Parting Glances: Blue-Eyed Winks at T

BY CHARLES ALEXANDER

With all due respect (and a plethora of apologies) to my manifold, religiously eclectic, catholic -- as in universal -- PG readership, I spent my 2017 St. Patrick's Day observance in Mar-a-Lago, Fla. It was a first for me.

If the resort name seems vaguely familiar, it's the location of the 45-hole golf course where our very under-par president seeks frequent, and repeated, retreat from the manifold duties he has allocated to his sundry and assorted Republican caddy appointees, all of whom he's so generously indebted to.

Mar-a-Lago is also the nearby home of the tax-free Cathedral Church of the Blue-Eyed Jesus, Inc., a rapidly growing movement with spiritual doctrine of astounding simplicity (and red-white-and-blue appeal) that seems during the past one hundred days or so to be sweeping across our spiritually undernourished country.

The Cathedral itself appears to be designed by an architect with marked Windex proclivities. It's somehow a cross between a traditional White House, a Manhattan showbiz tower, and a neon'd Sear's neighborhood shrine for bargain items for last-chance redemption.

There are dozens and dozens of Cathedral stained glass windows, many, many of which have curious purple and red stains of varying intensities and cryptic illuminations.

What appears to be a gigantic Last Supper is dominated by a glass-tinted blond halo'd savior, with surprisingly small and miraculously semi-stigmatic hands open in cautious blessing.

I, of course, was concerned. Should I or shouldn't I attend services there? -- a slight concession to backhome Detroit's St. Pat -- as an openly gay person, risking religious censure common to most evangelical cross-country denominations. The gay concierge at my beachside hotel said not to worry.

"You're oh so lucky, my friend. You can pass. You have blue eyes. A sure sign of religious sincerity. The fact that you're tall like Jesus -- he was 6' 2" -- waist size 32" -- is a plus. If you're really worried, sit in the last two rows of the balcony, where concerned gays usually sit. "And, just pretend to hum along with the music. Hymns are familiar. Words are different."

Determined not to exhibit any status as an unbelieving sinner I sat boldly in the third row on the aisle, daringly winking my left blue eye at an usher who happened to be cute. While I was careful not to donate my proverbial Widow's Mite to the Cathedral, I took copious mental notes during the sermon, "His Blue Eyes Are On the Sparrow."

The sermon was short. Delivered dramatically! If somewhat too repetitive for my

apolitical taste! In essence, said Cathedral Church Pastor Franklin P. Falwell, "The key to eternal life is simple: Jesus has blue eyes. Always had. Always will. Believe that. Live and vote accordingly. And you will be saved. That's it.

"In spite of Obamacare. School lunches. Misspent funding for the arts and environmental concerns. Brown-eyed people and their nearsighted religions. Crosseyed Separation of Church and State. A Constitution that's myopic and spiritually outdated. Amen!"

I didn't stay for the traditional altar call. Hundreds flocked to the altar weeping and wailing. The choir sang, "Washed in the Blood of the Blue-Eyed Lamb" as I hastily exited. I swear to God I saw a halo around the choir director's puffy, vibrating face.

Oh, no . . . It just couldn't be . . . Truth with a capital T. And stranger than fiction.

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