The Back Page

What Would Buddha Do?

Earlier this year, in response to the request of the Christian evangelical group March for Jesus, Governor Bush proclaimed June 10 “Jesus Day” in Texas. “Throughout the world,” declared the Governor, “people of all religions recognize Jesus Christ as an example of love, compassion, sacrifice and service.” The Governor called on Texans to honor Jesus by “performing good works,” by “volunteering their time, energy or resources to helping others.”

In the words of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, “Isn’t that special?”

Alas, those party poopers also known as secular humanists raised a predictable stink. “With the exception of Islam,” religious scholar Bruce Lincoln told The New York Times, “all the major religions emerged before Christianity, so there is no place for Jesus in their original foundations and scriptures.” In an article for, Lincoln condemned the Jesus proclamation’s “mock-inclusiveness,” and Bush’s official disregard of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. “Indeed,” he wrote, “it is striking to observe how someone so attentive to the Second Amendment can be so contemptuous of the First.”

Those old fogies at The New Republic even chimed in, arguing that believing Christians should be insulted by “Jesus Day,” because in pandering their God’s name in such a trivial way, “the tribune of the Republicans did not glorify Jesus, he cheapened Jesus.”

Oh, pooh.

As any Pharisee with a hymn on his lips and a poll result in his heart can see, the real problem with Jesus Day is not too much sanctimony, but too little – not too many Gods, but too few. In this ecumenical spirit, The Back Page has recommended to the Governor’s office (see Footnote) that Dubya get off his knees and start proclaiming: Krishna Karnival, Siddhartha Saturday, AllahDay Holiday, Have It Yahweh Day, and – for the truly devout Texas pagan – Bevo’s Birthday Bacchanal. There are Gods enough to fill proclamations for the infinite future.

And if some still skeptical folks just can’t get jiggy with one or more Gods, we’ve got your Holy Day, too: the annual Texas No Pray, No Play Day.

Now there’s Multiculturalism with a Purpose.

Footnote: We regret to report that despite our entreaties, the Governor’s office is so far unenthusiastic. We think it’s the same problem that defeated Poppy: the lack of a “vision thing.”

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Published at 12:00 am CST