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“And now a few words from my dick…”

Today President Donald Trump leaves on his first official foreign trip since being fraudulently elected by an archaic system and with the help of Russian hacking. He’ll be visiting Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, and Israel and will be taking his teddy bear and night light since he doesn’t like not sleeping in his own bed. Trump is no doubt hoping for a respite from unending witch hunts at home, even though everyone including his enemies agree that he’s doing an amazing job and has all the best words, really.

What can we expect from the trip to the centres of Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism? Reports have surfaced of Trump’s wishlist for activities, although the feasibility of some has already been questioned. Here, from unnamed sources <cough, Comey! cough> is the President’s Holy Land(s) bucket list:

  • Take the Popemobile out for a spin in St. Peter’s Square; if possible, do some donuts
  • Land a helicopter on Masada, proving that the US Army is better than Rome’s
  • Kiss the Black Stone at the Kaaba, to get the “gift of the grab”
  • Solve the Arab-Israeli problem, if time allows also bring peace to entire Middle East
  • Pick up one of those Pope hats at the Vatican gift shop
  • Take that oil
  • Make a deal to build a hotel on Palestinian land, probably
  • Find out how Michelangelo painted all that stuff even though he’s just a turtle
  • Kiss Benjamin Netanyahu right on the lips
  • Have some protestors beat up, like that Erdogan guy did in Washington
  • Send postcards to Michael Flynn, a really great guy
  • Cause at least one international incident every day
  • Tweet out locations of Israel’s nuclear weapons
  • Make joke about how he hasn’t seen a sand trap this big since golfing at the beautiful Trump Mar-a-Lago course
  • Find out where the Vatican hides all its women; grab their pussies
  • Put ketchup on hummus

Recently a co-worker of mine quietly said, “Is it bad that I don’t know who Judas is?”

Although I was initially taken aback, I quickly realized that she has no real reason to know the story of Judas: even if Muslims consider Christians and Jews “People of the Book,” they would have little occasion to actually read our holy texts. A lot of Christians, to say nothing of secular Westerners, haven’t read the Bible either. But most of us know the story of Jesus, and by extension Judas, anyway, because it’s become a part of the larger culture.

Relating the story to my colleague, I mentioned Jesus Christ Superstar, which is the source of much of my understanding, and thinking, about Judas–I didn’t have to read the Bible to know the story and, because my knowledge came from an arguably blasphemous source, my take on Judas is tinged with a radical, hippie-flavoured veneer. Whether Judas betrayed Jesus for silver or to fulfil his destiny is one of the great theological debates, and can be had whether you’re a believer or not.

I wonder which universally-relatable stories I’m missing out on because knowledge of the history of Islam and the Qu’ran is as lacking in Western societies as tales of the Last Supper and the 12th disciple are in young Somali-Canadians. Who is Muhammad Ali (not the boxer, but his namesake?), and what could I learn by studying his life?

The story I told her:

Judas and Jesus were best mates at school but Judas was always jealous because Jesus was better at sports and had an easy way with the birds. Still, they went into business together as freelance prophet and disciple. But Judas thought they’d switch off roles as they moved from city to city: being a disciple was hard work while being a prophet was where the real money was. When Jesus started making time with the lass Judas fancied, the disciple had had enough and sold his stake in Salvation, Inc. for 30 silver pieces, intending to set up shop in another town and help the poor there. But when Jesus got nicked by the bill for claiming divinity, Judas was blamed for betraying his old son and, knowing his propheting days were over, packed it in, offing himself in a right nasty way.

Hey, it’s not up to me to spread the so-called truth.

"I dabbled in witchcraft"

Over the weekend a video surfaced of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell admitting that she “dabbled in witchcraft” in high school, with the politician brushing aside the story, saying “How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school?”  Her remarks have angered the Wiccan community, who have found themselves in the position of being the reasonable side in an argument, for the very first time ever, anywhere.  They are also being completely adorable in their belief that anyone actually cares about them.

“Any political candidate that is going to equate witchcraft with Satanism is ill informed and is not likely to get the support of people involved in nature religion,” Reverend Selena Fox, the High Priestess & Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary, told the Huffington Post. Her non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting paganism and nature spirituality, and is blissfully unaware that Republicans are not, have not, and never will court the “nature spirituality” vote.  Fox believes that O’Donnell’s flippant remarks about her religion show a lack of respect.  “Whether she intends to do that or not as a way to try and get herself out of this political problem she has created for herself, the fact is America really needs to be a place where you can celebrate diversity and practice your religion without getting ridiculed or defamed,” she said, with a completely straight face, having clearly not watched any news programming or read any newspapers in the last three months. When asked if she sees any connection between O’Donnell’s comments and the Park 51 project near Ground Zero, Fox replied that “as Wiccans, of course we support parks, which bring us closer to Mother Earth.”  Seriously, she had no clue what Park 51 actually is.

Sylvia T. Webb, first officer of the non-profit organization Covenant of the Goddess, told ABC News that O’Donnell’s remarks were “bizarre” and contribute to the public’s misunderstanding of the religion.  Let me repeat that: a representative of Covenant of the Goddess believes that the American public doesn’t have a clear understanding of Wicca.  Islam has over a billion followers, and Americans don’t understand it, and Webb is surprised that they don’t understand Wicca?

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