My So-called Life: A short prayer for the house of Bush

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Dear Mr Bush,

Dear Mr Bush,

I congratulate you on your recent victory, which was also a wonderful victory for religious faith. Some people say that the trouble with born-again Christians is that it's hard not to wish they hadn't been born the first time, but I disagree. I like Cliff Richard, for example, who can still cut it in leather trousers without, I believe, looking too abominably poofy, and so offending our Lord. Which brings me to the main purpose of this letter. Mr Bush, I wholly admire your stance not just on homosexuality, but also on abortion, which horrifically does away with the innocent before they are born rather than afterwards when they happen to be Iraqis or life prisoners in Texas. As we know, being gay and having abortions are both against God's Laws as laid down in the Old Testament, and there is absolutely no getting round them. I, too, try to live by these laws - all of them, as a good religious person should - but sometimes it's not easy. Here are a few examples of my trials:

1) The other day, passing All Bar One, I glanced in and saw my neighbour Sue sitting at a table with a man. I did not recognise her companion. Sue is a married woman, yet she was leaning towards the man while he was looking at her in quite an interested manner. He's coveting her, I thought, and she's obviously up for being coveted. Sue is a concubine! As adultery is forbidden (Exod. 20:14) and the penalty is death (Deut. 22:22), I felt I had no alternative but to stone her. I did this next time we bumped into each other outside Clinton Cards in Crouch End. This, let me tell you, hurt me as much as it hurt her, as I knew I would never be able to borrow her 24ins Le Creuset casserole (graphite) again. It was a good stoning (Hornsey Journal 7:15). Even the lady from Clinton Cards, who spends most of her time rearranging the Forever Friends display, broke rank and came out for a look. But then some people came in a big van with a flashing siren on it and took me away for a long time. When I finally returned home, I went next door to ask Sue's widowed husband if he had made any big stews lately and, if not, could I have the Le Creuset pot? But he just slammed the door in my face and said: "Piss off. And don't you ever come back again." Sometimes it is hard to love thy neighbour (Lev. 18.19). The fact that the strange man was Sue's brother is neither here nor there, as our Lord sees everything and so knew she was a filthy concubine underneath.

2) I went to the dentist. He took it upon himself to take out one of my teeth. So I went back the next day and took out one of his. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Exod. 21:23) and all that. Afterwards, I went to the opticians, but they shut and locked the door when they saw me coming. Do you agree that as a religious group we are sometimes badly discriminated against?

3) The Lord loves a burnt offering as a sacrifice (Lev. 1:3). As I understand it, it's his favourite thing; bar chocolate- covered raisins, The West Wing and Vaseline Intensive Care for His dry elbows. However, livestock in the form of lambs and rams being in short supply here in north London, I had to put our cat, Basil, on the barbecue. The Lord obviously liked this because once I'd got Basil going with a few firelighters and a generous dousing of petrol, he went up a treat. Whoosh! But now I appear to be wanted by the Cat Protection League. I've already told them I had recently caught Basil sniffing the bottom of Kevin, next door's ginger tom, which is an abomination in itself, but they won't be having it. I've now got my eye on Ernie, our hamster, who has quite a gift for interior design and worships Graham Norton, a false God if ever there was one (Exod. 20:22). I might have to smash up his cage, even though he's only just redecorated it with lots of cushions and reclaimed oak flooring.

4) If my husband should die, then his nearest brother must marry me (Deut. 25:5). If he does not, as he probably won't, largely because of the Cliff collection which, he says no one should be expected to live with, I can take off one of his sandals and then spit in his eye. From then on his family line will be known in Israel as The Family of The Unsandalled. (Deut. 26.10) I do not know what the family will be known as outside Israel. If my brother in law does not marry me, I will do all that and then smite him, too. I might even smite him while humming Mistletoe and Wine.

5) A woman who is having her period is "unclean" (Lev. 15:19). She can not be touched in any circumstances. She can't even pass the salt to a man. How can you know, though? Well, Mr Bush, you could say: "If you are not menstruating, could you please pass me the salt. But, on the other hand, if the painters are in and you're on the rag, please don't." This works particularly well if said in a loud voice at formal meetings and during summits. Always quiz Condoleezza Rice closely, as I suspect she is quite sly.

6) Isn't it time you sold your daughters into slavery, as sanctioned in (Exodus 21:7)? They're getting on a bit now and won't be worth quite so many shekels soon. Also, if they turn out not to be virgins on their wedding nights, they have to be stoned to death. The alternative is to show the town the wedding night "cloths" should they prove the girls are virgins. I'd go for stoning, if I were you. I can assist.

7) My own son, Mr Bush, has proved a trial to me. Indeed, he recently not only refused to hold Basil down on the barbecue while I lit it, he also said. "Mum, you're a loony." A disobedient son who disses his mother must be put to death (Deut. 21:18) Luckily, being a religious person, I carry stones at all times, and so I did him in later that day outside Budgens as Clinton Cards now has a sign in the window that reads: "No stonings outside the shop." It was another good stoning (Hornsey Journal 8:11) but then they came to take me away in that van again, manhandling me into the back without even checking if I had the painters in or not.

Mr Bush, I now find myself in a small room wearing an odd kind of jacket with ties at the back. They've taken away all my stones. All I've tried to do is live according to all the biblical laws, rather than the few that might support the beliefs I have anyway. Pray for me.

Yours, Deborah Ross

PS: I really, really miss my stones.