Unto the End
©2005 The Angst Guy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Daria and associated characters are ©2005 MTV Networks
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: email@example.com
Synopsis: A church-based debate on the War in Iraq gets out of control—thanks to the person least likely to cause such a problem.
Author's Notes: Ioxmo posted an Iron Chef challenge on PPMB in September 2005, about Daria characters in a war. This was my contribution, based on extensive readings on the subject at hand.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Ioxmo for the idea.
“The point I’m trying to make,” she continued nervously, shifting from one foot to the other as she heard the angry murmurs in the audience grow louder, “is that when Jesus drove the moneychangers from the temple, he wasn’t saying, ‘Hey, it’s okay to fight a war! Just watch how I do it!’ I mean, right, he chased out the moneychangers, but he only used a little whiplike thingie he made out of cords to do it. It was like he was hitting them with string—not a ball of string, just a wad of string, okay? He wasn’t using guns or bombs or anything, and nobody got killed or maimed or even broke a nail as far as I know, they just got chased out of the temple, and that was it. It wasn’t like he was fighting a war, because he wasn’t.”
Her face betrayed anxiety. “I can tell that what I’m saying is kind of upsetting some of you, but the story’s in the Bible right here in front of me, and I’ve got one of those Bibles that prints everything Jesus said in red so you won’t get it wrong, unless you read it in dim light or you don’t have your glasses on or something, but anyway—”
“Will the debater stick with the subject of her rebuttal, please?” said the weary minister at the moderators’ table. “You don’t have much time left.”
“Oh, right! Sorry! Oh, and the part where my opponent Joey says Jesus says that war is okay because the Gospel of Matthew says that Jesus says—” She paused to peer at the open Bible on the lectern in front of her, a fingertip placed by the passage in question “—‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword,’ that part is like, um, me-ta-phor-i-cal, okay. It’s like a parable. Jesus wasn’t saying he was bringing war. He was saying, ‘People are going to disagree a lot about my message, and it’s going to cause problems in families and between friends and everything,’ which is kind of like what’s happening here in our church auditorium, isn’t it? I’m still on topic, right? Okay, cool! So, what Jesus said wasn’t about war or swords at all, it’s about . . . it’s about what I said it was about! Disagreements, right!
“And all that stuff Joey talked about in the Old Testament where God told the Israelites to kill all these people and kill all those people and so on and so on, that was like way back then, and Jesus is now, okay? We can’t go around saying, ‘Hey, God told us to go kill a long time ago, so we can still do it, right?’ Because the answer to that is like, ‘Duh! Jesus said, No!’ We can’t really know if a war is moral and just, just because our leaders said so, because they might be wrong! Presidents are human, aren’t they? I mean, ask my mom about Clinton or my dad about Bush, right? How do you really know who’s right? Maybe they’re both right because they’re my parents, and I’m not saying either of them is wrong, because they’re my parents, but I mean, here we are debating, ‘What Would Jesus Do About the War in Iraq?’ and a lot of people say we’ve been lied to about the war—but you know what? I don’t think it matters if we were lied to about the war or if we were told the truth, because Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ and that’s kinda pretty clear, right? He didn’t want war! Oh, and I have to add that when I was talking about the Old Testament being way back then and not like now, I wasn’t putting down the Old Testament or anything, because my friend Tiffany is Jewish and the Old Testament is like her parents’ whole Bible or Torah and everything, and that’s okay if she and I don’t agree on what’s the Bible because she’s a really sweet person and—”
“The debater is wandering again,” grumbled the minister. “Please—”
“Oh! Sorry! What I’m really trying to say is that Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ because they’re the good guys, they don’t hurt anyone, and people who go out and bomb each other, they’re not the good guys—well, they’re not! I know that made some of you mad, but Jesus said it! He did! I’m looking at it right here where he said it! And Jesus also said in that Sermon on the Mount thing that the meek would inherit the earth, not the un-meek people, and I’ve tried all my life to be meek like Jesus wanted us to be, I really have, and it’s mostly worked out although the one time I decided not to be nice and meek, I got super mad and used black magic to cause someone to lose her voice for a whole month, and can you believe it, it worked, I mean it was just aweso—I mean, awful, it was so seriously wicked a thing to do, so I confessed my sin and repented and did my best to fix things although I made another friend of mine sick with the magic antidote by mistake, but—I know, I know, I’m wandering again!
