The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.–Denis Diderot
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART TWENTY-THREE: THE FALL
Of all the loochers who bid fair to set themselves up as persecutors of Red Mary, Little Jane, Sweet Molly, Dinky Stockdale, and the rest of the Ladies of Easy Virtue in the town, the one who I disliked most violently, on general principle, would have to be the Reverend John Otis Cross.
Back during a time when folks was rootin’ through trash barrels to find food and going about practically skyclad dressed in pitiful rags, Reverend Cross decided he would embark upon an ill-considered vice crusade.
Alderman Tyler was known as a good, God-fearing, church-going man, which is how he first met the Reverend.
John Otis Cross was a short squat man dressed mostly all in black with a thick black mustache that curled up at the sides. He wore a white starched shirt with a stiff coller and a black derby hat, and never went anywhere without a gold-headed oaken cane. Tyler first encountered him as Cross was holding forth at a gas-lit and low-ceilinged store-front church in the Cannery section, surrounded by a select forty or so of his acolytes, the great majority of them old biddies. The speech–you can look it up–t’was reprinted in the penny paper known as the Daily Chronicker–went something like this:
IF CHRIST CAME TO NOXTOWN
“Dear friends–and I call you this because you are all my friends–what would you say if I told you that you were all of you destined to go to hell?
Doubtless you would weep and wail and gnash your teeth and say that you had led a good, god-fearing and Christian life, and that you were on that account to be saved from the burning pit which the evil one has set aside to punish sinners found wanting in the eyes of an angry God.
But I advise you to take care! I am a prophet who may be without honor in his own land, but I say unto you that this town is rotten to the core and filled with swarming filth and filthy things and men and women both who wallow night and day in the filth of their defiant recreancy!
Be WARNED that the WRATH of God shall VILIFY such people who refuse to repent their filthy dog-like sins–of cupidity, of fidelity to false idols, of laziness, and of cunning. Poodle-dogs, lipstick-wearing, cigarette-smoking, card playing, sabbath breaking, Communism, and ragtime have got to be STOPPED!
For like unto a DOG sniffing through his own vomit, so THESE.
The grifters and grafters and women seducers and, and, the woman haters, and the women beaters must CHANGE from their sinful ways. The card-players and the card-sharpers and the beaver-hatted mustache men and the racketeers and the jacketeers and the fiddlers and the cornet players must be CAST OUT! In order for any of such to sincerely repent of their evil ways, they must be BORN AGAIN!
WHY must they fail to glory in the wrath of God? That Deity who, alone, has made America the greatest country that has ever been thought of?
If Christ came to Noxtown, verily, I say unto you, He would verily weep to see small children toil in factory warehouses for long hours at pennies per hour, forever closed off to the truth of the Gospels.
If Christ came to Noxtown, verily, I say unto you, He would verily rage at the sight of young mothers forced to forsake their sucking babes to the cold care of strangers because they have been cast out upon the streets by unfeeling landlords and slumlords and vice lords!
If Christ came to Noxtown, verily, I say unto you, He would verily wonder at the millions of dollars in graft and boodle leached from the body politic by bands of corrupt rascals and rapscallions and sockdologers and midget statesmen–tall in stature but small in comprehension!
If Christ came to Noxtown, verily, I say unto you, He would cover his mouth and hold his nose at the everlasting stench.
BUT–If Christ came to Noxtown–then, verily, I say unto you, He would also speak American, drive a motor-car, hold down an honest job, and shun the twin vices of card-playing and stupendous liquor! He would rail against evil, but he would also obey LEGITIMATE authority at all levels!
It is a corrupt SHAME that GOD, who has blessed us from on high, is FORCED to look down upon us from his HEIGHTS and SEE that the mass of men–who deal in shame– who deal in problematic vices–who worry more about their pocketbooks than they do about the welfare of their neighbors–AND who actually have the the gall and wormwood to call themselves Disciples of the enduring Christ, ARE, in the sight of GOD ALMIGHTY Disciples of the enduring DEVIL–the stinking Devil!–on behalf of whom they perform their SINISTER acts!
I speak of corrupt ward-heelers and judges and elected officials who permit vice to run rampant, neither knowing nor caring that they are doing the work of Lord Lucifer and his Luciferous Crew.
Any time the newspapers print a list of the high elected officials of this town, you are sure to find there a list of men who proclaim themselves soldiers of CHRIST–but they are merely SERVANTS–servants of the Evil One–whose sins have not been found out–though I will assure you that God will not be mocked–and that the evil that men do shall be revealed sooner rather than later to the lamp of Eternal Truth and fidelity.
Why can’t these men of eminence recoil from such Ungodly behavior and hew instead to the paths of righteousness? I’ll tell you WHY. They have been tempted by Satan is why, and they have been weighed in the balance and have been found wanting. Surely they have sown the wind and shall reap the whirlwind of God’s almighty and MOST INCOHERENT rage.
The WORST of these men who call themselves Christians merely devote their lives to helping themselves to earthy treasures which as we all know the moth and rust must consume.
Why can’t these apes of ingratitude instinctively recoil from such unseemliness and promote righteousness in the Land?
I’ll tell you WHY. They are in the spell of Satan.
The fear of God has LEACHED out of them and unless they give back all they have plundered and sincerely repent, God will one day visit them–LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT–and deliver unto them the consequences of His almighty WRATH.
If they do not repent of their ill-gotten spoils, they will destroy lives and potential lives. If they do not stop taking bribes, good-will offerings, hush money, and cash for favors, they will leave us all starving and lost, without homes and health; abandoned and fruitless in our neighborhoods and dwelling-places. I’m telling you the TRUTH! They are unaccountable for their actions; they are walkers in faithlessness; they touch all of the money; they sponsor demonic entertainments; they live in demonic homes. They make meaningless apologies; erect profane statuary to glorify themselves. They do not ever allow people to ask any QUESTIONS, and they never accept any kind of correction from well-meaning shepherds of their flocks.
Everybody knows of the so-called “Big Men” who only visits a church to see and to be seen by others. That is very unsound. It is the sin of hypocrisy.
It is time for the so-called “Big Men” to put their faith and trust and, yes, even their friendship in Jesus. To look at the world through Christ-colored glasses. It is time they no longer engage in desperate acts, because GOD has been good to us, and JESUS will provide.
You ask me, wither the way of the world? And I say unto you, it was surely contrived by agents of some malevolent God as torment for our yet-to-be committed sins.
For we are all water from different rivers, but we will surely all go to heaven together.
My friends, we must never cease to fight evil. But, at the same time, we must obey LEGITIMATE authority at all levels. That is what decency wants of us. That is what God DEMANDS from us. AH-MEN.”
And the Biddies in that gas-lit den in congress assembled all gobbled forth their Ah-mens.
Accompanied by the deep and resonant voice of that inveterate loocher, Adam Tyler.
BAD BAD LEROY BROWN
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