Apparently, some of my readers think I’m kidding about running for president. But since none of the Democratic or Republican candidates have taken a stand against pandering to the religious wackjobs in the country, I am now officially tossing my hat into the ring, although I hope you'll consider voting for all my clothes.
Article VI of the Constitution says, in part:
... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.I believe that discussing faith as if it were a qualification is a violation of that clause, if not technically then at least in spirit. As a candidate, and as your president, I promise always to obey that Constitutional prohibition. I'm the only candidate of either party who has made such a promise.
Like many of the other presidential aspirants, I plan to end the war in Iraq, capture every terrorist in the world, work diplomatically with other countries unless we absolutely have to bomb them, ensure that all our citizens have health care or can at least afford to watch doctor shows on TV, raise the quality of our public education without actually forcing the schools to teach anything, end the recession, stop inflation, cut taxes, bring family values and child labor back to the American workplace, and go forward. I’m particularly interested in going forward, as backward seems like the exact wrong direction to head. But I’m willing to teach the controversy, and will work with both the Democratic and Republican leaders if they can make a cogent case for going backward.
Here's the rest of my platform:
- I will not take an oath of office at my inauguration. The Constitution gives the president an option to “affirm,” rather than “swear,” and that’s what I’ll do. I will not place my hand on a Bible, nor will I say “So help me God,” neither of which actions are required — or even mentioned — in the Constitution. If my public relations staff insists that I place my hand on some book, I’ll use my Facts-on-File Encyclopedia of Mammals because it’s the fattest volume I own and it looks really important. Plus, unlike the bible, a lot of the stuff in it is true. And if my staff thinks I should say “So help me ... someone,” I’ll fill in the blank with “Rhonda.”
- I will immediately disband all faith-based agencies funded by the executive branch. I will, however, start a new program of president-to-church outreach. Here’s how it’ll work: I’ll stand in the middle of the Oval Office and stretch out my arms. Any churches I can reach get government funding. Any churches I can’t reach, are out.
- I will not appoint judges who label themselves “strict” constructionists. That’s a meaningless term, since no judge would refer to him- or herself as an “inaccurate” constructionist. Instead, I will seek out those judges who have consistently refused to contort the Bill of Rights to fit a social conservative agenda. It also wouldn’t be bad if the judge knew how to throw a decent joke or at least a “fuck you” into an opinion once in a while.
- I will work tirelessly to pass the Render Unto Caesar act. Under RUC, there will be no more tax breaks of any kind for religious institutions. There’s no reason why families and corporations, both rich and poor, should have to pay taxes but churches should get a free pass. Taxing churches does not infringe on the separation of church and state; giving churches tax-free real estate and allowing them to accumulate untold wealth does. Whether RUC is enacted or not, I will change the name “Internal Revenue Service” to “Caesar’s Palace.” Goodbye Uncle Sam; hello Uncle Julius.
- I will not have prayer breakfasts in the White House. I will not have prayer lunches in the White House. I will not have prayer dinners, or prayer brunches, or prayer cocktail hours, or prayer snack breaks, or prayer milk-‘n’-cookie times. In fact, I will not associate a supernatural entity and food at all while I’m in the White House, except possibly by saying, “I hope the executive chef is not going to serve those GODdamned French-cut canned stringbeans again.”
- I will begin negotiations with the Israelis and the Palestinians to cede control of Jerusalem to the Walt Disney Company. Disney will have to promise to give up its nuclear capability before taking over. It must also provide plans for a proposed new ride, “It’s a Small Superstitious World.” Mouse ears will not be mandatory on yarmulkes and hijabs, although visitors will be required to wave happily at anyone with a camera.
- I will not be photographed with any religious leader whatsoever. These include the Dalai Lama, the Pope, Tom Cruise, and Joe Lieberman. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have any problem doing a short video with a young woman in a nun’s outfit.
- I will remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Not only that, but I’ll rewrite the entire thing. The new Pledge will say: “I pledge allegiance to this great country that doesn’t expect me to blindly pledge allegiance.” Reciting it will be optional. Also, I will remove “In God We Trust” from all currency. The new currency will bear the motto, “Warning: do not drive or operate heavy machinery after counting what’s left in your wallet.”
- I will not appoint anyone who isn’t a genuine scientist to a scientific advisory position. A “genuine scientist” will be defined as “anyone who can explain, so that even a layman can understand, why every high school student in the country has to dissect a frog.” I also will not appoint anyone who isn’t a real economist to an economic advisory position. A “real economist” will be defined as “anyone who has a couple of bucks to spare until I get to the bank.” And no one will be given a job in the Justice Department unless he or she actually believes in justice.
- I will keep an Executive Office dunce cap. That cap will be worn by anyone in the White House, including me, who says something that’s quoted with approval on the Fox News network. I will entertain bids from companies wishing to design and manufacture this dunce cap. Then, I’ll make those numbers public, so that citizens can decide for themselves whether it’s reasonable to pay Halliburton $87 million for a pointy hat.