The Common Good

Happy April Fool's Day

Sojomail - April 1, 2004

Editor's Note Happy April Fool's Day!
Quote of the Week Thou shalt not make a record deal unto any idol
H'rumphs Don't hate them because they're beautiful
By the Numbers Should Ralph run?
Signs of the Times Left Behind left behind
Soul Works Don't even try
Culture Watch Hugh Hefner born again, to make The Passion of Solomon
Action Alert Free the Peeps!!!
Politically Connect My Big Fat Obnoxious Iraqi Dictator
Biz Ethics The Enron study Bible
Under the Wire News you may have missed, because we made it up (mostly)
Boomerang You can't please everyone

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Celebrate April Fool's Day with us by enjoying this satirical edition of SojoMail! We won't try to suck the fun out of it with a history lesson, but here's a link if you're interested (including the ancient roots of the holiday in which slaves of the Roman empire celebrated by ruling their masters and mocking the king! Hmmmm.)

We trust you'll share in the spirit of subversive mischief in which it was intended. Feel free to share it with friends by going to: %tellafriend%

Get some justice with your java! A portion of the proceeds from each purchase of organic, fair trade SojoBlend coffee goes to support Sojourners' efforts for justice and peace. Order today at:


"To those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed."

- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, apologizing to the public for failing to prevent William Hung, famous for his bad singing on the TV series American Idol, from securing a record contract. Hung's album, The True Idol, is set to be released April 6. Source: Reuters

Don't hate them because they're beautiful
by Ed Spivey Jr.

Ed Spivey Jr.
The embattled Bush administration has had few political successes recently - what with its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or jobs in America. But few realize that the White House has, in fact, succeeded in one of its most important initiatives. It got rid of the bald guys.

These facts came to light after journalists noticed that most, if not all, outgoing administration officials shared one thing in common, besides writing embarrassing exposes about the failure of Bush policies: they have little hair. Former counterterrorism aide Richard Clarke, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, and former press secretary Ari Fleischer were all replaced through a secret White House mandate to give the staff a more virile, manly persona. The president himself sports an enviable "do" for a man of his age, and those around him, increasingly, are projecting a similar image.

Vice President Dick Cheney, long considered the real power in the White House, has lost considerable clout in recent days, due, one must assume, to his nearly bald pate. For almost a year, Cheney was actually kept in various undisclosed locations, for fear that his bald head would embarrass the administration. Now that he is needed for the re-election campaign, he is nonetheless being kept far away from the White House, forced to give speeches mainly to local chambers of commerce. The president's recent decision for Condoleezza Rice to testify before the 9/11 committee - after strongly refusing to do so - came less from a desire to tell the truth than it was to put another full head of hair in front of the American people.

Who's got great hair? Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority Paul Bremmer does, that's who.
The administration's Good-Hair-Day-in-Chief, of course, is Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator in Iraq who gives frequent press reports with a set jaw, piercing eyes, and hair to die for. Bremer is the undeclared spokesmodel for American determination in any crisis situation, whether it be going to war, dealing with recalcitrant Islamist clerics, or waking up in the morning with your hair flat on one side. And let's face it, in a photo-op with Bremer and six or seven grumpy clerics, it's Bremer's perfect hair that sends a message of undisputed U.S resolve.

This issue has further entangled an already heated election campaign. The presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry has a formidable head of hair to contend with - hair that he boasts has been tested under extreme conditions including the Vietnam War, snowboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and the Vietnam War. His handlers hope to capitalize on his perfectly sculpted coiffure in a new campaign ad: "John Kerry. He never lost a man. Or his Bryll Cream."

It's hard to predict how far the Bush administration's hair-first policy will go. Already questions are being raised about Ari Fleischer's replacement by Scott McClellan, who, despite having twice as much hair as his predecessor, is by all measures thin-skinned and not-quite-ready-for-prime-time. (His favorite response to hard questions from the media is, "DID NOT!" Plus, hair experts think McClellan is mere months away from a comb-over, the pitiful last stand of denial, and a one-way ticket out of a White House.) To be fair, Ari Fleischer - for all the times his shiny scalp reflected camera lights and created false sunspot readings from the Hubble - was single-handedly responsible for holding the press in sheep-like compliance with the Bush line. It was Fleischer, after all, who "kept the lid" on the Bush baldness policy for two years, presumably giving time for his Rogaine treatments to take hold. Sadly, they never did.

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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. - Matthew 5:9

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Should Ralph run?

A "poll" asked a random sample of "people" the following question: How do you respond to Ralph Nader's run for president?


