Gil Santana had it all: He was the model conservative for the new millennium. Gil was born and reared in Southern California, naturally, and his given name evoked the rich diversity of the state that had once symbolized the American dream: Kim Kwame Kaplan Santana, each part representing one fourth of his Korean, African, Jewish, and Mexican heritages—a sort of postmodern Ku Klux Klan. On the Mexican side, Kim (as he was then known) laid claim to being a nephew or cousin of the legendary rocker Carlos Santana, and, after a few glasses of sparkling Moscato, he would even declare himself a descendant of the Mexican general who massacred the defenders of the Alamo. It was always good for a laugh at a La Raza meeting.
The story of how he got the name Gilbert adds another dimension to his diverse identity. In the late 90’s, young Kim had taken the route, so fashionable then as now, of turning gay, though he often claimed to be more bi than gay. His orientation helped get him elected to the L.A. city council as a left-wing Democrat. Then, after deciding that he was really a woman trapped in a man’s body, he had himself surgically altered, which was a help in his successful run for the California legislature. He did not even have to change his name from Kim. But, in hopes of taking the Bay area in a gubernatorial race, he proclaimed himself a lesbian, which was no problem since he had always actually preferred girls—the whole homo-bi-trannie thing being somewhere between a fashionable affectation and a political stratagem.
Smart as he/she undoubtedly was, Kim realized that California was fast becoming a political as well as an economic black hole. Hoping to avoid the fate of Nancy Pelosi, who could not so much as appear publicly outside her state, he pulled up stakes and moved to Texas, which everyone said was the new California. With his Mexican surname, he felt confident of winning over the state’s “Latino” majority, but he faced formidable competition from other Mexican Democrats. Once he got the lay of the land, he decided to switch both party and sex in order to win over the support of native Texans who had been burned once too often by the carpetbagging Bushes and their Nevada-born and Utah-bred hatchet man. The party change was only a matter of switching slogans, though the reversion to masculinity required some complicated replumbing. After many hours of surgery and a quick read through the complete works of Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich, Kim reemerged as a 100-percent masculine member of the Grand Old Party.
Elected to the legislature, Kim set his sights on becoming governor of Texas. During the Republican primary, one of his old-fashioned rivals had the impudence to ask him what sex he belonged to. When the unabashed Kim described himself as “retrosexual,” some Dallas wag (it might have been Bill Murchison), noting that his various identities could be spelled out as GLBRT, dubbed him Gilbert, and it was as Gilbert Santana that he was elected as the first Gay Lesbian Bisexual Retrosexual Transsexual Republican governor of Texas and ultimately the first GLBRT president of the United States. His admirers—and they were legion—dubbed him Gilbert the First.
Campaigning for president as a conservative, Gil promised to hold the line on moral issues. Of course, he promised, he would not turn back the clock on gender equality or gay marriage, but he absolutely repudiated the Democrats’ call for lowering the age of sexual consent to 11, as well as President Hillary Clinton’s proposal to require churches to perform same-sex marriages. Twelve, he insisted, was the perfect age for young men and women to make their own decision, while at 11 they might be subject to unfair pressures from sexual predators. Like President Clinton, however, he promised to revive the death penalty for clergymen who had made improper suggestions to anyone under the age of 18.
These prudently conservative positions won him the endorsement of family-values organizations across the country, and he enjoyed the distinction of being the first Republican presidential candidate ever to be endorsed by The American Conservative. Gus K. Wunderhorn of the Institute for Family Values was practically in tears as he confessed that he had been wrong to stand in the way of human rights.
There were, of course, a few dissenting voices: From the Christine Jorgenson Home for Retired Sociopaths, Barmy Frunk denounced Gil as a fascist who stood in the way of gender justice. At least that is what people thought he said: It had been decades since anyone had actually understood a word the congressman had spoken. Most other Democrats went easy on him, however, since, as I said at the beginning, he had it all.
True to his conservative colors, Gil began to reverse himself even before the champagne at the inaugural ball went flat. In one of his first televised addresses, he said that his transsexual daughter had told him she had been having relations with a teacher from the age of ten, and it had not hurt her a bit, and that same teacher—who taught catechism at the diocesan school—had explained to her that Catholic meant “universal.” The Catholic Church could never be truly Catholic until She joined the 21st century and married any two human beings, so long as they had reached the magic age of 11. With full bipartisan support, he passed the Universal Freedom of Religion Act (UFRA), making it illegal for churches to deny any sacrament or ceremony to anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, age (so long, of course, as they were 11), sex, or gender.
The mainline churches—the UCC, ELCA, PC(USA)—caved in immediately. Many independent Bible churches swore oaths of resistance, but they were too disunited to make a concerted stand. Campbellites could not even submerge their differences over instrumental music in church, and Gary North was still squabbling with his father-in-law’s more hard-core followers over what the blood of the lamb really was. One by one these disjointed fragments of Christendom found themselves stripped of their tax-exempt status and subjected to fines and penalties. Some recalcitrant pastors refused to pay. Their faith, along with their upper-body muscles, was strengthened in federal prison; the rest quickly learned the virtue of prudence. After all, one of them explained, the principles of a purpose-driven life are accessible to all who follow Him in Whom there is no hetero or homo.
The last outposts of Christianity in the post-Christian West—Greece, Serbia, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, and especially Russia—gave refuge to fleeing Orthodox and traditionalist Catholics. The European Parliament protested against the admission of so many bigots into Europe, but ever since the collapse of the European Union, which ended the financial crisis, the writ of the European Union did not run south of France.
