Introduce to you Patriots fear the beard shirt! I was born and raised on the West Bank of Christianity. Most of you were too. You know what I mean: hellfire and damnation, sinners in the hands of an angry god—West Bank Christianity. When you’re raised in it, that’s all you know. We just took it for granted: Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t chew. Don’t go with girls that do. Of course I grew up during Cold War West Bank Christianity. Fear was everywhere. Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake. I pray the Lord my soul to take.
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Fear of God. Fear of the bomb. Fear of the bombshell (which for those of you born after the Cold War meant a sexy woman). All patriotic boys pledged “Lips that touched wine will never touch mine.” Except of course for James Bond who kissed a lot of bad girl lips. That pretty much sums up West Bank Christianity. It had no wine. Once upon a time, when the wedding reception began, it might have had some wine. But that was a long time ago. But the wine ran out. Augustine served Original Sin, as did Luther and Calvin. The Puritan’s City on a Hill served only Original Sin. In no time it became the official drink of America.
Original Sin is a lousy substitute for wine. Somewhere along the way, America lost its taste for Original Sin. We were no longer afraid. The Old Man on Michelangelo’s ceiling no longer threatened us. The Old Man with the white beard died. Of course being sentimental, from time to time nostalgia would set in. We missed the Old God of our Childhood. The old hymns gave us a warm and fuzzy moment. But there was no bringing him back. No resurrection. We still celebrated Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny with our children. But the Old Man on the Ceiling? We cleaned out the closet and left his memory at the Good Will Store. Have a nice day with Patriots fear the beard shirt!