I exhausted my electoral idealism voting for Dennis Kucinich in the primaries. I'll do as I'm told now.
14% I think his electric personality and irresistable charisma are a VERY close second to Kerry's.
6% Somebody told me a vote for Nader was the same as a vote for Bush. I think it has something to do with those new computerized voting machines.
11% Who has Michael Moore endorsed again? Does he still want Wes Clark?
2% Mr. Nader's popularity has become...inconvenient. He must be ignored...with extreme prejudice.
34% I agree with him about everying except abortion. But what the heck - it's not like he'll ever be elected.

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Call to Renewal's Pentecost 2004

Call to Renewal's Pentecost 2004"Join us in Washington as we tell politicians and the nation that reducing poverty is a religious and electoral issue in 2004. Our convictions on other issues do not prevent us as Christians from uniting to overcome poverty." - Jim Wallis

Join Us For a Pentecost Show of Unity
May 23-25, 2004
Washington Plaza Hotel, Washington, DC

* Plenary Panels * Washington National Cathedral Worship Service featuring Rev. James A. Forbes * Keynote Luncheon with Bill Moyers * Congressional Prayer Breakfast and More! Register at:

Left Behind left behind: Rapture occurs, sales of popular series plummets
Authors and publishers hurt by lost revenue, agonies of tribulation

The global disappearance of Christians earlier this week attributed to the "rapture" predicted by premillennial theologians, and the corresponding disappearance of Left Behind books from bestseller lists have left authors Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, and their publishers discouraged and soul-searching. They're also disappointed that they were not among the airplane pilots, school bus drivers, or toll booth operators taken up to heaven in the wink of an eye, leaving behind piles of empty clothing as well as chaos, terror, and inconvenience, respectively.

When asked why the rapture hurt sales of a series that would seem more timely than ever, Jenkins commented, "Apparently the folks who've actually been left behind aren't interested in reading about it. And I can see why - it's a real kick in the teeth for me personally. This goes way beyond bitter irony."

Related headlines:

President Cheney forms new Department of Homeland Tribulation

"Law-abiding church-goers have nothing to fear," states Attorney General

Raptured Christians had penchant for name-brand quality, say merchants

Souls safely in possession of networks, production continues uninterrup - Wait, if I'm writing this, I'm not saved either! Auuugh!

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Don't even try

In the spiritual life, it is essential to remove one's focus from the results of one's prayers, meditations, and contemplations. Only when one has eliminated one's desire for truth, enlightenment, or whatever one chooses to call it, will one ultimately gain perfect and total knowledge of all reality, meaning, and experience. It's kind of like when you want to fall asleep, but the more you want to fall asleep, you can't, because you're stressing about needing to fall asleep because you have a really important speech, or meeting, or job thing the next day, and so all you can do is think about how badly you need to get some sleep. I usually just take some pills. Or if I've run out of them, maybe watch TV for a while. Of course, if God doesn't want you to fall asleep, it's just not going to happen, no matter how hard you try. Same with enlightenment.

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Hugh Hefner born again, to make The Passion of Solomon

Hugh Hefner to make sexy biblical epic.
Evangelical audiences who flocked to see Mel Gibson's graphic portrayal of The Passion of the Christ may get another eyeful when Hugh Hefner, on fire for God after a near-death conversion experience, releases his equally graphic The Passion of Solomon. Says the aging Hefner, "After a life as America's playboy, I wanted to use my gifts for Jesus and make a film that does for biblical sex what Gibson did for biblical violence."

This Passion promises to be no less controversial than the former. Critics question the film's R rating, suggesting that the film is little more than pornography. Hefner's response: "Yea maybe, but it's in the Bible. Bring the kids."

Feminists have labeled Hefner's vision of Solomon's exploits among 700 wives and 300 concubines a non-stop parade of mind-numbing misogyny. "Their problem isn't with me, it's with scripture," says an unrepentant Hefner. "Just be glad I didn't make a movie about Lot and his daughters in Genesis 19:30-38 - now that's some whack shinizzle!"

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Looking for books noted in Sojourners? Frustrated that many bookstores don't understand the kind of titles you want? Want to support a small independent business trying to offer a radical Christian witness in the marketplace? Order through Hearts & Minds, . We do new book reviews each month - see our rave of Lauren Winner or our passionate critique of the sexist Wild at Heart. From Henri Nouwen to Wendell Berry or Walt Brueggemann; Ron Sider to Marva Dawn; John Perkins, Joan Chittister, or Dan Berrigan, we stock books to inspire the mind and enlarge the heart.

Stop cruelty, exploitation, and genetic modification this Easter Season!!
Demand organic, free-range, hormone-free, and fair trade Marshmallow Peeps!!!

