From the Saturday Evening Mercury 1981.

Dear God,

I know how busy you must be with a whole universe to worry about. That’s why it occurred to me that you probably don’t have time to read our papers and your TV reception might not be good. So I thought I’d drop you a note about how things are going here.

Well, things couldn’t be going any better, at least as far as your image is concerned. You wouldn’t believe how well loved you are on this planet today and how much is being done in your name. There’s so much going on that I hardly know where to start. So I might as well begin in Northern Ireland where you’ve always been very big. Ah, what religious fervour can be found there!

The Irish Protestants are so devoted to you that they do everything possible to make life miserable for the Irish Catholics because they don’t think the Irish Catholics have the right approach towards worshipping you. And, for essentially the same reasons, the Irish Catholics do what they can to make life miserable for the Irish Protestants. In their great love for you they shoot at one another, bomb one another, set one another afire, kill little children bystanders, cops, soldiers, old ladies and some are now committing suicide by starvation.

Then each side buries its dead, goes to Church and gives fervent thanks to you for being on its side. It is very touching. And one thing about these people: their devotion to you is unshakeable. They’ve been doing this for about 400 years. So it’s a good thing that you have an entire universe at your disposal because I don’t know where else you could find room to accommodate the souls of all the people who have died there in your name.

You’re also highly regarded in a country called Lebanon where just about everyone believes in you, although they don’t agree on what you should be called. In that country there are Moslems and Christians and they’ve created different sets of rules for worshipping. Naturally, they both say you have sent the rules down to them. I don’t know if that’s true or not but if I may make a suggestion: If it is true that you gave them the word, it would really simplify things if there was only one set of rules. It would cause less hard feelings.

However, such details aside, they are expressing their devotion to you by killing each other by the hundreds. I guess they figure that if one side can wipe out the other side it will prove that their way of worshipping you is correct and you’ll be pleased with them. So every day they lob shells at one another and blow up the usual men, women, children, bystanders, old ladies and stray dogs. And every day they take a few moments out to thank you for your support and to promise that they’ll continue their efforts on your behalf.

Now, not far from Lebanon, are countries called Iraq and Iran. The Moslems in these countries basically agree on what to call you but they disagree on some details concerning how best to worship you. So they’re also killing one another. It’s more than a little confusing, though, because in Iran there are people who call themselves Baha’i and they too have their own way of showing respect for you. Unfortunately for the Baha’i their way doesn’t include killing others who don’t share their point of view. So that makes them patsies and the Moslems in Iran, in their love for you, have been kicking the Baha’i around pretty good.

Just a short missile ride away there’s much religious action going on between a country called Israel and almost everyone else in that neighbourhood. For worshipping you the people in Israel also have their own set of rules which they say you passed on to them. They claim that you look more favourably upon them than on anyone else. This has always caused hard feelings because many other groups figure that THEY’RE your favourites. (I can see it must be difficult being a father figure.) The claim of the Israelis that they are No 1 has also caused some people to wonder this – If the Jews, after all they’ve been through over the centuries are really your chosen people, what do you do to somebody you DON’T like?

Anyway, the Jews and their Moslem neighbours – both of whom claim your complete support – have been going at each other for about 30 years. But I don’t think they’ll ever equal Ireland’s record because they’ll all eventually have nuclear bombs. Boy, when they start throwing those around, will you have a crowd showing up!

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention this final item. Somebody shot the Pope. As you know, he’s the leader of one of your largest group of followers here. A very peaceful, non-violent man, by the way, although his followers have been known to shed a few million gallons of blood when their tempers were up. Anyway, the man who shot him apparently did it because of HIS devotion to you. It’s not completely clear but this fellow seems to think that the Pope was in some way responsible for somebody invading the sacred mosque of his religion in a place called Mecca. That, of course, was an insult to you, so on your behalf he got even by shooting the Pope.

Well, I know you’re busy so that’s all for now.

Yours sincerely,

PS – I never believed any of those stories going around a few years ago that GOD IS DEAD. How could you be? We don’t have any weapon which can shoot that far….


By Mike Royko