“So, Jesus said the meek would inherit, not the strong, and people who are persecuted are the blessed ones, not the ones running around doing the persecuting, and he even said it was not only wrong to kill, but it was wrong to get angry and people who did that were in danger of judgment, and that still makes me nervous because of the black magic thing, but it goes beyond that, do you see? I mean, if I was to call somebody a fool—I’m not, it’s just an example, so I’m really not calling anybody a fool, not even Joey, who promised me on our date last Friday he wasn’t going to debate me about this today but he’s doing it anyway, but you know, that’s okay really, I don’t mind. Even Joey’s not a fool, because if I called him a fool, Jesus said I’d be in danger of hell fire! I can say that word, right? It’s okay because it’s in the Bible, right? I don’t usually say that because—oh, okay! Sorry! Um—oh, and Joey also made the point that Jesus asked his disciples to go out and get some swords in the book of Luke, okay? But Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples to all buy swords and shields and spears and stuff. He wasn’t telling them, ‘You guys need to look more like Rambo,’ you know, because that wasn’t what he wanted, right? So, why should we do it if they didn’t?”
Angry shouts echoed from the audience. “I’m not being disrespectful!” she cried out. “He didn’t want Rambo disciples! I don’t know why Jesus asked his disciples to get swords, because they came up with only two swords, and he said—” Another pause while she glanced at her Bible “—he said, ‘It is enough,’ and he wouldn’t say that if he meant for them all to have swords, right? He didn’t say, ‘Hey, two isn’t enough, go back to the sword store and get more swords!’ He didn’t say that!
“So, what was the point of having swords? Well, Jesus knew about the future, because he said a lot about the future that came true, right? So, maybe he knew there had to be two swords around for the future to happen the way it was meant to come out. I mean, just after he said two swords were enough, Peter got all upset with a high priest or a Roman soldier or somebody and he cut off the other guy’s ear with a sword—eww, I mean, that was so gross—but then Jesus healed the hurt guy and made it all better, so there had to be a sword there, right? And maybe the other sword was held by the disciple who said—” A momentary glance at the Bible “—‘Lord, shall we smite with the sword?’ right before all the smiting started? Maybe he was teaching them a lesson not to fight in wars! I mean, if Jesus wanted everyone to have swords because he wanted to have a war, then all twelve disciples would have to get them, except maybe Judas of course, and if Jesus said two swords were enough for all of them, then he wasn’t talking about everybody having the right to own a sword, or having the right to fight a war and kill anyone!”
