Is the Pope a Catholic?

Pope Francis and Pope Benedict. Getty Images

Yes, indeed he is. And I think he owes us all an apology.

In fact, the Church has apologized. In the year of our Lord 2000, His Holiness Pope Paul II begged forgiveness for, among some other things, the crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of the Jewish people, and injustice towards women, that’s half the human race, and the forced conversion of indigenous peoples, especially in South America, the African slave trade, the admission that Galileo was right, and for silence during Hitler’s Final Solution. And let us not forget the abomination that is known as limbo. A place where unbaptized babies were sent when they died.

And it doesn’t end there. There have been regrets, a few, for the rape and torture of orphans and other children in church-run schools in almost every country on Earth.

Am I angry? You bet I am. The Church should be roundly condemned for the mayhem it has perpetrated on the human race. Its walls should crumble and fall to the ground.

As far as “Ratso” Ratzinger is concerned, it is a matter of profound indifference to me whether he lives or dies.

Reverend Billy Bob Weatherspoon

Of the Space Chapel of Life

Photo credit: Scott Norsworthy/Google Images

Meet the Reverend!

Lightghts up to dim. There are two chairs located center stage. Rev. Billy and Jimmy Joe Starter are sitting in the chairs in silhouette.)

ANNOUNCER: (Disembodied voice) Good evening, ladies, and gentlemen, and welcome to MEET THE REVEREND!  A thirty-minute question and answer show where issues of national importance are discussed with prominent individuals from our society and the world at large.

Our guest this evening will be former president, Jimmy Joe Starter from Monkey’s Eyebrows, Kentucky…and to start the questioning will be the host of our show- Reverend Billy Bob Weatherspoon of the Space Chapel of Life.

Reverend Billy…

(Lights up full)

REV. BILLY: (Rises from his chair and crosses down center to address the audience directly) Thank you, Fred. Friends, I want to welcome y’all here to my new weekly show, MEET THE REVEREND! I’m sure y’all are going to enjoy it. I know I am. And be sure to tell all your friends and relatives to tune in too and just keep those contributions rolling in…cause ya know, it cost so much money to appear on TV and it cost so much money to spread the word…and friends you all know how much I like to spread the word.

And now…I’d like to welcome our guest, President Jimmy Joe Starter! (Crosse back to centers and resumes sitting across from Jimmy Joe Starter).

President Starter…

JIMMY JOE: Please…call me Jimmy Joe.

REV. BILLY: Why I’d be happy to Jimmy Joe…and you can call me Rev. Billy.

JIMMY JOE: Okay Reverend Billy. Ya know, I’ve got a brother named Billy. He’s kind of the black sheep of the family. Of course, when we were growing up back in Monkey’s Eyebrows, we always used to call him the goat. You know Billy Goat…that’s because he’d eat anything he’d put his hands on. I’d be going, “Now Billy, don’t be going putting your hand on that. Well, as you can imagine it got pretty embarrassing sometimes. (Big smile)

REV. BILLY: Monkey’s Eyebrows…Now that’s a strange name for a town. I wonder…I wonder if you could shed some light on that for us, Jimy Joe. Just why do they call your town Monkey’s Eyebrows?

JIMMY JOE: (Blank stare) Ya know…I don’t rightly know…but I’ll be glad to look that up for you and get back to you sometime next week.

REV. BILLY: No, that won’t be necessary Jimmy Joe. Now, Jimmy Joe, what would you say was the biggest surprise of your administration? Was it anything as surprising as the Iran/Contra affair or Ollie North and Fawn Hill? Or what about the current fiasco with Donald Trump and the Big Lie? Not to Mention January 6th?

JIMMY JOE: Well, Billy, I’d say the biggest surprise was that the job was going to be as hard as it turned out to be. Ya know, when I first took office back in ’76, 1976, not 1776, (Big Smile) I thought the presidency was going to be a snap, but I soon learned that it was going to be more of a Zbigniew Brezenski. Then things sort of went on the Fritz after I gave America the Lance-thank God for Vance- he was a real credit to the arms race. So, I’d have to say that my biggest surprise was that it was going to be so hard.

