America: Love it or leave it
I never felt so helpless as when the officers with the cross on his uniform lapel told me I had been paroled and would soon be sent back to Earth for readmission into general society.
For two years I had lived in a domed bubble on the moon we called “Bushville” after the president who fire introduced the concept of secret prisons to America.
While my bones hurt at the mere thought of returning to Earth’s full gravity, I far more dreaded the idea that I would once again have to make my daily bread in a world filled with practicing Christians.
I should have been grateful for their allowing me to go back home as soon as they were.
Two years in exile was considered an extremely light sentence for a man charged with blasphemy. For I had owned and red from books that were not in keeping with the accepted texts of the faith, and others had suffered sentences ten times as long as mine.
Had I, of course, murdered, raped or whored around, and repented, I would have received no exile at all – put instead on a pedestal where I might have testified to my glorious rebirth.
My father had raised me wrong.
He was a discredited college professor who had insisted on teaching evolution long after the Christian-controlled government had outlawed it.
With secret moon prisons still decades away, he managed to get he and his family sentenced to a place nearly as remote: secret retraining camps in Arizona where the Christians hoped we could be re-educated into a proper way of thinking.
While my father advised me to mouth the words “Praise the Lord” at all the appropriate times of day, he refused to allow me to develop the robotic-like thinking most Christians required, and secretly made me his sole student, hoping I might one day make up the foundation of a future underground which would overthrow the tyranny of faith that had ruined America.
But I tried to put my education behind me when I moved on from my parent’s camp so that I might fit in better than he did. The hardships of the Arizona re-education camp, however, had prepared me for physical work – non union, of course, since Christians hated unions nearly as much as they hated communists.
But given an inch, Christians always took a mile. So that we soon found that in order to keep our jobs, our homes or our freedom, we were required to take a pledge of faith, to swear on The Bible that we believed everything the Christians said we ought to.
Those who openly resisted were exiled as INS storm troopers yanked them out of their places of work in order to increase their public humiliation, also collecting any who seemed to follow the Christian unenthusiastically.
The Christian Network became the official TV, radio and internet network, and – at first – the government installed monitors to make certain each of us fulfilled our required hours of viewing. Eventually, the Christian State simply banded all other networks and required us to view the official stations whenever we were not at labor or at prayer.
To fulfill my quota, I left TV, radio and computer on full time, but fled to the bathroom where I could think in peace. I felt a prisoner even in my own home.
Every public place became a cathedral perpetual prayer.
No action, no conversations, no trip nor labor could be conducted without first asking for the Lord’s guidance, nor could cease without our giving Him thanks.
I felt like such a hypocrite mouthing words I could never believe, and grit my teeth during lectures in which I knew the information was factually incorrect.
Fear of ending up like my father kept me initially from making any critical outbursts.
While I had survived the camps in Arizona, my parents had suffered greatly and I owed them much for teaching me the difference between right and wrong.
My silence allowed the angel of wrath to pass over me while dragging away many close to me.
I kept my sanity by continuing to real material long outlawed by the Christian state.
This, of course, required me to purchase materials via the black market at great expense.
But black markets are precarious institutions, easily uncovered, as the Christian police soon did with mine. And those running the back market from which I made my purchases soon gave me up in order to save themselves.
And once found out, I could no longer keep my feelings pent up and added testimony to my conviction by telling the inquisitors exactly what I thought.
Had I known any conspirators, I would certainly have given them up in the weeks without sleep and other torments my Christian captors claimed fell short of the legal definition of torture.
Strangely, I was never so much at peace as I was on the moon.
Perhaps even as abuse as I was, I felt vindicated. For it was impossible for my captors to hide their sadism behind Christian kindness the way they frequently did on Earth.
And perhaps because life with my father in Arizona had hardened me to Christian wrath, I survived this new vengeance.
Since all of us were equally accused, we prisoners banded together in a way we could never have done on Earth, us against our Christian captors
Our jail masters, however, soon understood how ineffective their preaching and torture had become, and how we had managed to turn their exile into a haven of free thought. The masters decided to punish us further by sending us home to live our lives in communities filled with insufferable Christians.
No torture yet inflicted seemed so inhumane as that, and I racked my brain seeking some definitive statement that would cause them to deny be parole, something that might condemn me to a life sentence on the moon – where I would be free from the social order Christians had inflicted upon my home planet.
Finally, anticipating the outraged expression on my inquisitors’ faces, I asked: “Would the world have been a better place in Mother Mary had sought an abortion?”