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Tony Bender

Bender: God is angry with North Dakota

Last week, as we dug out from yet another “bomb cyclone,” I wondered why it's been such a brutal winter. I know, you think because I'm a tree-hugging liberal, I'm going to say “climate change.” Nope. (I got paid $5,000 from the Koch Brothers to deny it.)

Actually, I've had an epiphany. These epic storms are a sign of God's anger with North Dakota — specifically, the Republican-dominated legislature. If that's so, you ask, why were liberals buried up to their neck tattoos in snow drifts, as well? Simple. Collateral damage. The Almighty doesn't do finesse. He does fire... brimstone... and locusts (in season). God does shock and, “aww, sorry about that.”

The Only True God in Heaven Above smote North Dakota again because the legislature allowed a Hindu prayer on the floor of the House. Holy cow! It's the First Commandment — the whole no other gods before me thing! How could you miss that one? Geez, you might as well eat shellfish.

Hey, I'm as open-minded as the next North Dakotan, but if you ask me, freedom of religion is a slippery slope. I, for one, am too easily influenced. Back in 2015, when the legislature allowed a Muslim prayer, I immediately converted. It was like getting hypnotized. I even wore a burka for a time before Achmed explained the rules. After that prayer we had a drought. Our Christian God doesn't want us showing reverence to Muslim Jesus, Muslim Moses or Muslim Abraham.

Full disclosure: I briefly flirted with becoming a Black Muslim in 1974, because I admired Muhammad Ali, but after Curt Smith bounced my head off a study hall desk like he was dribbling a basketball, I realized I didn't have a future in the ring, so I went back to being Lutheran. But one Muslim prayer was all it took for me to relapse. There should be a 12-step program or something.

Hindus believe in reincarnation, so if you mess up this time, you get a mulligan, which is a pretty sweet deal, but not as sweet as sinning like Charlie Sheen, then begging forgiveness on your deathbed. Why does that rule reminds me a little of tag-team wrestling? Overall, Christianity is more efficient than Hinduism — Lutheranism, anyway, not Catholicism, which has more rules, but apparently not enough of them, if you follow the news.

Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, a Lutheran minister, wanted to protest the Hindu prayer like a good Christian, but he was afraid if he walked out he'd come back as a Democrat and wind up sitting on the left hand of God with Mike Pence on the right, looking insufferably smug. You know how he gets. So Hoverson hid in back with other Defenders of the Faith. Hinduism worked out well for the Sergeant-at-Arms, though. He stepped out briefly and came back as a four-star general.

At this point, you're probably wondering, because I'm so easily led astray, if I've converted to Hinduism. Ommm, technically, no, but I've been binge-watching a lot of M. Night Shyamalan movies. It's worrisome. I pray for the strength to remain an American. I mean Christian. Heck, same thing, right?

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.

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