REV. BILLY: Have there been any other surprises?

JIMMY JOE: Well, yes. Another surprise was that there were so many bathrooms in the Whitehouse.

REV. BILLY: Bathrooms?

JIMMY JOE: Yes, Billy. There are some 46 of them, and all of them are inside too! I never did get around to using all of them, but I did commission a white paper…or was that toilet paper… No, it was a white paper, on how one could accomplish this task during one administration. I’ll be glad to get back to you later with the results of that study if you like.

REV. BILLY: No, that won’t be necessary. Tell me, Jimmy Joe, what do you think of the current situation in Ukraine with the Russian invasion and all in light of your own SALT II Treaty which you negotiated with the Ruskies?

JIMMY JOE: Yes…I’m proud of my record on SALT. The most significant part of that agreement was to trade Amarillo, Texas for Leningrad in the event of a first strike situation involving nuclear weapons.

REV BILLY: Would you gentlemen have seriously considered offering a Russian an Amarillo?

JIMMY JOE: Yes…We believed that using this small Texas town as a bargaining chip would be in the best interest of the country.

REV. BILLY: Do you hold out any hopes of stopping or at least curbing nuclear proliferation?

JIMMY JOE: Yes…What I plan to do is…

REV. BILLY (interrupting) Before you answer that question, let me break way for a message of vital importance…

(WINGES SERAPHS COMMERCIAL. Crosses stage right to a prop table where the book is staged. Light fades on center stage as a spot comes up on Reverend Billy at the table where he delivers his commercial speech)

REV: BILLY: Hello friends. Rev. Billy Bob Weatherspoon here for the Space Chapel of Life…

Ya know…just how many times have ya wondered how many angels could dance on the top of a Bic Butane Lighter?

Have ya ever wondered where ya could find a Guardian Angel when ya really needed one?

And what about Charlies Angels?

…The answers to these and many more important questions may be found in my latest book—


This book is available in both the hard and soft editions. Also, available is the leather-bound edition which comes suspended from a chain.

So ya don’t forget, send now to


BOX 666



$9.96 TAPES

And now, back to the show…

(Crosses back to the center and resumes sitting across from Jimmy Joe Starter. Light fades out at right and comes up center).

Okay, Jimmy Joe, now we can continue the fascinating conversation about the wonderful world of weapons.

JIMMY JOE: Yes, as I was saying, I support the introduction of legislation by congress that would make it a federal crime to own a nuclear weapon if you are a convicted felon, drug addict, or legally insane. Also, we hope to register all nuclear weapons. In this way, we will know who has them and we will have additional control over who gets them.

In addition, I am proposing an outright ban on the most insidious nuclear device of them all, the Saturday Night Special. These small, concealable radiation-enhanced devices are capable of taking out small targets such as single-family dwellings with little or no blast damage to the surrounding area. These weapons are, however, a very “dirty weapon,” spreading deadly radiation for many square blocks killing all life forms within the size of oh, say, Fort Knox. These devices would make the riots of the 60s look like pep rallies. (Big smile.)

REV. BILLY: Well, Jimmy Joe, you certainly paint a grim picture. What are your feelings about the peaceful use of nuclear energy, say as an alternative energy source?

JIMMY JOE: Well, Billy…I feel that nuclear power will most likely be the energy source of the future, along with solar power and wind. Eventually, we will run out of coal. We are going to run out of oil, but according to leading experts, we won’t run out of matter for several thousand years…and being a nuclear physicist myself, I ain’t just whistling Dixie (Big Smile).  

REV. BILLY: As a scientist, I wonder if you could comment on the recent UFO controversy.

Jimmy Joe: Yes, Billy, I have myself, seen a UFO…it was a close encounter of the weird kind.

Rev. Billy: You have??!! Well, Jimmy Joe…that’s truly an amazing statement. Would you care to elaborate?

