Hereby, I Start a New Religion
Matthew Luke Smith

Hereby, I give notice
that I am starting
a new religion
based on food preference.

You can only get in if you refuse to eat animal products of any kind.

We will have symbols that will become our trademark,
maybe like a hand with some kind of magic symbol on the palm.
Maybe a red stop sign.
Or something like that.

We will evolve traditions and practices
that will gradually become sacred,
like the cutting of the green pepper
(it will have to be done just so,
with great reverence
using a special knife that has never touched meat
or cut up an egg).

We will have magic amulets and secret handshakes,
but later, when we need to add more members to pay for our new temples,
we will play down the magic amulets,
and the secret handshakes will no longer be secret;
in fact, it will be how we greet each other.

The initiations however, must still be kept secret
and cannot be even mentioned
under penalty of death by
plunging a short blade (that has never touched meat, of course)
into one's own stomach
and then, using a precise left-to-right motion,
removing one's own bowels--
and any other organs that
happen to get in the way.

We will fund scientific studies
that show man has evolved with internal organs
that were never intended to eat meat.
if the studies show the opposite, we will know the researchers are heretics
and ban them from our churches (and our parties).

We will invent a complex lineage that hearkens all the way back to
the origin of the universe,
and a God
that knows a rutabaga from a turnip,
and a messenger from that God
who we will say was sent down to earth
to teach us about the differences between
members of the Onion Family (leeks, chives, shallots, garlic)
and the Squashes (cucumbers, delicata, marrow, pumpkin)
which are actually fruits, but
to show our open-mindedness,
in our sacred ceremonies,
they will be treated as vegetables.

Our sermons will equate what we eat with morality and ethics.

We will have missionaries that spread out across the planet
to proselytize our vegetarian lifestyle (the only truly Holy lifestyle),
and teach the unwashed infidels that
our Way
is the
True Way
and is, in fact,
in perfect symmetry with the forces that underlie the spiritual (and literal)
structure of the universe.

Once we build up our coffers, we will have somebody make us
a bunch of ornate stuff
made out of gold and such
to use in our rituals.

We will avoid human sacrifices
except in unusual circumstances
such as lengthy droughts
really bad floods.

Trances might also be useful at such times.

Meditation is good any old time.

We will have festivals and feasts when the phases of the moon are in sync,
and/or if the planets are aligned in some special way.

We will supervise (and profit from) matrimonial services, births, deaths, and funerary services.

We will evolve complex narratives about our saints who were tortured,
martyred even,
but still refused to let even the essence of animal products pass their lips.

But then, I suppose, modernist liberal offshoots will emerge.
Sects, we will pejoratively call them,
that allow transgressions,
such as tuna sandwiches on Fridays,
or the occasional scrambled egg.

I will know when my new religion has fully matured
when fundamentalist groups emerge to challenge
my interpretation of the sacred scrolls
(I forgot to mention that I would have some sacred scrolls made up)
and issue a fatwa against me.

At that time, I will renounce my misguided past beliefs
start a new religion based on political allegiances.

Or something.

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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