7 months ago

Comfortable Madness First PDF 4-13-18

No God Religion and

No God Religion and government. Faith and rules. A Christian group wanted to start a prayer club. Mr. Hamlett fought it. “The first amendment gives us freedom from religion,” he said in class. His face was narrow and his teeth crooked. He ranted for half the class. “I learned in Vietnam,” he said, “there was no God.” None of us said anything. Mr. Hamlett taught from the top down. He said what he wanted, and we listened. None of us took notes. There was nothing so important that we needed to remind ourselves. “The idea of Jesus is good,” he said, “but the dogma and doctrine have spoiled the message.” Sunlight turned the room gold and warm. It was one of those cruel spring days where the world looked bright and balmy. People dressed in shorts and tees. They went outside, and the cold mountain winds cut straight through their flesh. “I am a God-fearing man,” Mr. Hamlett said. “I fear that if there is a God, He’s determined to punish us into oblivion.” Coy raised his hand. Mr. Hamlett refused to see it for a moment. “I have a question,” Coy said. Mr. Hamlett sighed. “Mr. Henderson,” he said. “Do you believe in love?” Coy asked. “Mr. Henderson,” Mr. Hamlett said. “No,” Coy said. “Really.” Sucking in air, Mr. Hamlett nodded. “Yes,” he said. “I believe in love.” “How can there be love without God?” Coy asked. “Mr. Henderson,” Mr. Hamlett said, “this is not a religion class.”

“You’re talking religion,” Coy said. “I’m talking about philosophy and government.” “This country was founded to be a Christian country,” Coy said. “You have to accept that.” Mr. Hamlett’s face turned a fierce florid color like sweet peas or old blood. “Without God,” Coy said. “There is no love.” “Love,” Mr. Hamlett said, “is a human trait.” “So is God,” Coy said. Mr. Hamlett’s teeth squealed against each other. Murmurs floated like fluff through the room. “If you love God,” Coy said, “he loves you.” “Your God is hateful at best,” Mr. Hamlett said. “God only hates sinners,” Coy said. “Where does your God get off telling us what is sin, and what is virtue?” Mr. Hamlett demanded. “He’s God,” Coy said. “He makes the rules.” “Not in my classroom,” Mr. Hamlett said.