JIMMY JOE: Sure. You see, I was on my farm back in Kentucky, plowing a field on a tractor when all of a sudden, a shadow fell over me and I looked up and there was this strange craft hovering overhead.

REV. BILLY: Wow! Was it big?

JIMMY JOE? Big? I’ll say!

REV. BILLY: Well, how big was it?

Jimmy Joe: It was big I tell ya! (Starts gesturing with his hands and arms) It was a hunnert foot, by a hunnert foot, by a hunnert foot, you know BIG!

REV. BILLY: (Interrupts for a commercial): Excuse me Jimmy Joe, but we need to fit in a break.

(YOU TOO CAN BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER COMMERCIAL. Rev Billy crosses to the prop table again to deliver the net commercial. Light fade center and come up on the table).

Friends! You too can become an ordained minister! Through the special powers invested in me…you can become an ordained minister in the Space Chapel of Life – think of it friends – for only $6.95 you can save souls – perform miracles –  perform marriages – perform funeral services – and perhaps the best advantage of all – tax-exempt status – That’s right folks, you heard it here tax-exempt status! – so ya don’t forget, send $6.95 today for your credentials to: Space Chapel of Life, Box 666,  in care of this Television station – Thank you so much!

(Crosses back center and resumes interview. Lights fade at the table and come up at center.)

…and now, please continue on with this alleged story about beings from outer space.

JIMMY JOE: Well like I was saying, there I was out there on God’s little acre, plowing my fields and minding my own business when there appeared up in the sky a giant alien spacecraft. It was just hovering overhead, and it let out a slight humming noise, and all of a sudden it emitted a beam of light and the light fell over me and bathed my entire body and the next thing I knew I was being pulled off my tractor up into that beam of light and heading towards the spacecraft… that’s the last thing I remember until the next day when I was returned to earth and there I was, as naked a Jaybird in my ‘backer field, singin’ my fool head off!

REV. BILLY: Yes, well isn’t that special. Well, Jimmy Joe, we are just about out of time, here, and as you know, time is money. I would however like to ask you just one more two-part question. Number one, are you really a born-again Christian? And part two, have you ever really had lust in your heart?

JIMMY JOE: Well Billy, I don’t really feel that these two are mutually exclusive – In answer to your first question. Yes, I am a Born-again Christian; and in answer to your second question, yes, I have had lust in my heart…but it was lust for another Christian.

REV. BILLY: Well, there you have it, friends! Right from the former president’s own mouth. I’d like to thank President Starter for taking time out of his busy schedule to be with us tonight, and I’d like to invite all of you to tune in next week to another exciting episode of, MEET THE REVEREND! My next week’s guest will be that silly old buffoon and darling of the media, Attorney Michael Cohen! Watch him drop a dime on his former boss, Donald J. Trump!

(Jimmy Joe exits. Rev. Billy crosses down center).

And now, my friends, comes a very special part of our show, the hour of power. During this period of the show, I would like to take a few moments to demonstrate the power of our Lord and say a few words and lay a few hands.

(Lights dim)

Announcer: And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Reverend Billy Bob Weatherspoon, in all his magnificent glory, preaching to you all on the word of the Lord coming to you straight from our studios here in the Space Chapel of Life. Reverend Billy!

(Lights up full)

REV.BILLY: Good evening, friends – This is Rev. Billy Bob Weatherspoon here and I want to welcome you all here to Space Chapel. It’s so good to see ya! I’m so glad ya could make it out this evening. Ya know, we are all brothers and sisters on this spaceship we call mother earth, hurtling through space at thousands of miles an hour – why, when you think about it, it’s quite a miracle. It’s a miracle we don’t all fall off!

Now, my friends, we are gathered here this evening to worship Jesus – Oh Sweet Jesus – praise the Lord! But I need your help.

Now, give me a “Praise the Lord!”

(Pause for the response)

Now give me a “Hallelujah!”

(Pause for the response)

Now give me an “Amen, brother!”