Cruel experiments are performed on Peeps to guarantee their flavor, texture, and sweet, sweet goodness. IT'S AN OUTRAGE!
Every year, dozens of Marshmallow Peeps are consumed by children around the world! Or at least the parts that celebrate Easter! But how many chubby-cheeked consumers think about the process that these precious peeps go through before they rot our teeth and clog our arteries?! Peeps are kept in small shrink-wrapped confinement, unable to move, in order to remain soft, and tender, and oh so sweeeet...AND they are subject to painful testing under extreme conditions - see links below!

THIS OUTRAGE MUST STOP!! Write "Save the peeps!" on a $20 bill and mail it to:

Save the Peeps/New Ping-Pong Table Fund
c/o Sojourners
2401 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20009



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Reality TV gone wild? The story behind My Big Fat Obnoxious Iraqi Dictator
Iraq invasion unfortunate result of out-of-control cast members, say sheepish producers

Saddam Hussein accepts a dozen roses from Donald Rumsfeld during their courtship in 1983.
Producers for the Fox television network recently revealed that the U.S. government had been duped by Saddam Hussein as part of a long-running reality show, My Big Fat Obnoxious Iraqi Dictator. The idea for the show was for a brutal and corrupt head of state to form a close relationship with the U.S., and then see just how obnoxious he could become and still remain in power.

Throughout the '70s and '80s, Saddam formed a cozy relationship with the U.S., including a 1983 meeting with then special envoy Donald Rumsfeld to renew diplomatic "relations." And despite some pretty obnoxious behavior, including chemical attacks against Kurdish villages and Iran, U.S. corporations and government agencies continued to provide parts, material, training, and other assistance to Iraq's chemical, biological, missile, and nuclear weapons programs! Saddam was doing great!

Then he got cocky and invaded Kuwait - bad move for Saddam but great for ratings! After getting smacked back to Baghdad, he tried a desperate ploy of hard-to-get that left viewers apathetic throughout most of the '90s, while the U.S. returned the cold shoulder with sanctions that killed an estimated 500,000 children (by UNICEF estimates). After 9/11, when it was obvious that Bush and his neocons had completely "lost that lovin' feeling," Saddam readmitted arms inspectors. But it was too late, the show was over.

"I felt kind of bad tricking them that whole time," says a circumspect Hussein. "I mean, I never thought they'd really invade - what with the whole entire world wanting us to make up. But in the end, I really learned a lot about relationships. And about myself."

Though many viewers were ultimately disappointed in Hussein's performance, they thought he was much more believable than Gen. Manuel Noriega in 1989's Survivor: Panama.

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The birds are chirping, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and we're cleaning up the Sojourners Resource Center.

We've got books, study guides, tapes, sweatshirts, posters, buttons, stickers, and back issues at bargain prices. Order today at: or call: 1-800-714-7474


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  • The Megachurch PowerPoint Bible for Mass Consumption (BMC)
  • The Jesus Seminar Take-It-Or-Leave-It Heavily Revised Non-Standard Version (HRNSV)
  • The King George Authorized Pax Americana Vulgate (PAV)



In-depth commentaries on the tough issues you face every day, such as:

  • Getting a camel through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24) with easy-to-understand diagrams!
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  • Having an answer for bleeding-heart do-gooder guilt-mongers who want you to sell all you have and give to the poor (Luke 18:18-22)

Leading scholars provide the loopholes you need to keep from getting "burned" like these guys:

  • The rich fool (Luke 12:20)
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PLUS: Guilt-inducing passages printed in light gray type - you'll hardly notice them at all!
(Including: 1 Timothy 6:9-11, Matthew 6:24, Luke 1:53, and that wet blanket James 5:1-6 - ouch!)

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- Ken Lay, former Enron CEO and member of the board of trustees at First United Methodist Church in Houston.

"At last, someone has accumulated the kind of teaching that tickles my itching ears."
- Bernie Ebbers, former WorldCom CEO, teaches Sunday school at Easthaven Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

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News you may have missed, because we made it up (mostly)

Network to be no less "fair and balanced" than before, officials claim - critics agree.

Perot's small head, large ears, and rapid, high-pitched speaking voice will balance Democratic ticket, say pundits

"It likeneth unto a 'sit-in' only mit Scheisse" say bearded and bonneted activists opposing Amish in the City

The rare politicians are becoming nearly as scarce as 'compassionate conservatives,' say experts


by Charles Dickinson

If Christianity - without losing its soul - is yet to avoid losing touch with the world, it must constantly update itself by dialogue with all the intellectual currents of today. To this end, the author proposes a necessary two-way dialectic between theology and the world, an ongoing dialectic ultimately essential to both church and world. $25 hardcover. To order call (313) 624-9784. Dove Booksellers, 13904 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan, 48126.


