WASHINGTON, D.C.-Several of the Founding Fathers, reanimated through a procedure innovated by Benjamin Franklin, showed up at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference to give the audience a piece of their mind (or what was left of it, which was still quite a bit).
Thomas Jefferson was one of the first speakers, and he got right to the point: "What is it you people don't understand about those sixteen words in the Establishment Clause: 'Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof'? Nobody is asking you to give up your religious rights; we just wrote a Constitution to protect our country against some group of fanatics setting up, for example, Sharia law as the judicial standard, which you people are always (pointlessly, it seems to me, in this great country) railing against."
When Gretchen Carlson, of FOX News, snarkily asked why, if Mr. Jefferson is so opposed to religion, he bothered to put out his own version of the New Testament, Jefferson replied: "For one, Gretchen, I'm not 'opposed to' religion, and never have been. Jesus, in fact, is just alright with me, as the Doobie Brothers sang, at least as a moral teacher. (Though I do wish many of you in this audience would take His teachings more seriously!) But all that miracle hocus pocus--that just doesn't work for me. I, along with Jimmy and Ben, was a man of reason, of the Enlightenment, not like these mail-order charlatans who now control the GOP, or God's Own Party, as Jimmy likes to call it." Jefferson chuckled and continued: "Has anyone actually read the Jefferson Bible, by the way? It's now available as an eBook, with all the proceeds going to the Freedom from Religion Foundation."
James Madison was the next speaker. He said he largely agreed with his good friend Tom, and then went on: "Like the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, the Bible is a great religious text, with many individual books (Ecclesiastes, the Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs, Exodus, just to name a few) that I have read and reread over the years. As a man of reason, I'd be the first to admit that. But to use the Bible, for example, as a template for how marriage should be modeled in the twenty-first century is a little like using Homer's The Iliad as a template for how to fight a war in the twenty-first century. People, get some perspective!"
Benjamin Franklin was scheduled to speak next, but he was seen leaving the hall with a pretty blond intern who was attending the Conference.