While waiting for the airport shuttle to arrive at my hotel in Dallas this week, I was enjoying a Lone Star waffle and sipping my coffee in the lobby/cafe across from two older gentlemen rambling on and on about Muslims and terrorists and Muslims and abortion and Muslims, and well… you get the idea. I’ll do my best to paraphrase what was actually a lengthy discussion that began when an image of President Obama appeared on the TV screen above the juice machine.
“Son of a… I still can’t believe my daughter helped elect that pedophile worshipping raghead to the White House,” a mustached man blurted out with a volume and trajectory that was never meant to stay at their table. His golf hat wearing companion threw up his hands in considerable disgust as if to say, “I know, I know – what’s the world coming to?”
Having been witness to the last five minutes of their charming conversation, I wasn’t at all shocked by such a seemingly escalated turn of phrase. Instead, I mustered up enough pre-sunrise energy to reply from across the room with an air of innocent confusion, “Pedophile worshipper?” Bait thrown.
The man with a perfectly shaped rectangular snow-white mustache clarified, “Barry’s beloved Mahatma [sic] took his wife when she was only 5 years old.”
“It’s just disgusting,” the other chimed in out loud with what I’d come to learn was his patented hand gesture of unhappiness.
“I’m assuming you’re referring to Muhammad,” I asked, my pronunciation comedically clear, “and Aisha? Not Gandhi, right?”
The mustached man shrugged and rolled his eyes a bit, “Yeah, whatever.”
“And you, gentlemen?” I asked across the empty room. “Am I to assume that y’all are atheists?”
“Heavens, no, sir” the geriatric golfer replied. “We’re god fearing Christians,” the other added. Bait set.
“Oh, so you worship an intergalactic sex trafficker?” I asked with just enough of a hint of bravado to let the gentlemen know they were being challenged to a duel.
“Excuse me, son,” one replied curtly, clearly not asking a question, clearly knowing that I’m old enough to not likely appreciate being referred to as “son”.
“I mean, you do read your Bibles, don’t you?” I asked.
“I begin and end every day with the Word of the Lord,” asserted the mustached man, accompanied by righteous nods of agreement from his cohort. Duel accepted.
Hedging my bets, knowing that I’d look like a complete jerk in a hotel cafe if I was wrong, I called the man’s bluff, “Good for you, which translation?” I pointed to the man’s luggage, making a reaching gesture. “May I borrow it for a moment to read something?”
“I don’t, I, uh…” he stammered, as if trying to remember where he may have left his Good Book.
“No worries, I have one right here – Numbers 31” I pulled out my phone, never really intending to read an entire chapter in a hotel lobby. “You guys are fans of Moses, right? The burning bush, parting the red sea, the ten commandments, et cetera? He’s sort of the central prophet of the Old Testament, the ‘let my people go’ hero, right?”
They both shrugged in skeptical agreement, looking as if they had stumbled upon a bit of street magic that intrigued them, but might also turn them gay. “Careful, son,” Mr. Mustache half-invited half-warned me to proceed.
Before moving on, I felt it was probably a good time to find common ground, friendly asking, “What I mean is that we can agree that Moses was an extremely faithful servant to God, right? He did whatever God commanded, right?”
I could see them conjuring up images Charlton Heston for affirmation as they relaxed, now more confident with their answer, nodding somewhat cautiously, “Yeah, sure. Of course.” Let the games begin.
“So then, in Numbers 31 when God commands Moses to kill all of the Midianites, he does what he’s told, right?” I could tell this was likely the first time they had heard the word Midianite. “Actually, Moses spared all the women, and that’s when God who specifically told Moses to kill all the women too – except for the young virgins, right? Come on, guys – you know this story, right?”
“Of course, what good would it do to kill innocent girls?” the golfer replied. “By God’s mercy, he saved the girls just like he saved all of us. What’s your point?”
“Hmm… actually, they must have skipped this story in your Bibles,” I joked. “God actually trafficked these young virgins – stealing the girls from one tribe, forcing the child brides into marriages with the soldiers, trading as sex slaves with other tribes, selling them on the open market. I mean, that is the definition of sex trafficking, right?”
