By Peter Chow
Tasked with weighing the nomination of Hampton Dellinger to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, Louisiana’s Republican Senator John Kennedy had an important question for the nominee during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing.
“Do you believe in God?” asked Kennedy.
You will not be surprised to learn that the impetus for Kennedy’s question was abortion, and specifically that Dellinger had made statements blaming Republicans for anti-abortion laws.
“Did it ever occur to you that some people may base their position on abortion on their faith?” the Louisiana Lamprey continued.
The world’s second-worst Kennedy (after anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) has clearly scored a rhetorical point on this one!
Surely few legal minds would ever be aware that Republicanism’s “some people” cite their own personal faith as the reason American laws must restrict the rights of everyone else in the country.
This argument has never before come up, and Hampton Dellinger must feel like a real heel right now for not understanding that John Kennedy and other hard-right conservatives aren’t rewriting large portions of American law simply to be jerks.
They are doing it because God Himself insists the rest of you follow His will as interpreted by slack-jawed yokels taking precious time between peddling anti-vaccine and insurrection-justifying conspiracy theories to inform you, sitting there, that your version of eternity is unquestionably wrong and theirs is unquestionably right.
John Kennedy may be a goddamn senator, but he is a member of the Clown Caucus, a conservative whose goals inside the Capitol building are primarily to unravel the discourse into a series of belligerent snippets aimed at nothing in particular.
John Kennedy is Jim Jordan, if Jim Jordan’s anger management issues hadn’t rendered him a twitching lump of human spite.
Do not begin giving a shit about what John Kennedy says now, or you will never get to the end of it.
Instead, let’s take this opportunity to give advice on how to answer Kennedy’s question, presuming you were a person who wanted to.
Here are some possible responses to the John Kennedy query: “Do you believe in God?”
– “Not only do I believe in God, I talk to Him regularly. He says He doesn’t like you and if you don’t stop talking He’s going to fill your lungs with frogs and your stomach with pet store goldfish.”
– “Of course I do, He’s right over there. What’s that? Oh, He says that only people who truly follow His teachings can see Him.”
– “Depends. Dylan or Springsteen?”
– “Senator, look around. Look at this room, and the people within it. Do you really believe that this cave of inequity and perversion, held within slave-built walls, on a continent stripped bare of its inhabitants by intentional plague, on a molten rock spinning in an endless void could be the product of a caring and omnipotent being? The soul is a construct intended to calm the fears of children; as the stuff of the universe roils, burns, and decays, even eternity itself will fall.”
If you are on the other side of the exchange, feel free to mix things up by asking other, similarly probing questions:
– “If you could choose between being invisible and returning in time to your childhood, which choice do you think would result in you eating a greater number of pizza rolls?”
– “Which Jolly Rancher flavors so mismatch their names as to amount to public fraud, and what does the Department of Justice intend to do about it?”
– “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Why? And if so, would that fall under the Justice Department’s jurisdiction or is that more of a state-by-state thing?”
– “If Sally leaves on a train traveling 60 miles per hour east and Jack leaves on a different train traveling 32 miles per hour north, how many centuries will it take for Congress to fund passenger high-speed rail lines capable of the travel rates regularly achieved in nations with even marginally more competent governments?”
We can all assure Kennedy that there is absolutely nobody left in the United States of America who is not keenly aware that conservative Republicans demand control of every last woman’s uterus because, they say, That Is What God Demands.
Not a single person is confused on this point.
We are all painfully aware that every time a hurricane hits, it is because Republican God is angry about gay people or the lack of corporate business deductions.
We all recognize that fires and droughts and lungs filled with frogs have nothing to do with mankind’s own actions, but are because Republican God prefers to send out warnings in the most abstract and death-dealing ways possible, rather than taking out an ad in The New York Times like any other infinitely wealthy omnipresent being might.
We are probably beyond the point at which we can even hope for responsible government.
Whether for technological reasons or ideological ones, the elevation of grand and spectacular buffoonery has now reached velocities previously unreachable; you can have a gun-toting door-knob licker rise from local sidewalk fame to the status of federal lawmaker in the span of a year or less.
It once took decades for flim-flammers to reach the level of the success of, say, a Ben Shapiro or a Tucker Carlson; ridiculous hucksters had to balance their grift with a very real chance of being boiled in tar if they lingered too long after making their sales.
So screw it, then.
At least make these hearings entertaining.
If John Kennedy wants a theological discussion of God then by all means, just go at it.
“Does God have ears? Why?”
“When a pen runs out of ink but later comes back refreshed, does that count as a miracle?”
“Why does God seem to communicate almost exclusively with people who have television shows and things to sell, rather than with poor children, hospital emergency room workers, or programmers attempting to recompile a C++ program after adding exactly one (1) line of new code?”
“Most importantly, why is the Republican version of God so consumed with sex that all the rest of the world’s problems go unmanaged for the sake of battling this one?”
Why is Kennedy so all-fired certain that he and his kin are accurately interpreting the will of God Himself, when the only holy edicts they can figure out from that conversation all revolve around what God wants them to do about other people’s genitalia?
Somebody’s being a real pervert here, and I’m not sure the Omnipotent Creator of All Things is the culprit.