Do you think they know?
These politicians, these security officers,
these men who rip off women’s veils.
Do you think they know
they are not Christians?

But surely I should not
speak of such things;
I am an atheist,
lover of witches, devils, and bastard gods —
chaos, surprises,
things out of season.
I could not revoke your religion
any more than you could revoke
my humanity.

But even Christ
had the good sense to disdain hypocrisy;
and I am not so generous a soul.
Listen, then.
Know yourself.

You who claim to walk in The Wiseman’s footsteps
only to block another’s path,
see what I see –
you who think yourself persecuted disciple,
are in fact a pharisee.
You are not the good Samaritan
but the priest who passed by,
not camel with breaking back
but one whom God will not let
enter needle’s eye.

And surely at heaven’s gate
St. Peter will repeat words you spoke:
your papers are no good.
Your visa’s been revoked.
Perhaps Christ himself will come,
look at you and look through
and turn to your St. Peter,
mouthing the word “who?”

(How could he know you?
You do not know yourself.)

But I am only an atheist.
I should not try to speak for Christ —
and neither, I think, should you.

Listen, instead –
Perhaps you will
know Him.

featured photo credit: Lawrence OP God’s Excessive Love via photopin (license)