“You’d best stop right there, son,” the man with the mustache half-shouted, slapping his hand on the table with a force that was much more aggressive than I was comfortable with before finishing my first cup of coffee for the day. “My God™ has never done any such thing!”
“Okay, okay – I’m sorry, guys,” I tried to calm them, “you’re right. Your God didn’t do the trafficking himself.” I paused for effect before starting again, “But, that’s just because He couldn’t be seen by humans. It’s hard to take the money from your customers when your customer can’t see who to pay. So God ordered others to be the front men for His little crime ring, Moses and the priest Eleazar – intergalactic sex traffickers for God.”
“Alright, that’s enough,” one of them said. “I’ve had quite enough this blashphemy.”
“But, I thought you guys were Christians? Why wouldn’t you want to talk about the Bible? You said you read your Bible every day.”
“This bullshit isn’t in any Bible I’ve ever opened,” he answered. “We’re done here.”
“Oh, please, please,” I tried to calm again, “relax – you were absolutely right! God saved those virgins, alright. It’s right there in the Bible, Numbers 31. The best part where God commands Moses to save 32 of the virgins just for Himself! Imagine – the pick of the littler, cream of the crop!”
“You’d better zip it, son. I’ve had enough of your lies!” shouted the now livid mustached man as he stood up and started gathering his belongings. “You know what’s wrong with this country? It’s miserable hate-filled pukes like you ruining it for the rest of us.”
“Hey, now…” I put my hands up in a gesture of mock surrender, but really prepping to slap a fist away. “Don’t blame me, it’s in the Bible. No hard feelings, I wish you guys the best. May the next president worship and fear the same intergalactic woman killing sex trafficker that you do.”
“God damn it,” the golfer shouted, “now that’s about enough of this nonsense!”
“Careful my friend, though shall not take the Lord’s name in vain, Exodus 20:7,” I replied with an admittedly petty twinkle in my eye. “Plus, we didn’t even get to the fun part. According to Jesus’s own words, ‘Before Abraham, I am’ and ‘The father and I are one,’ Jesus is God, making Jesus himself the biggest intergalactic sex trafficker of all time. Wait a second, what exactly did Jesus do with these 32 virgins?” I paused for dramatic effect to let the men’s imaginations fill in the pieces.
After an awkward (red-faced)staring contest, the men turned to stomp past the front desk clerk, “Call us a cab,” the golfer barked at the clerk.
“I’d be happy to, sir,” the desk clerk offered, “but the shuttle will be here any moment.”
“Just call us a god damned cab!” The man stormed out through the automatic doors to the portico, pacing back and forth, pausing intermittently only to wag his finger through the glass.
“Making friends?” the clerk half whispered in my direction.
“Apparently the thought of sharing a free airport shuttle with someone who reads the Bible is just too much for some people.” I answered with an “awe shucks” shrug.
Indeed, nothing like a little Bible story to ruin a Christian’s day, eh? If I had one on me, I would have given them a copy of the following illustration from our second book to help with their daily studies. In short, The Lord wasn’t a fan of the Midianites, so he told Moses to command his army to slaughter all of them. Well, almost all of them…
Much like the modern day Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, Moses’ army did as God told them (according to Moses, of course). They took the virgins for themselves, to do with as they pleased – turning them into forced brides, sex slaves, or to sell on the black market (back then – the open market). Interestingly, God never disciplined Moses or even mentioned the horrible actions against women and children. Instead, the story goes on to explain how the Lord made a deal with Moses to receive an offering of the spoils of war through Eleazar the priest. In the end, 32,000 virgins were captured and divided with the rest of the livestock – 16,000 of the girls were given to the soldiers while the Lord demanded 32 virgins for… Himself!
Don’t blame us, folks – it’s in the Bible!
This illustration and commentary can be found in Vol #2.
NOTE: Please don’t hold Texas responsible for these travelers. I’m pretty sure their accents placed them closer to the Alabama/Georgia border.