The U.S. gummint is divided in three separate branches: the Judicial, the Legislative, and the Executive. Shows you how stupid.
—Random Ozark Character in TV movie
Joy and peace, Camper.
One matter stressed every Sunday in the log cabin church where Your Uncle Jerry spent far too many hours as a young camper was the importance of our country’s first amendment protections for the practice of religion. Especially our religion.
Or, as Grandpa Jerry liked to put it: Keeping the Gummint out of the Church's Business.
And Grandpa Jerry wasn’t wrong. Our nation’s far-sighted founders foresaw lots of problems if politicians were allowed to establish a national theology. Even back in the day when Jesus was in bible camp like you, the politicians, priests, and preachers called their militias out and sent them after citizens whose theology was not officially sanctioned. This would not do here, said the writers of our constitution.
That's why they added a short bit saying that conscientious citizens should be able to worship wrong without the government getting its hooks into them. They didn't want religious wars like what happened all over Europe. No. They wanted us to unite against the common enemy—the Non-Christians. (You didn't think they meant to cover all that sweat-lodge-and-peyote stuff, did you?)
So it is with some alarm that Uncle Jerry has heard of the support by many pundits and career conservatives for the idea they are calling the Unitarian Executive.
The Unitarian Executive doctrine was propounded, Camper, by the late Henry David Cointreau, an alcoholic pointy-head and plants’ rights activist. This doctrine depends on a complex and delightfully ignorant anything-goes theology. Cointreau’s pal, Ralph “Where’s Waldo?” Emerson, put it this way: “An Intelligence governs the universe, am I right?” This was a man who lived through the Jackson administration, which should have given him a clue right there.
But let’s put it in schoolyard terms, so we can both understand it.
According to modern believers in the Unitarian Executive, the president is the Big Unit, and therefore controls everyone's marbles in the executive schoolyard. Should the president completely lose his or her own marbles, he or she may not be removed from office until everyone working for the Big Unit, including the Justice Department, has lost their marbles, too. In this condition, all executive officials are United against everyone who has read the constitution.
If they were plant nerds, Executive Unitarians would argue like this: A single slimy, wormy leaf at the top of the tree may not be plucked until the entire executive branch is rotten.
Put your ear to a Unitarian Executive, sometime, Camper. You'll hear the wind whistling. Or look at their liberal cousins, the orthodox Unitarians, who actually go to church, sort of. Their missionaries will come to your door, but for no particular reason. Maybe looking for lost marbles. It's like they don't really want to convert you; how is that fair? Can't even get in a good argument. At least the Mormon missionaries will smile wholesomely through your screen door and talk about how we’re only put on earth to make babies. Which is nice, coming from a 19-year-old virgin. And the Mormons don’t tag the overpasses with huge question marks, either.
Point is, Camper—and this returns us to the backwoods church where we started—what makes for both good religion and good government is a commitment to a few simple and obvious principles. Principles like Grandma Jerry used to teach in Sunday School: Straighten up! and Snap Out of It! and You’re No Better Than Anyone Else, Buster.
See, if you have too many rules, you leave loopholes; then you need footnotes and fine print. People start to think the rules don’t apply to them. Their theology gets sloppy, and they start to follow the wrong gods home.
That’s why these Executive Unitarians have begun to worship the Big Unit—as sloppy a god as they come, not to mention the whole marbles issue.
Yes, yes, they should be free to worship as they like, but if they’re also free to call out the militia, Camper, then you better brush off your flag pin and your gummint prayer rug. When they get their establishment claws into the Mormons, Muslims, atheists, and anyone insufficiently impressed by the Big Unit, don’t come crying to Your Uncle Jerry. Uncle Jerry will be on his knees.
Peace and joy.