FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

 

More articles by:

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.

July 23, 2018
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail