monoxide into His air? Rip
down the trees in His rain forests? I think that there are black mark nexts to
your name in God's Heavenly Book, Senator. One mark for every time you vote in
favor of the folks who are smogging up the skies and poisoning the streams. The
Earth is God's Footstool. We are stewards, and servants, you and I. Right now,
sir, I have to say-- You're doing a mighty poor job of keeping the Earth clean
for God's Holy Feet.
We claim to fight for freedom for people around the world, but when
traditional societies look at us, they don't see freedom. They see sin and excess.
They look at people like Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Michael Moore,
Bill Moyers-- selfish people who put their own desires for money and celebrity
ahead of morality. Freedom to them is totally opposite from the traditional sense
of reciprocal obligation. They say it equals sexual license-- and even perversion!
You know, Muslim countries aren't the only ones who look on us with repulsion.
Pious people of all religions are enraged by the way liberals abuse freedom. They
blacken its very name. Our vulgar, licentious popular culture, that idolizes homosexuality,
loose women, birth control, no-fault divorce-- its shameless Godlessness? That
disgusts traditionalists around the world. You've got to understand: the culture
wars at home and the global war on terror aren't separate problems. It is only
by curtailing the left's attacks on religion and the family that we can convince
moderate Muslims to turn their backs on their own extremists. We must return to
I go to church in a conservative city. Lots of sweet old Southern ladies and
their job-working daughters cook huge lunches for us, run a preschool, and take
care of the community's elderly. Most of the congregation works in small businesses
or in traditional blue-collar jobs. Sounds conservative, right? It's not. We have
male and female pastors, plus a gay choir director. They don't preach hate or
allow hymns that celebrate "us" as superior, or consign "unbelievers" to hell.
We help prison inmates and AIDS patients, and we give Communion to anyone who
walks in the door, no questions asked. Maybe we're the exceptions, but churches
create community. They're a safe place for dialogue. It's my impression that right
now the nation's hearts and minds are changing. Liberal Christians see love in
action among us, even as we see the devastation caused by war and self-righteousness.
I think that my choir director and his partner have made a lot of people re-think
their beliefs about gays, just as women in the pulpit help people to accept women
as leaders. My own mother is changing. She needs to be supported, not ridiculed!
It breaks my heart to hear liberals talk about Christianity as if it is the propaganda
arm of the Permanent War Party. "Turn the other cheek"! and "The first shall be
last"? The Sermon on the Mount is more radical than the farthest-out lefty, more
egalitarian than the most populist Democrat.
Long before the current attack on science
I was dealing with creationists. Friends would come up to me with
quotes from textbooks, all fired up that their kids were being
taught "notions" that went against what they'd learned at home
or in church. This was a people vs eggheads issue, not one of
politics. We're a nation of shopkeepers and salesmen, craftsmen
and farmers; practical people who believe in hands-on training,
and take a "common sense" approach to things. We might have accepted
evolution if we learned it while raising the best laying hens,
or growing wilt-resistant corn. Or if our doctor explained how
penicillin stops working when the germs mutate. But average citizens
don't come to evolution through hands-on contact with the evidence
that evolution makes sense of. Some outsider, some pointy-headed
"intellectual" come back from State College, tells them that they
have to pick answer B: "humans descended from the apes" as the
right one on a multiple choice exam. They pick answer B cause
they want to graduate high school. But our culture rejects it.
What professors believe "is all just theoretical". Our real authority
figures, preachers and congressmen and business leaders, know
that the right answer is A: "God created everything in six days,
and man in His image". That's the answer that gets you respect
in the community, and a ticket to Heaven when you die.
I watch television. I see families in
Texas and Oklahoma whose houses are in the path of wildfires.
I see wives in West Virgina whose husbands are trapped in a mine.
If they believe they are escaping death and destruction, these
people pray and praise God for a miracle. When the wind changes
or they learn their loved ones are dead, some scream and curse
God. But most weep quietly, and say "It must be God's Will, God
did this for a reason" ... a reason only He knows. To believe
in a personal God with "reasons", they give up their own! What
kind of God kills miners and starts Oklahoma wildfires? Ordains
Presidents and makes your stocks go up, or down? Sends cancer,
or teases you with remission? To say nothing of the thousand petty
and harmless actions that the righteous denounce as sins: sins
that will bar the "sinner" from heaven. Well, if the arbitrary
tyrant these people think is running the earth is in charge of
Heaven-- it will be Hell!
The stereotypical Christians may
be outspoken and intolerant in condemning same sex marriage, evolution,
abortion, or the like, because they need to defend the group where
they've found support. An attack on Christianity is a attack against
them personally. They use the Bible to justify their position
in life, and deny what Jesus says about giving to the poor and
"the first shall be last". The Fundamentalist rants and raves
because he's covering up fear. Deep down he knows that Scripture
like what he's quoting to condemn his neighbor can be quoted against
him. He clings to a preacher who tells him he's right and everybody
else is going to Hell. There are Christians I'd call Christ addicts,
talking about Him and praising Him for every little thing, but
never taking the time to love their neighbors. They take Jesus'
name in vain. Others have seen the Lord at work in their own lives.
When they fight against hypocrisy and sacrifice for the sake love
of their fellow man, these Christians will have crap thrown at
them time and time again. They may never mention Christ's name,
or take credit for any of the good acts they do. They may even
forget that Jesus or doubt Him, but He is in their heart of hearts.
I feel that I was born into one of the self-serving groups-- but
I hope I'm more like this last group now.
I know a woman who had an abortion when
she was a frightened 18 year old. Her lover, her friend, the young
man she'd known since they were kids-- he ran out on her. The
emotional scars she carries from that have hurt her sexuality
and the rest of her self-esteem. It may take decades for her to
learn to trust again. But, ask her: was the abortion a mistake?
She'll say the relationship was the mistake. The abortion was
a necessity. My point is that men make the laws, enforce the laws,
and run all the religious institutions. And these men haven't
a clue about what a woman's relationship is to her body, or to
her own potential, or to the people who are already in her life.
How do they presume to decide? If her fetus is premature, or autistic,
or needs multiple surgeries, or if the stress of carrying an unwanted
child causes the woman to have a mental breakdown, will these
pro-lifers supply the financial support and loving care the mother
and child need? I have Christian friends who seem compassionate,
but oppose government spending because they want low taxes-- in
order to buy the best for themselves and their own children. Check
the Epistle of James on the difference between faith and works.
Unless you are perfect in charity, don't cast stones.