For El Presidente, as he was affectionately known in the recently rechristened state of TexMexia, the one big question mark was the Catholic Church. Though he often went to temples (Jewish as well as Buddhist), Gil was a nominal Catholic, and that had been enough to attract the support of the American Church’s leadership. As soon as UFRA was passed, many older bishops began to backtrack on their opposition to gay marriage. On the one hand, they declared, gay marriage was canonically impossible, but, on the inevitable other hand, they defended themselves by pointing out how gay-friendly the Church had been for decades. What was needed was not a redefinition of the sacrament, but a new rite, something like the ceremony they had recently invented for dedicating nuns to sacramental service. These nuns—all with advanced theological degrees—were not priests or even deacons, but they were invested with the power to perform the sacraments. The hardliners had stipulated that the sisters could not be called father, but had to be content with the title mother. “What’s in a name?” asked the hardline bishops (though there were rumors that even they were beginning to cave on this point).
Times had changed, however, and although most younger bishops were still knee-jerk leftists on questions of capital punishment and immigration, they were not going to budge on either abortion or same-sex marriage. (Some were even grumbling that the sale of annulments was as scandalous as the sale of indulgences.) What they did changed the Church forever, or at least for a generation, which is forever in this age of Google Glass, brain implants, and Mind-Twitter.
The radicals had seen the handwriting on the wall even before the end of the millennium. When governments started cracking down on Church organizations that refused to permit gay couples to adopt children, some radical Catholic intellectuals began to rethink the wisdom of the Church’s involvement with the state. By the time ObamaCare was being debated and the American Council of Catholic Bishops (ACCB) was equivocating, the radicals began holding secret meetings. The first and greatest hurdle they had to get over was the ingrained delusion that marriage could be defined, redefined, or (except on peripheral matters involving inheritance and citizenship) even regulated by government. On the contrary, they finally realized, marriage is a natural institution that links a man and a woman and their respective families in order to produce and bring up children.
While they did not openly oppose ACCB’s futile efforts to pass “definition of marriage” statutes or even bother to condemn the Republicans’ pernicious Defense of Marriage Act, the radicals so successfully infiltrated seminaries and colleges that the historical Christian understanding of marriage began to replace the liberal theory that had been taught for 100 years. In the seminaries, they also stepped up academic requirements, which meant that instead of churning out thousands of limp-wristed ignoramuses, a new generation of priests were taking over parishes—disciplined, virile, and educated men who could read Saint Thomas and were sane enough to tell a raven from a writing desk. The radicals learned not to trust any priest or seminarian who was not at least trying to learn Latin. By the time the crisis came, a majority of Catholics had at least heard of their doctrine of “marriage liberation,” and a significant minority had been converted to it.
On the practical level, they began preparing Catholics to accept their proposal for a complete disentangling of Church and government. The ACCB continued to call for vouchers to support Catholic schools, but their tired arguments fell on deaf ears, as the federal government continued to encroach on the rights of all Christian churches to remain true to their faith. Invoking the historic American language of the “separation of church and state,” the radicals went to the big funders of the pro-life cause and persuaded them to give up their failed efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade and concentrate their resources on assisting dioceses and parishes to get out from under government control.
They used the same efforts to persuade Catholics in the pews to tithe more generously, but their efforts only met with success when they quit wasting good money on youth ministries, Zumba Masses, and the RCIA indoctrination classes designed to prevent anyone of even average IQ from joining the Church. When the crunch came, nearly half the dioceses in America no longer depended on a tax-exempt status.
Catholics were not alone: True-believing Orthodox, Lutheran, and Calvinist Christians, without surrendering one whit of their hostility to the Scarlet Woman, joined the resistance and pledged their support. As a slogan, they adopted an old phrase of Srdja Trifkovic: the ecumenism of the antiecumenical.
When President Gil Santana learned that the radical bishops were holding a meeting in Nebraska, he announced his plans to address the group. Although he had been warned privately not to come, Gil persisted and flew to Lincoln with an entourage of “Catholic” politicians. It was not much of a risk, he reasoned, since the Church had not even pretended to stand up to the secular powers that be since the death of Pius XII. Times had changed, however, and at the opening Mass of the informal conclave, when Gil, Biden, and Pelosi came up to receive communion, they were pointedly refused. Instead of the Host, they were given a sealed document listing their crimes—support for abortion, divorce, and homosexuality, and the murder of civilians, Christian as well as Muslim, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Serbia.
Gilbert Santana was nothing if not a realist. He had trimmed his political sails in pursuit of power, and he had more than once altered his sex and gender. His only principle was money and the power it takes to get more of it. He and his cronies in both parties concocted new legislation and a cover story to make it appear they were being generous, but everyone knew they had been beaten, and not just on the marriage question. The churches that had caved in turned rapidly into social clubs for nonbelievers, and everyone with any aspiration to Christian faith joined the radicals. The last decent Lutherans—and there were many of them—abandoned the ELCA and either joined a conservative synod or created one of their own. Only the Episcopalians continued to seek a middle way, compromising between Heaven and Hell.
Within a few years the radicalized believers controlled the traditional churches, and from these fortresses they bade defiance to the IRS and renounced the satanic government and all its works . . .
So I awoke, and behold it was a dream.