Ask Bill About It 

Ouch! You just had to ask me that, huh?

Yoo-hoo. It's me again, and I remembered what it was I wanted to ask you about! It was just like you said how if I relax, it would come back to me. And that's exactly what happened, only I wasn't relaxed and it didn't come back to me so much as got thrown in my face.

What happened was, I asked my friend Dottie to come over and help me plan out an agenda for the next Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group, which I should tell you is behind on what the latest column is. Six weeks, that's how far behind we are. At the next meeting we will be discussing "The Museum of Make-Believe" from six weeks ago, which is either poking fun at creationism, or not doing that, which is why we have a discussion group to figure out what you are really saying when you say things. Dottie thinks you are poking fun at creationism and she doesn't think it's very funny because she goes to church three times a week in one of those churches that teaches whatever the Bible says happened is exactly what happened, and I told her that it's possible you are really only pretending to poke fun at creationism and that you are really poking fun at how we are just supposed to believe anything a scientist says, even if there isn't a single person around who ever saw anything evolve into anything else or was there to see that Big Bang Theory or any of that stuff. So Dottie was saying that when the Rapture comes, you will be one of the left behinders and that after the big war between God and Satan, you will go to Hell along with Hitler and Darwin and Jerry Springer and the Jews.

Which made me pretty darn mad and I said, "Dottie, I hope you're not saying that you think the Jews will all go to Hell, because my Bible says they are the Chosen People!" and as soon as I said that, I remembered what it was I wanted to ask you.

I thought of it in the first place because of all this horribleness going on in Israel right now with all the rockets and little blown-up children and dust all over everything including the little children, which really never seems to stop does it? Ever since I was a little girl, it seems like it's one thing after another between those Jewish people and those Arab people. Which got me to thinking how if that is what it means to be God's Chosen People, I'd rather not ever be one, if you see what I mean. And besides, sometimes it seems like those Israelis are as bad as all of God's not chosen people, what with all the killing and suffering they cause. Not that the Arab people are any better about causing killing and suffering. But wouldn't you think that God's Chosen People would be a little better at not causing killing and suffering than God's not chosen people? Instead, they seem to be a lot better at it.

So anyhow, my question I couldn't remember before but do now is this. Bill, do you believe that the Jewish people are God's Chosen People?

Oh, and I'm sorry about Dottie saying you will go to Hell. But there's always a chance she might be wrong, you know.

--Anonymous from Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group

•••

Oh Dear Anon,

Why don't you ask me something easy, like "What is the meaning of life?" At least, if I tried to answer that one, I wouldn't piss off just about every living soul from here to Karachi. But what the hell, I'll give it a shot.

Do I believe the Jews are God's Chosen People? Well, Anon, if I believed in a god (which I don't), and if I believed that god was anything like the one in your pal Dottie's Bible (which I don't), then I suppose I could stretch my imagination enough to believe that out of all the tribes and clans and ethnicities and races and theologies on this planet, Dottie's god picked just one bunch of desert dwelling goat-herders to be his teacher's pets, as opposed to all those other folks who were every bit as sure they were special to their god (or gods).

So the answer is, No, I do not believe the Jews (or anybody else) are God's Chosen People.

But of course, even if the Israelites were God's Chosen People, that wouldn't make what's happening over there in the "Holy Lands"--(ha!)--any more acceptable, would it? I don't for a second think that the Israeli authorities don't have the right and obligation to protect their citizens. But if anyone should be ultra sensitive to the mass slaughter of civilians, or what it does to a people when they are denied everything from their homeland to their humanity, you'd think it would be the Jews.

I don't pretend to know how to end this crap. All I know is, since sticking our nose into it from the founding of Israel to the present, the United States has been drawn deeper and deeper into an abyss that neither side seems willing to find the bottom to. We have paid dearly for that involvement, and I don't just mean that some of the weapons blowing up Palestinian children in Gaza have an American taxpayer's signature on them.

No, I have little doubt that without our often-unexamined allegiance to Israel, without the military might--so much of which we supplied--with which they have devastated their enemies, and without the superstition among so many religious Americans that we must never question our commitment to one side of a never-ending conflict simply because they are "God's Chosen People," there would have never been a 9/11, nor all that followed. And the worst part is, I have a feeling it's just getting started.

Now, Anon, I advise you to stand back. I expect a truckload of angry will be rolling in any minute now.

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