For days now, there's been a bit of a brouhaha over the Dallas Baptist preacher who called Mormonism a cult.
Poor ol' Robert Jeffress, pressed into introducing his fave GOP presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter summit in Washington, D.C. Friday happened to opine afterward that he figured Mormonism was a cult, and that rival Republican candidate Mitt Romney, an adherent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, wasn't a Christian.
And the media, lamestream and otherwise, had been burning up the airwaves over the matter ever since. On CBS' Face the Nation, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich criticized Jeffress for criticizing someone else's religion. GOP presidential candidate and pizza mogul Herman Cain told CNN's State of the Union that he "didn't want to get into that."
Lost in all that was what Jeffress actually said.
"Mormonism is a cult," Jeffress told reporters gathered outside the Values Voter auditorium. "I believe Mitt Romney is a good, moral person and has a wonderful family, but that's not what makes you a Christian."
Well, thank gawd that's been straightened out. And thank Robert Jeffress for explaining the Inquisition, the Reformation Wars, burning women at the stake, slavery, and the genocide of Native Americans, Jews, and Muslims.
Jeffress said that Mitt Romney was good and moral and had a wonderful family, and couldn't possibly be a Christian. Of course, as Mormons accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, apparently what made you a Christian was being evil and immoral and having a horrible family.
Granted, the whole point of Christianity was that it was for people who were evil and rotten and immoral and despicable. Grace was Amazing because it Saved evil, rotten, immoral, despicable, slave-trading white supremacist wretch John Newton. Grace, or anyone else, didn't get credit for a Save, amazing or otherwise, with a nine-run lead.
Thus, Christianity was a sort of get-out-of-Hell-free card for the truly vile and repugnant. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was a Christian.
Maybe Jeffress meant that Romney and the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, didn't need Christianity. Just as Gandhi was a maha (great) atma (soul), maybe Jeffress meant Romney, too, was already working with a nine-run lead, and could go the distance without bringing in a bearded closer to nail down the Save.
In fact, back in the day, Protestants invented Protestantism in part because they figured their doing good deeds couldn't get them into Heaven at all, as Catholics had earlier figured. Protestants figured they were so far gone good deeds weren't even in it. They figured the only way they could get into Heaven was through Grace and Grace alone. Jesus had to cut them some slack. Toss out some low scores. Look the other karmic way.
Conveniently, that precluded having to part with any ill-gotten gains they'd spent a lifetime of doing ill to get just to buy a lousy admission to Heaven with a priestly Indulgence.
Which also explained the origins of the Tea Party.
Of course, perusing the liturgical fine print revealed that Heaven in the Judeo-Christian tradition was a special kind of Heaven. In the Christian Heaven, your dead bones arose and were clothed in new flesh, and you lived, in your taut new meatsuit, forever and ever with Jesus in a special plane specifically created for meat-suited reanimated Christians.
This was significantly different from the sort of Heaven other religions promised, which mostly all featured a non-corporeal afterlife of hanging with the Big Guy. So, maybe there was a regular, non-corporeal Heaven for good, moral, wonderful-family-raising Mahatmas and Romneys and Buddhists and Hindus and such with sufficiently good karma, and a separate, fleshy Heaven made just for folks on the good/evil bubble who called in the Beard and squeaked out a one-run victory in the bottom of the ninth.
This separate, fleshy Christian Heaven was the one for reanimated meat-suited Christians like Jeffress and Rick Perry. All the Christians would be there. Tomas de Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor General of the Spanish Inquisition, would be there. The Borgias would be there. Gangland mobsters would be there.
All the child-raping priests would be there.
And, it being Heaven, all those torturers and murderers and gangsters and child molesters, not to mention Texas politicians, got to spend all Eternity doing just as they pleased as much and as long as they wanted. The only real requirement was having to say you were on Jesus' pass list.
Which might make one wonder whether Christian Heaven wasn't actually some sort of supernatural diversion program for the otherwise Hell-bound. Sort of a maximum-security afterlife for flesh-clothed undead miscreants administered by an omnipotent bleeding-heart liberal Rabbi from Nazareth.
After all, anyplace that was designed to keep anyone or anything out was likewise effectively designed to keep something in. Maybe, the whole being-reclothed-in-flesh thing was the innovation that kept spiritual third-strike offenders out of hard time by guaranteeing they couldn't wander off into regular, non-corporeal Heaven to frighten the locals with tommy guns and loud country rock music. No need for an ankle monitor when just having an ankle would do.
Thus, the only real issue in the whole Mormonism-Christianity-cult kerfuffle was whether Romney was ticketed for Christian Heaven, with bones and a fresh new meatsuit, whenever he finally got his ticket punched. Being a good and moral person, as Jeffress had already assured one and all, Romney clearly had already made the cut for regular, unfleshy Heaven, along with Krishna and the Buddha and the Dalai Lama.
Either way, Visiting Hours were on Tuesdays.