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It was unbelievable, which of course, was not the right word to choose. The dossier laying fresh on the table was as thorough as it was depressing. The polls coming out of Gallup, Pew, and Harris all agreed that belief in God was at an all-time low. Even Fox News reported it.

Doubters and haters were everywhere these days. It used to be easy to mishear or overlook the occasional name in vain or forsaking curses; there was always so much to do. But the Twitter mentions? Those were archived, always gathering, and just a click away. And omniscient or not, everyone is curious.

The Angel Cabinet convened several meetings on the matter.

They demanded a rival.

A rival meant a conflict, they said. A conflict would bring them back into the limelight, they said. And that limelight would be the first step in winning back the believers. It would be a refreshing reminder to the people. So pick a rival, they said, any rival. And the Angels would work out the rest.

The Angels were clear. Not an enemy. That was old news. God had a lonnnnnng list of enemies already: idolaters, ISIS, Dippin’ Dots, etc. They called for a rival. And just one, so, better make it a good one.

But rivals were for college football, Cola Wars, and Game of Thrones houses, not the Lord Almighty. Think, God, think!

A rival needed some pluckiness; it had to put up a good fight but still be defeatable. Preferably something self-righteous and also a bit immoral.

The easy pick would be The Devil.

but a cliché like that was out of the question; it was too… safe. People would be expecting a tectonic plate-trembling stare down between God and Satan, taking place at a melted polar ice cap or Keeping Up with the Kardashians wrap party or somewhere else The Dark Lord had done his evil bidding.

Not so different, you and I,” Lucifer would utter slyly, before making some kind of grandiose last stand. No thanks.

What about science?

An intangible rival seems like a great match. Even though that whole Dan Brown thing had come and gone years ago, people still loved thinking that science and piety were opposing forces. An omnipotent power move like reversing climate change would be a huge blow to the science community, but would it catch enough people’s attention? And wasn’t that kind of miracle contrary to God’s own lesson for mankind?

Besides, science already had enemies, and they were not really the crowd with whom you’d want to be associated. Better off to not get lost in the fray with Jenny McCarthy or Ted Nugent. Plus, would it be worth getting on Neil Degrasse-Tyson’s bad side? The man is no Carl Sagan, but he knows his shit.

Come to think of it, wouldn’t a rival potentially delegitimize God and give the rival more power? Nothing is equal to God; that’s the whole point. The same way having all of The Avengers fight just one bad guy actually made each individual Avenger look much weaker.

Focus. They’re waiting on an answer.

God’s best thinking always happened on the toilet (Where did you think we got it from? Man was created in God’s image, after all.). So God sat down, pulled out an iPhone 7 and asked, “Siri, who would be good as a rival?”

“Are you looking for good arrival times to Jerusalem?”

Tim Cook was too small of a villain, but dang if God didn’t want to make an example of Apple right now.

Come on, God! The answer had to be around here somewhere. Providing answers, along with archaic, vaguely-written lifehacks, were God’s whole thing. Maybe God just had to change the method of finding this one.

Stop seeking. Miracles always appear when one isn’t looking…

And that’s when God scrolled through Facebook and saw a friend post about Donald Trump. And then saw a former colleague “like” a photo that asked for a “like” if you agreed that the Second Amendment was an endangered species. And below that, a baby holding blocks reading “15 weeks.” Scrolling faster and faster, God saw a friend promoting Beachbody and a cousin seeking guidance on “a trustworthy and affordable cleaning lady outside of Houston.”


The United States.

The United Fucking States. It was almost too easy. They were the the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth, and, oh boy, did they love reminding themselves of that fact.

America, the beautiful. America, the corporate and braggadocios. Sprinkling their hypocrisies everywhere. Promoting and then undermining their precious independence.

God opened up the group text with The Angel Cabinet. God typed out, “The United States” and added the flame emoji. This was gonna be fun.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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