Friday, August 2, 2013
A Little More Religious Freedom
Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife had turned ashen in disbelief and was ogling him with alarm. “You’d better not talk that way about Him, honey,” she warned him reprovingly in a low and hostile voice. “He might punish you.”
“Isn’t He punishing me enough?” Yossarian snorted resentfully. “You know, we certainly mustn’t let Him get away with it. Oh, no, we certainly mustn’t let Him get away scot free for all the sorrow He’s caused us. Someday I’m going to make him pay. I know when. On the Judgement Day. Yes, that’s the day I’ll be close enough to reach out and grab that little yokel by His neck and –”
“Stop it! Stop it!” Leiutenant Scheisskopf’s wife screamed suddenly, and began beating him ineffectually about the head with both fists. “Stop it!”
Yossarian ducked behind his arm for protection while she slammed away at him in feminine fury for a few seconds, and then he caught her determinedly by the wrists and forced her gently back down on the bed.
“What the hell are you getting so upset about?” he asked her bewilderedly in a tone of contrite amusement. “I thought you didn’t believe in God.”
“I don’t,” she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. “But the God I don’t believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He’s not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.”
Yossarian laughed and turned her arms loose. “Let’s have a little more religious freedom between us,” he proposed obligingly. “You don’t believe in the God you want to, and I won’t believe in the God I want to. Is that a deal?”
--Joseph Heller, Catch-22.