Moonbeam Solstice writes from his nihilist commune on the outskirts of San Francisco, California:

Cancel my subscription immediately! As a Republican athiest I'm so blinded with rage at your consistently wrong-headed "pro-God" and anti-American stance that I can now barely see my computer and have been reduced to stabbing haphazardly at the keyboard. Hopefully spell-cheeck will catch most of my mmistakes - thank God for Billl Gates. (UNless you're an athiest like me andthen youll just thank the evolutinoary process and a random series of genetic mutations over millions of years for Bill Gates. [Thank God for CHarles Darwin]). When wil you sissies lern that it is not until you stop worshiping your "Jesus" and bow the kneee to King George W our REAL Savior that their will be piece on earth - at least for True Americans cause the rest of you (and yeah, i'm talking to you too, Canada) will be paddling to China where you can keep your commie theology and eat rice all day!


Brittany Cohen writes from her organic tobacco farm in Kenly, North Carolina:

Cancel my subscription - YESTERDAY!! As a Christian fundamentalist member of the Green Party I am currently lying in a hospital bed recovering from the apoplectic fit that I had upon reading your recent election coverage that refuses to recognize the OBVIOUS reality that the Green Party is God's Party in 2004! IT'S IN REVELATIONS, PEOPLE!!! In chapter six, the first three horses of the apocolypse are white, red, and black - symbolizing white for the Republicans (duh!), red for the Democrats (or as I like to call them, "Commiecrats"), and the Black Panther Party. Each of these parties has had their chance to rule America at one time or another (well, the Panthers really only ruled the NFC until their defeat in the Super Bowl, but I digress...often), but the FOURTH horse is the GREEN horse and this election year is the FOURTH year of the new MILLENIUM! Any fool with a SCOFIELD KING JAMES BIBLE in one hand, USA Today in the other, and CBN on the TV could figure that out!!!!


Kristjan Juliusson writes from Reykjavík, Iceland:

SojoMail, you are my anchor in the storm. Sometimes I feel so ice-o-lated (get it) because living here in Iceland with almost no crime, national healthcare, and limitless supplies of renewable geothermal energy, I sometimes forget that the world is a violent, unjust place on the verge of environmental catastrophe. Thanks, SojoMail, for reminding me just how bad things really are.


Douglas Daft writes from Atlanta, Georgia:

I've been reading SojoMail for three weeks now and my patience has finally run out. When will fence-straddling Sojourners finally have the political and moral courage to quit trying to have it both ways and take a stand on what everyone knows is the defining issue of the 21st century that has divided America, even the world, for too long: "Soda" or "pop"? WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?! There is no middle ground. None. I can just hear Jim Wallis saying, "But why can't we all agree on 'soft drink?'" or David Batstone trying to convince us that "carbonated beverage" is the socially responsible thing to say. Nonsense! We all know that is merely the smarmy jargon of namby-pamby politicos and soulless corporate drink-speak that will never be accepted by those of us who love truth, justice, and fizzy refreshment.


Kaetlynne Oshiro, like, writes from, like, her house:

Oh. My. Gosh. My friend Jessica just said that, like, David Batstone totally looks like Bruce Willis. And I said, "Ohmygosh! You're totally right!" That is SO wierd. Then she said, "I wonder if he had plastic surgery like Michael Jackson did to look like Diana Ross." And I said, "As IF! If David Batstone had plastic surgery, he'd probably want to look like Gandhi or Jesus or something." And then she said, "I wonder which one would be cuter: Gandhi, Jesus, or Bruce Willis?" And then I said, "Don't even go there! The struggle for peace, justice, and human dignity is not about who's the cutest!" And then she said, "Woah. That is, like, so DEEP...." Yeah, I'm like, totally spiritual and stuff.


Binney Smith writes from Easton, Pennsylvania:

For an organization that claims to be "Christian" you certainly seem to love Buddha more than Jesus. How can I tell? Everything's orange - just like the color of Buddhist robes that I saw in National Geographic once. You should robe your Web site in powder blue, which, according to the flannelgrams we used in Sunday School class, is the color of the robes of Jesus Christ. Cancel my subscription. And don't come crying back to me saying, "We're sorry! You were right and we changed everything to blue just like you said!" It's too late. I know your true colors.


Boomerang is an open forum for what many of us are thinking but are afraid to say out loud. Send all rants, screeds, and vitriol to: . We reserve the right to pass on messages we deem suspicious to the Department of Homeland Security. Also, please keep in mind that this week's SATIRICAL edition of SojoMail was in observance of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. So take a deep breath. Now another. Now do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about. Now you don't feel so angry you? You don't need to write that angry letter you? No...of course not.

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