Another Perspective

Pastoral Letter From the Future III

The Rev. Dr. Judith Hardanger-Hansen explains why she has resigned.

By 9.18.07

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The following letter (acquired through a reliable but anonymous transtemporal source) will be written by the Rev. Dr. Judith Hardanger-Hansen, archbishop of the American Archdiocese of the Lutheran Companionship of the Benevolent Deity Spiritual Movement (BDSM), sometime around the second decade of the 21st century.

Beloved in the All-Merciful (blessed be He):

I apologize for the time that has passed since my last pastoral letter. It has been a stressful period, filled with emotional highs and lows, and only now can I begin to articulate a few of the things I have learned and am learning.

You may have read stories about me in the press. Unkind, hurtful words like "apostate" have been directed at me by the bigots of the insurgency. I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

You are all aware, I'm sure, of the trial and execution two months ago of Pastor Ho Chi Niedermeyer. Pastor Niedermeyer was an old friend of mine, a seminary classmate. Although his gay identity was no secret, it was still a shock when he was brought before the Provisional Islamic Tribunal on charges of sodomy.

I must admit that during that terrible time, I had a crisis of faith. The core beliefs that had sustained me all my life seemed ready to give way.

I began to question multiculturalism.

When Pastor Niedermeyer was sentenced to death by stoning, I confess that I went through a lamentable period of genuine bigotry. For a few terrible days, I actually believed that his conviction was morally wrong. That his Islamic accusers should not be judged by their own cultural norms, but by some universal standard of right and wrong.

Such thoughts sickened me. I went for counsel to the wisest person I know, the man who has become my mentor and much more, Imam Mustapha Ali Hakim al-Cincinnati.

As I told him of my struggles, he fixed me with his soulful, compassionate brown eyes and said to me, "Why are you in doubt, Daughter? Do you not see that all the enemies of Allah are messengers of evil, worthy of indignity and death, rightly doomed to eternal torment, writhing upon red-hot coals among the blasphemers and infidels?"

"You mean," I said, "that the only possible reason one could object to the ancient wisdom of the east is sheer bigotry."

"That is one way to put it," he replied. "Furthermore, all sodomites are abominable in the eyes of Allah, and ought to be spat upon, beaten with sticks and mocked by true men, and if they will not renounce their perversion they should be grateful if crushing under a collapsed wall is all that they must suffer."

"I see," I said, understanding him to mean that the Islamic peoples are victims of western imperialism, and have the right to uphold their cultural traditions in the face of Amero-European cultural aggression.

"Pastor Niedermeyer was my dear friend," I said. "I can't see that he's done anything worthy of death."

"You need to purge your mind of worldly opinions," the Imam said. "Your feelings, along with your idea of some inner moral sense, are all less than lint in a camel's navel in the eyes of Allah. All that matters is the word of holy Koran, and total submission to its ordinances."

By which he meant (obviously) that I had no right to call myself a tolerant person so long as I refused, out of mere Christian prejudice, to open my mind and embrace the tenets of Islam.

Such wisdom the imam possesses! I suddenly felt deeply ashamed, as I always do when I speak with him, of the mulish inferiority of our western ways in comparison with the sophistication and spirituality of his.

I fell to the floor, tears if shame burning on my cheeks. "What must I do?" I cried. "How can I expiate the guilt of my imperialist heritage, my bigoted morality, my hateful blue eyes?"

"The way is plain," said he. "First you must lay down this sham of spiritual leadership. You are a mere woman, and must not presume to teach men the ways of Allah. You must resign your bishopric."

I felt then that he understood the leaden weight I carried, and I knew that it was a relief to be rid of it.

"Then you must convert to the true faith," he said. "For there is no God but Allah, and all polytheists and idolaters are abominations in His sight."

And I understood then in my heart that the Prophet Isa of Nazareth (called Jesus by Christians), the messenger of peace, would surely be pleased if I renounced the foul doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, evolutionary outgrowths of a hybrid of degenerate Greek philosophy and Jewish blasphemy, the causes of so much strife and division in the world.

"And you must become one of my wives," he declared.

I wept again then, grateful for the imam's graciousness in accepting me, a cursed American whore, into his household.

And that is the reason for my resignation. Future inquiries concerning my life and welfare may be directed to my Revered Husband.

I urge all of you to follow the ways of peace, and to obey the Prophet Isa, who would surely command you not to resist, but to submit to the will of Allah. I am grateful to Allah (blessed be He!) for leading me out of the sewer of Christian delusion into the light and purity of Islamic truth, where I have at last found my true fulfillment as a woman and -- soon, I trust -- a mother.

Blessed be He. Death to all sodomites.

Judith Hardanger-Hansen,
Formerly Archbishop.

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About the Author
Lars Walker is a librarian and Norwegian translator, and the author of several published fantasy novels, the latest of which is an e-book called Troll Valley, available for Kindle or Nook.