Action Alert!

i'm not as think as you drunk i am

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 07, 2004

In the country of Freedonia, the Catholic Church is plagued by catastrophically harmful automobile accidents caused by her clergy. Every year dozens of innocent persons are killed by priests who run red lights or who the cross the center line while driving, and hundreds more are left disfigured or crippled for life. The money paid in liability settlements is staggering -- so much so that in certain places parishes and schools must be closed for lack of funds.

In 85% of the cases, the priest or bishop was drunk when he killed or injured someone with his car. However, despite the fact that Freedonian priests have a notoriously high level of alcoholism, and despite the fact that confirmed incidents of drunk driving by priests are grossly disproportionate to the rest of the population, the Freedonian bishops loudly repeat the claims of therapists (in their hire) who insist that, while alcoholism is a "risk factor" for drunk driving accidents, it does not cause drunk driving accidents (which are attributable not to alcoholism but to poor judgment and impaired motor skills). Alcoholics, it is chanted mantra-style, are no more likely to lose control of the Buick than anybody else who chugs two-thirds of a bottle of Bushmills in five minutes.

Bishop Felix Sunshine, President of the Freedonian Bishops Conference, has gained national prominence for his dramatic displays of concern for victims of vehicular homicide, and has even invited experts from Seagrams and Anheuser-Busch to lecture his colleagues on motoring safety. Sunshine -- who has trembling hands and a nose like a red asteroid -- truculently maintains that "those who want to start a witch-hunt for alcoholics" are motivated by ignorance and malice and looking for a "scapegoat" on which to lay the blame for the problem. The Seagrams and Anheuser-Busch people concur.

The crisis is given a special twist by the fact that the clergy involved in negligent manslaughter are almost always repeat offenders whose problems with alcohol and driving were known to their superiors -- although often earlier mishaps involved only property damage or injury to clergy-passengers, and so did not entail criminal prosecution. There is a poignancy in the scene of Freedonian Mass-goers slumped in wheelchairs and adjusting their braces and eye-patches while listening to a rancorous homily on their duty not to be judgmental: "As church, we are about giving chinners a shecond shance."

The Diocese of Askelon, after shelling out $53 million in personal injury settlements and faced with several dozen new claims, declares itself bankrupt. Many laymen are distressed, despite Bishop Sunshine's reassurance that no collection dollars were re-directed and that plaintiffs were paid out of a special toffee tin kept near the front door and used for extraordinary expenses like Girl Scout cookies and shoelaces. When, however, Sunshine nails a seven point "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" covenant to the door of the Happy Hour Lounge in Anglesea (requiring every priest to be driven by a licensed private chauffeur at all times), the Freedonians put aside their doubts, embrace the episcopacy in a new spirit of trust and openness, and live happily ever after.

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