Some of you may recall my office at The Farmville Herald. A mess. I kept everything. For 36 years. When I packed up to leave it was like an archeological dig—I found another layer of ancient Troy. I’m still excavating at home more than 18 months later, finding the corner of another box of papers I hadn’t finished digging through. I’m amazed at what I find.
Today, I uncovered a press release from The Emperor. You know the guy. Said he was The Big Cheese but didn’t notice the smell. Invented truths. Called them “Alternative facts.” They were more like the Emperor’s New Clothes. If he’d tried to wear these facts he would have been stark naked. It’s so easy to see right through them all. Claimed there were a billion people at his coronation, for example.
So this emperor, Tiberius—who else did you think I meant?—he ruled the Roman Empire back in Jesus’ day. And this press release is headlined “The Alternative Sermon On The Mount” and claims to be what Jesus really said. “The mainstream Matthew Gospel media is so biased. Bad. Terrible. Not nice,” The Emperor declares before the press release states:
“Blessed are the rich in spirit, for they will get even richer.
“Blessed are those with no feelings, for they shall hurt everyone without caring.
“Blessed are the strong, for they shall take everything on earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for people shall get out of their way.
“Blessed are the merciless, for they shall receive a hero’s welcome.
“Blessed are the impure in heart, for they shall see anything they want.
“Blessed are the warmongers, for they will be called whatever they order people to damn well call them.”
The Emperor claimed that Jesus had been misquoted in what he described as the “so-called” Beatitudes. “Jesus called them the Not-To-Be-Attitudes. Told me so himself,” The Emperor is quoted as saying, “when we met in the Oval Sanctum of the Holy Temple of Me.”
Good thing The Emperor had such a lousy press secretary and thank goodness Matthew got his Gospel published first. Here are a few more—ahem—“Alternative Facts About What Jesus Really Said”:
“Punch the other cheek, too.”
“Do unto others. Again and again and again.”
“You are the salt of the earth. Corner the market on pepper.”
“You are the light of the world. Turn it off.”
What a guy, The Emperor. No wonder all of his statues fell down. Tiberius was no Caesar. He wasn’t even good enough to get a salad dressing named after him.
My high school math teacher never let me get away with using alternative facts on Algebra tests. I guess The Emperor thought people would believe whatever he said. But, I just threw his “alternative facts” in the trash.
Let’s stand together and be poor in spirit. Let’s mourn when we must. Let’s be meek, and hunger and thirst for righteousness. We’ll show mercy and be pure in heart. We’ll be peacemakers. We’ll season the earth with our “salt” and keep our light shining.
(Ilsa Loeser has my deep and undying gratitude for her expertise and generosity of spirit in making this website a reality. I have just enough technical ability to brush my own teeth)