That’s wonderful! God is with us here tonight! Can you feel him my friends? Can you feel the power of the Lord?

Now, my friends, I’ve got so much to tell ya! I’ve got so much to tellya! I’m going to tell you about communism. It’s everywhere!

I’m, going to tell ya about fascism. It’s everywhere!

And friends, the worst evil of all, Socialism!  Why, I’d rather be dead, than red!

Wouldn’t you?

And I’m going to tell ya bout Satan. Satan is an all-pervading evil force that lives right here in our very midst. It’s Satan that makes you go out on Saturday night and sow your wild oats. It’s Satan that makes ya come to church on Sunday morning and pray for crop failure. It’s Satan that makes us tell lies. Satan is the master of lies. And it is Satan that leads us into temptation. We have to tell Satan to get behind us. Say, “Get behind me Satan! Get Behind me Satan!” Why, I believe that is Satan behind me right now…He’s a sneaky little devil! He will creep up on ya when you least suspect it.

But mostly, I want to tell ya about our Sweet Jesus – and after the service is over, I’m going to ask you all to come forward and accept Jesus as your personal savior.

But before that, my favorite part of our service – We are going to play a little game that I think you will enjoy. It’s called “Stump the Choir.”

If any of you in the congregation can name a hymn our choir cannot sing, then you are going to win dinner for four at the Last Supper. Judas his Seven Piece of Silver will be playing for your listening enjoyment.

Now, it’s time for a miracle – Praise the Lord! I feel the power of the lord coursing through my body. Who needs a miracle? Bring me you afflicted, bring me your sick, bring me your wounded. Let the Blood of Jesus make you whole again. Who needs the hand of the Lord? Who needs to be healed? Don’t be shy – come forward.

(Someone from the audience, the actor who played Jimmy Joe Starter, stumbles forward with his arms extended)

BLIND MAN: Rev. Billy! Rev. Billy! Can you help me? I cant’ see! I’ve been blind since birth!

REV. BILLY: Why yes! Come on up her young man! (Speaking in tongues, waving his arms about, placing his hand on the blind man’s shoulder.). Son, do you feel the power of the Lord? Do feel the power?

BLIND MAN: (Nods his assent)

REV. BILLY: There are none so blind as those who will not see! (Places his hand on the Blind man’s forehead. Pushes him away and throws his hands into the air)

BLIND MAN: (Drops his cane) I can see! I can see! It’s a miracle! (Runs off stage)

REV BILLY: All right young man. Go and sin no more. And while you are at it, go up to the bar and bring me back a drink. That was quite a miracle!

I’d like to finish tonight by singing along with the choir an old favorite of mine, “Save a Place in the Light Bulb For me.” This song has a lot of meaning to me. And while we sing along, I would like to ask for your generous contributions to the Space Chapel of Life so that we can continue our important work. Please be generous my friends, please be generous! And now, like I said,  “Save a place in the light Bulb for Me.”

(The actor who played the Blind man now comes on stage to a microphone and plays acoustic guitar and sings the song: “Save a place in the Light Bulb for Me.”)

SINGER: (Singing) Save A SPACE IN THE Lightbulb For Me (Lyrics by Daniel Buddha Hildenbrandt)

Leave me room for my couch and tv

Well don’t worry about the weather

Just as long as we’re together

Save a space in the lightbulb for me

Weather started getting rough

Went to turn the gas on

Lit a match, stuck it in the hatch

Blew me to Saskatchawan

Save A SPACE IN THE Lightbulb for me

Leave me room for my couch and tv

Well don’t worry about the weather

Just as long as we’re together

Save a space in the lightbulb for me

Sheila’s such a pretty girl

Sure knows how to use it

If I get a hold of what she’s got

I’m afraid I might abuse it

Save A SPACE IN THE Lightbulb for me

Leave me room for my couch and tv

Well don’t worry about the weather

Just as long as we’re together

Save a space in the lightbulb

Don’t forget the right bulb

Save a space in the lightbulb for me

REV. Billy: This concludes this evening’s service…Thank you very much and may God bless!

