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Tuesday, 24 February 2009
He was my friend. I pistol-whipped him
with a wooden gun my father made.
(War time: such trifles were in short supply.)
Bad enough if I had hit him in the street,
but doing so in church, my would-be crime
became a sin. He'd reached across the pews
to snatch my illustrated, treasured
Holy Bible from my grasp. In doing so
he'd torn the prophet Moses clean in half,
ripped out the the Ten Commandments and had trashed
the Golden Calf. I lashed out, blind in a
red mist of rage, the gun - my contribution
to the Sunday School's Toy Sunday service -
firmly in my hand. The priest, as blind as I
in his red mist, then missed the obvious:
would not allow the righteousness of my
response, my holy anger, pious grief....
And so I left, walked out on all those
coloured stamps of Jesus making wine
and bringing long-dead people back to life -
images we'd added to our albums
week by week. I went to seek a better way:
agnostic for a month, then atheist for two.
I bought a book on Godlessness,
and reading it, became - I know not how -
my erstwhile friend's companion once again.