Ten-year-old atheist Bobby Thomson loves his Nana Grimley. He also loves July 4th. What he doesn’t love is getting dragged to church and being told to read a selection from the Bible to the entire congregation.
It’s not just because he is a non-believer. He figured out a while ago that most people in the church are non-believers. That’s two layers of hypocrisy right there. Bobby could deal with two layers. Heck, whenever he goes to church he deals.
But then there are the Bible verses they want him to read. Psalms 33:12-22 lays it on thick.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.
14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.
16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.
Bobby knows he isn’t a historian, but he is pretty sure so-called Christian lands that have suffered famines. It’s highly unlikely that the LORD’s shield was ever effective against real-life swords and guns.
And that’s why he’s going to read Article 11 from the Treaty of Tripoli in church.
He read about Article 11 on some stupid satirical atheist site. The jokes weren’t that funny and A LOT of people didn’t seem to understand the difference between fake news and satire. However, there was a blog post that quoted Article 11 from the treaty signed between the USA and Barbary Pirates in 1796.
Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
He was going to start reading Psalms first and then weave in Article 11. But then he decided if he’s gonna get into a big bag of trouble why not make it worth it? Bobby chose to launch right into the Treaty of Tripoli and say “screw it” to subtlety.
Bobby doesn’t think they can shut off his mic. He practiced reading Article 11 a few times in his room. He wanted to make sure he can blurt out the thing before an adult kicks him off the pulpit.