Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

An American Frog Fable


The First United Church of the Knowledge of Universal Truth decided last week not to ordain any frogs. To find out why, I visited the Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson.

I approached him as he finished blessing the ceremonial offerings plate. “Rev. Johnson,” I asked, “the frogs-rights groups are upset with your Board’s decision. What are your reasons?”

“The Bible tells us that frogs are nothing but problems.”

“The Bible tells you that?” I asked suspiciously.

“Right there in Exodus. God said he’d smite all of Egypt with frogs if the Pharaoh didn’t let the Jews be free. It proves that God was so ticked off he had to find the most loathsome creature he could to punish the Pharaoh. Do you know how bad it must be to be smited by, of all things, frogs?”

“But God used the frogs to help the Jews. It’s not that the frogs did anything God didn’t want to be done.”

“Bad is bad,” said the Rev. Mr. Johnson. “Turn to Revelations,” he commanded. “John says that he saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon. That proves it! Not only are frogs loathsome creatures, they’re also unclean.”

I tried to interrupt, but the anti-frog minister wasn’t about to let another view meddle in his logic.

“Even Shakespeare hated frogs. Right there in Macbeth. The witches brewed the most horrible concoction they could. What do you think was in it?! Eye of newt and toe of frog!”

“This is ridiculous,” I said. “Are you sure there’s nothing deeper to your decision to ban frogs from the ministry?”

The Rev. Mr. Johnson cleared his throat, looked at me carefully, then somberly explained: “They’re green.”

“They’re green?” I asked incredulously. “That’s it? Because they’re green!”

“Green conflicts with our basic color scheme. It’s not as if we’re the only religion not to like color. For the longest time, a lot of churches didn’t allow anyone who’s black to be ordained, let alone be a member, so I guess that green is just as good a reason as any.” He thought a moment, then added, “Of course, I guess there might be another reason.”

“I thought so!” I said, now writing furiously in my note pad.

“Frogs also have webbed feet. It’s against the laws of God for ordained ministers to have webbed feet.”

I stopped writing. “Now, let me get this straight. You don’t want to ordain frogs because they’re green and they have webbed feet?”

“That’s right. Webbed feet is not God’s wish for humanity. Webbed feet is a sign of breaking with God’s world of five-toed feet. It’s immoral and a sin. A sign of willful rebellion.”

“Shouldn’t the Church recognize that even frogs have faith?” I asked.

“The Bible tells us to love all creatures, and that we are all part of the Lord. But, nowhere does it say that frogs should be ordained.”

“But what about their knowledge of Scripture or whether frogs have the ability to lead people? Shouldn’t that count for something?”

“You think that frogs can lead people? Have you ever seen a frog walk? There’s no one who’s going to hop to church on Sunday mornings.”

“But, most frogs seem to be so much more respectful and honest than many of your own parishioners,” I pleaded in the frogs’ defense.

“I agree,” said the minister, “and the ministry should offer models of integrity, morality, and honesty–if at all possible. And, I do admit that some ministers do stray from the paths of righteousness on occasion. But, at least they’re not green, they don’t have webbed feet, and they never smited anyone!”

Forgetting my role as an objective reporter and lapsing into an impassion plea, I cried out, “frogs are wonderful creatures who should be given a chance to preach the will of God!”

The Rev. Matthew Mark Johnson looked at me sharply. “You ain’t a frog in disguise are you, boy? You ain’t trying to take over this here church, are you?”

“Oh, no sir!” I said. “I’m just trying to find out why frogs can’t be ordained if they have every other ability.”

“You’re trying to cause us serious trouble,” said the Rev. Mr. Johnson, “and I don’t care to discuss this issue any more. Now, if you’ll leave me alone, I have to go watch an important television show. Never miss it. Even better in re-runs than first time I saw it.”

“What show is that?”

“The Muppets.”

WALT BRASCH is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, a former newspaper reporter and editor, and author of 12 books. His latest book is Sex and the Single Beer Can; Probing the Media and American Culture.


Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”