(Lights fade to black.)



Photo by the author

There is so much going on these days that one feels whipsawed by the turn of events. While I don’t comment on everything, even though it is tempting, I feel that I would be remiss not to comment on the recent savage stabbing of author Salman Rushdie. In 1989 Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the famed author for alleged apostasy in his newly released book, “The Satanic Verses.”  A fatwa is a sentence of death and a bounty of several million dollars was placed on Rushdie’s head. I protested then and I protest now, 33 years later. Also involved in the fatwa was anyone associated with the book including editors and publishers. At the time bookstores were afraid to display Rushdie’s books in their store windows. I called them out on their cowardice. I have my copy proudly displayed on my main bookcase in the living room of my home alongside my other “good” books.

To say this was a barbarous act of cowardice on the part of the would-be assassin would be an understatement. It deals a powerful blow to the right of free expression and free speech. It is anathema to our way of life in the free world and puts a chill in the air of artistic freedom. It demonstrates the complete absurdity and insanity of religious fanaticism. I hasten to add that it is a perversion of Islam and does not represent the mainstream which is by far more tolerant.  

I believe in freedom of religion, and I respect everyone’s right to believe what they choose. But you don’t have the right to impose your belief on me or anyone else. You certainly don’t have the right to kill me if I don’t agree with you.

It looks like Mr. Rushie is going to pull through despite his many injuries. For that, I am very grateful and wish him the best and a speedy recovery, although there will be lasting effects from his injuries including the probable loss of an eye.

I condemn this senseless act of violence in the strongest possible way, and I trust his assailant will be held fully accountable. Meanwhile, “The Satanic Verses” is soaring on the charts.

Neil Gorsuch is a big fat liar

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Neil Gorsuch is a big fat liar and the Case of the Praying High School Coach was wrongly decided.

The case was a significant test of how the court balances free speech and religious liberty against the establishment clause, with the court increasingly giving more weight to the former. In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took issue with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s portrayal of the facts in the majority opinion; She said the opinion “misconstrues the facts” regarding whether then-Bremerton (Washington) High School football coach Joseph Kennedy’s prayers were “quiet” and “private.”

Gorsuch began his opinion by stating:

“Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks. Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters. He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway.”

Gorsuch later writes that the evidence makes clear “that Mr. Kennedy has demonstrated that his speech was private speech, not government speech.”

Sotomayor said this was, in fact, a misrepresentation:

“To the degree the court portrays petitioner Joseph Kennedy’s prayers as private and quiet, it misconstrues the facts. The record reveals that Kennedy had a long-standing practice of conducting demonstrative prayers on the 50-yard line of the football field. Kennedy consistently invited others to join his prayers and for years led student-athletes in prayer at the same time and location. The court ignores this history. The court also ignores the severe disruption to school events caused by Kennedy’s conduct.”

Essentially, there is a lengthy, years-long history in this case that includes suggestions that players might have felt compelled to participate. Sotomayor argues that this was important in determining whether Kennedy’s conduct violated the separation of church and state, even after he was issued warnings and his players no longer participated.

In other words, Gorsuch lied. this is not surprising as we have other liars on the supreme court. Those who lied their way onto the court, saying at their confirmation hearings before Congress that Roe was settled law.

The credibility of the court is at an all-time low and confidence is waning.

Full disclosure: I attended Bremerton (Washington) High school when I was 14 years old. This was at a time when I was losing my religion. I clearly remember being appalled and offended by the religious activity taking place at the High School.

Fields of Blood

I am reading this new book by Karen Armstrong called, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. It is really putting a lot of things into perspective for me. Turns out, until recently, religion and statehood were completely intertwined. State violence has been the order of the day since the beginning of civilization.  Nationalism and religion went hand in hand and violence was completely justified as a way of survival by the ruling elite who quite often were the priests and the prelates.


Here is a quote from the book which I quite like.

We are flawed creatures with violent hearts that long for peace.