Reform Rochester Now!

Making city and citizens self-sustaining

A priest, a rabbi and a Mormon walk into a bar…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Two women I happen to know quite well got into a discussion about politics. One was a conservative who generally votes Republican, no matter who’s on the ballot, although she does have her favorites. The other changed her party affiliation to Democrat about a year into Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2006 and will be voting for him again in this year’s election.

Both women get Medicaid and financial assistance from the county. Both women used to be members of the Mormon church and now consider themselves active Protestants. Both women have had an abortion. One of the women regrets having her abortion so much that she feels no women should be able to get abortions, but she is also strongly persuaded that birth control should not be covered by health insurance. The other women believes that part of government’s role is to make sure the poor are fed, clothed and housed and provided with health care, and that despite the separation of church and state which is a fundamental part of democracy as we know it, fulfilling this role helps accomplished the Savior’s Will for people having their temporal needs met here on Earth. Despite heated discussions and ongoing disagreements, these two intelligent women continue to respect each other and remain friends.

The pivotal point in the discussion centered on the economy, as it does. The cause of war can almost always be traced back to a faulty economy, or unmet needs. One woman said to the other, “Do you agree that the needs of the poor are better met by private sector organizations than by the government?” The other woman answered, “They could be, add the word could to your question and I’ll agree with you.” Catholic charities were compared with welfare, along with the role of organized religion in giving to the poor, the influence Jesus has in the lives of the wealthy, attitudes of entitlement in people running for public office, recognition and gratitude for the advantages one gets in life, and whether people left to themselves tend to do right by others or whether they need to be coaxed, admonished or taxed.

Could is the reason why we need government in the first place, because some people go to church and some people don’t, because some people believe in God and some people don’t, because some people think they deserve all the lucky breaks they got in life and don’t reach back down to help the other 47% who aren’t paying their taxes, because modern-day Mormons resemble the Pharisees asking Jesus, “Who sinned that this man was born blind?”

Okay, you were expecting a joke. Here it is:

The bartender walked up to the three holy men and said, “My goodness, what are men like YOU doing in this seedy establishment?”

The priest said, “Take this $20 bill for my tab, I’ve blessed it with holy water so that everyone who drinks here tonight will go home to a happier marriage.”

The rabbi said, “Take this $50 bill and put $35 on my tab; the owner of this bar came to my son’s Bar Mitzvah and I’m returning a blessing to his establishment.”

“What can I do for you?” the bartender asked the Mormon.

“Normally I wouldn’t even be here,” said the distinguished gentleman, grey at the temples, “but the fundraiser banquet I was just at next door wrote me a check… maybe you can cash it for me.”

The bartender squinted at him, then at the check. Clearly he was a statesman, but the numbers on the check looked wildly inflated. “Wow, that’s a lot of money, I’m not sure we can cover it.”

“That’s OK,” said the Mormon, “I’ll take 53% and let God sort out the rest.”

*      *      *      *      *

That’s the best I can do in the 10 minutes I have to write today. If anyone can make this joke better, please write me a comment.


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One thought on “A priest, a rabbi and a Mormon walk into a bar…

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