“Miss,” interrupted the minister, eyeing members of the audience making their way toward the exits as the hostile buzz grew louder. “You’re almost out of—”
“And another thing: When Joey said, ‘What about if someone was trying to rape you? Wouldn’t you want to stab him or shoot him or something?’ And my answer to that is, ‘No!’ I might try to run away, because Jesus didn’t say I couldn’t, or I might hide, or I might pretend I have herpes or something—” She gasped “—I’m sorry I said ‘herpes’ in a church, but please listen! I mean, would I want to kill that guy? No! If the guy was trying to rape one of my friends, I mean, I’d do everything I could to stop it, but no, I wouldn’t try to kill him or hurt him! That’s wrong! Well, it is wrong! I might trick him or run off or give him some money to go away or hide under the bed or make myself throw up or do something, but no, I wouldn’t kill or hurt anyone, because Jesus said not to do it! I love my friends, I have the three best friends in the whole world, and if Quinn or Sandi or Tiffany were in danger, I’d help them as best I could without hurting anyone, because—”
“Miss!” called the minister. “The time! You’re out of—”
“—because Jesus said that all who draw the sword will die by the sword!” she cried, her voice gaining strength. “And even if he was speaking in parables or whatever, he still meant: don’t fight! Jesus said we had to be harmless as doves, and whatever else that meant, he still meant, don’t fight! Jesus said if someone smacks you on the cheek, turn and let him hit you on the other cheek—pow! Even if a girl smacks you or insults you or tells you that you aren’t fashionable enough to be in her fashion club but she lets you join anyway because she can’t find anyone else to join and she says you might be salvageable—it’s okay! It doesn’t matter if you let her pick on you a little because she’s not really hurting you, is she? It’s all just words. Even if you get tired of it eventually and take a sabbatical from the Fashion Club and it falls apart, you and she are still best friends and will be forever, and if she still picks on you once in a while, it’s because she can’t help it, it’s just the way she is, so forget about it, all right? It’s okay! Jesus said it was okay! Because all this stuff we think is so important, all this stuff about money and taxes and status and cars and war and even fashion, it’s all a bunch of crap! It is! It’s a bunch of crap, and I’m not sorry I said that at all, because—”
“Order!” shouted the minister, striving to be heard above the enraged voices of the audience. “I will have order here!”
“—because the things of this earth belong to this earth and not to what Jesus was all about! Remember what he said?” flip flip “‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.’ What’s more important to you, the things of this world, or the things that are God’s? Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world; otherwise, my servants would fight.’ All of his disciples could have been ninjas or Marines or whatever, but they weren’t, none of them were! Jesus specifically told us—” flip flip flip “—to ‘resist not evil,’ right from the mountain! And he said—”
“Will the speaker please—”
“—‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth’—” flip “—‘But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven!’ And when someone says, ‘Christians are all full of hooey when they talk about war because they’re so amphib—ambli—because they don’t know if it’s good or bad,’ then you tell them, ‘No man can serve two masters!’ which is what Jesus said right here on this page! Jesus was opposed to war and fighting and hurting people, he’d be opposed to invading Iraq and Afghanistan and everyplace else, and he would be even if we found atom bombs there, because Christians are opposed to war, I don’t care what anyone else but Jesus said about it, we’re called Christians because we follow Jesus Christ and not Saint Paul or Caesar or some monk from the Middle Ages whose name I can’t remember or whoever, we serve Jesus Christ, by golly, so we’re Christians and we bless them that curse us, we do good to them that hate us, we pray for them who despise us, and that’s the way it is, Nine-Eleven or not! You got that?”
She pounded the lectern’s top with her fist, shouting above the chaos. “Vengeance is not yours! ‘Vengeance is mine!’ saith the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord! It doesn’t matter what those bastards do to us! We’re Christians, and Christ said, ‘He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved!’ We’re saved through peace! The angels sang, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’ when Jesus was born, and the first thing Jesus said when he was resurrected from death was, ‘Peace be with you!’ It’s all about peace, God damn it! It’s all about—”
Her attention was caught by a man advancing on her through the crowd, directed by some of the audience members.
The man was a security guard.
With his hand on his holster.
Which held a gun.
She inhaled sharply, eyes blazing. Her hands went to her waist. In an instant, she whipped off her ultra-trim petite-size faux-leather belt, gripped the buckle in her right hand, and let the short remainder swing free. She darted around the lectern and ran at the security guard in a fury. “Get out of here!” she shrieked. “How dare you bring a weapon into my Father’s hou—”
The guard was very nervous and very fast.
The gunshot was deafening but less notable than the intense sting and the bone-rattling thump in—no, through her chest—she was surprised, taken aback—the screams, such screaming everywhere—she slowed down, still staggering forward in shock—He actually shot me! He shot me!—and she tried to do what she knew she had to do next, to draw breath and say what Jesus said, but she got only as far as “Forgive them—” when she choked. Blood filled her mouth. The floor came up but never hit her.
And then . . .