An American Frog Fable

by WALT BRASCH

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.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington