St. Peter settled into his chair. It looked like another long day — but every day’s a long day when you’re holding the keys of the kingdom. Peter has plenty of help for this day-to-day stuff, but he still likes to pull a shift at the pearly gates.
Halfway through the morning an interesting case approached the bench.
“So, in life you were a talk radio host.” St. Peter peered over his glasses. Standing before him was an ordinary looking man whose head was shaped rather like a light bulb. He was sweating and looking down at his shoes. “On the radio in Albany for 30 years. Albany. That’s certainly the minors.”
St. Peter flipped through a thick pile of paper.
“You said some pretty colorful things about people. Immigrants, refugees, Muslims, women, gays, lesbians, transgender. State workers, union members, cops, firemen, teachers. You’re tough on politicians. I suppose I get that, but you called Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ 37 times in one morning? Really. Shall I go on, this is a very long list?”
“St. Peter, you need to understand, that’s not me — it’s just my act. It’s a radio show, it’s supposed to be entertainment. I don’t really believe all that stuff that I say.”
“Ah, entertainment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that. Remember the Romans feeding people to the lions? Entertainment. Dogfighting? Entertainment. Cop Rock? Entertainment.”
There was silence.
“C’mon, smile, that was a joke.”
St. Peter shoved his files aside.
“Look, maybe you didn’t believe everything you said — actually, I can’t accept that anyone would be so stupid — but do you think the people who listened to you understood that it was an act? I think they heard someone who echoed back the fear and hatred in their hearts.”
“What about them,” the host asked. “I was just saying that stuff — the listeners were the ones doing the hating.”
More silence. It was a moment, but it felt like a week.
“Well, I was going to ask if you’re ready to repent, but you already answered my question.”
St. Peter started tapping on his keyboard (a 27-inch iMac, in case you’re wondering) and cleared his throat.
“OK, here’s what’s going to happen. We’re sending you downstairs to think this over. We grant you an appeal automatically, but as you can imagine, there’s quite a wait before we hear your case. Right now, our next opening is in… March 2896. You’ll get a letter with the exact date.”
An angel stepped up to lead the man away.
“Hey, don’t look so glum, it could be worse. One of your friends will be down there to join you soon. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Trump. Donald Trump? OK, who’s next?”