Those prestigious publishers at Simon and Schuster selected All Saints Day to unleash the book world's latest attempt at mocking Christianity. It's called "The Last Testament, by God."
The author is David Javerbaum, a top writer for 11 years for "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, perhaps America's leading religion-hating TV network. Is it any surprise that the critics love it?
Publishers Weekly raves, "The Almighty opens up in this blithely blasphemous satire of monotheism." God, in this alleged autobiography, is "a complex, troubled Deity: vain, petulant, desperate for praise and burnt offerings, guiltily pensive in the after-wrath of unhinged smitings. Adherents of every Abrahamic faith will find plenty of hilarious, offensive manna for thought in these revelations." Kirkus Reviews bluntly adds, "Damned comical. Amen."
"Hilarious, offensive." What they mean is that it's hilarious because it's offensive.
Simon and Schuster's Executive Vice President and Publisher, Jonathan Karp announced the book by poking fun of the Jews. "We feel like we are the chosen publisher," Karp cracked to Entertainment Weekly. "A lot of writers are creative, but this writer is really creative." Karp was much more obsequious and reverent last fall in selling the last testament of Ted Kennedy, the posthumous memoir "True Compass." Perhaps it's because it's Kennedy, not just God.
Javerbaum's God is a doofus full of imperfections. In the beginning, God created the world so he could dominate someone. "In my humble opinion, thou canst hardly call thyself the LORD, if thou hast created no other beings to LORD it over," Javerbaum imagines. "I had a burning ambition to rule the world, but I knew such a world was not going to create itself; no fully formed planet was going to suddenly appear and say, `Here, LORD, take these 20 burnt offerings,' or `Here, LORD, take these 50 infidel heads,' or `Here, LORD, take these 200 years of religious warfare.'"
One of God's better qualities, apparently, is his strange loathing for the Word of God. The Bible condemns homosexuality, for example, but Javerbaum's God actually created "Adam and Steve" first. He created Adam to tend the Garden of Eden, but then when he grew lonely, "God" made for him "a hunk, unburdened by excess wisdom; ripped, and cut, and hung like unto a fig tree before the harvest; Yea, and a power bottom."
This apparently places the book in the "Humor" section.
In Chapter 14, Javerbaum's God adds the convenient smear that religious traditionalists are all secretly gay. "It is an undeniable fact that those clergymen harshest in their condemnation of gays and lesbians are often those struggling hardest against their own hidden urges; which is why they cannot even preach straight. It was certainly true in regard to the serpent in the Garden; and it has certainly been true of many other `men of God' in all three of my great religions who have spoken out against homosexuality."
Then the smear gets specific. God just declares outright that televangelist "Joel Osteen is gay." Our God doesn't actually accuse Osteen of having cheated on his wife of 24 years, Victoria. It's just that "in the secret recesses of his heart, Joel Osteen yearns for the tender touch of another man. This is subjective, and intangible, and lies beyond the bounds of libel laws." This ersatz Almighty protests that unlike the televangelists, "I am in no way homophobic."
In fact, to promote the book, Javerbaum and Co. created a cartoon "It Getteth Better" video for gay youth in which God denounces conservative priests and other ministers as "wack peeps" and "straight-up haters." He mocks the Bible as filled with stupid passages. He declares, "It's not that 10 percent of thee came out defective; it's that I'm 10 percent gay. Fifteen percent whenever I see Ryan Reynolds." He concludes "Let me say Amen, or rather Ah, gay men," and then winks.
The last time Javerbaum had this much fun mocking religious people was writing songs for the 2008 Stephen Colbert "Christmas special." He had country singer Toby Keith proclaiming when the War on Christmas ends, liberals are going to be beheaded. Keith sang, "You can call me un-Christian, but that's not true / Buddy, I've got a present for you." Then, the audience saw a house exploding, and Santa and two little kids laughing at the violence.
Once you've mocked Santa Claus as a murderous psycho, taking a whack at God is a no-brainer. Anyone who actually believed in God or the apparently archaic concept of blasphemy wouldn't be so eager to take the Lord's name in vain with such gleeful abandon. Such is the dreadful state of our top publishing houses and television networks.
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