The old bloke is certainly all over the news, isn’t he? Hope all of you read Donna Brazile’s column this morning, “Belief, as in believing in God, can be a tricky thing.One’s person’s faith is another persons’ heresy.  Some people proclaim no faith but still are strong believers. While others believe they have all the answers…” She writes simply, surely, and well and always on interesting subjects. She’s one of my favorite columnists  Her title this morning on the forum page is Why should  there be a religious test for election to public office? It caught my eye. I’ve never understood the concept of a political god, it always sounded a bit beneath him. And, of course, I am always troubled with the gender. The patriarchal god makes me want to vomit. In our country today, he is owned outright by the Republican Party which is patriarchal to the core.

On a personal note, I used to wonder why I am so lucky to have no religious hangups, but if all of us are the product of our past- I think we are- then we can turn back the clock and find the reason.

I had a father I adored. Very handsome. He looked like Clark Gable. Very intelligent. Very wise. He strung none of the rocks of sin, guilt, and fear around my neck and he taught me I could do anything a boy could do. He solved so many of my childhood problems I lived in awe of him.

I remember once, out in the cold woods, I found a half dead cat with its head stuck in an empty can of dog food. I tried to yank its head out but couldn’t. The poor little thing was so weak it couldn’t fight back. No claws to scratch me with. it was a Saturday and I knew my father was home, so I grabbed the wretched thing and raced back. My father was in the kitchen sipping a glass of milk, he didn’t drink. He took one look at me and the cat, grabbed the cat  and hung it can-side up on a wind- up wall can opener. The cat took a deep breath, the stinky suction wafted, leaped from my father’s arms and streaked out the door. Now come on, wasn’t that godlike? It was godlike enough for me.

There were no Bibles or holy books in our house but the shelves were filled with books. He bought me books about animals. He introduced me to  Mowgli and Shere Khan and Rikki Tikkie-Tavi and Bagheera. They were the animals in Rudyard Kipling’s Garden of Eden, the only Garden of Eden I was taught about, and, as I grew up his stories filled me with delight.

‘Witty, profound, acerbic, and occasionally savage, Kipling’s poetry can be bother tender and deeply moving.” My father opened up these dimensions and, oddly enough, both Bill and I shared this love, too.

So, the point is: I had a real god the father in my childhood. I didn’t need a make-believe one in the sky.


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