Heaven Has 'Extreme Vetting'? When Republicans Legislate From the Bible

A panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference suggests America can have walls, gates and extreme vetting because heaven does. Come again?

Statue of Saint Peter and Saint Peter's Basilica at background in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Photo Credit: Yury Dmitrienko/Shutterstock

Word has it that heaven is a pretty nice place. Indeed, it’s on many people’s bucket lists. But have you ever stopped to wonder exactly why heaven is so wonderful? Well, it’s the strict approach to immigration, obviously! The border agents at the pearly gates have rigorous entry criteria and don’t just let just any riff-raff sneak in.

Heaven’s model immigration policies haven’t gone unnoticed by the great and the good of conservative America. Indeed, a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference, which kicked off today, is titled: “If Heaven Has a Gate, a Wall, and Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?”

Skeptics, heathens, and Stephen Hawking might say: well, you know, because heaven is a fairy story. But skeptics, heathens and Stephen Hawking are not in charge of the US. Evangelical fundamentalists like Vice-President Mike Pence, who doesn’t believe in evolution, are.

So it’s probably a good idea if we all just get with the program and cooperate with these guys. Indeed, as a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States, I would like to do my best to help. So I’ve had a look through the Bible for other great examples of public policy we can import to America. For what it’s worth, here are a few suggestions for ways we can help make heaven a place on earth.

1. If Adam can marry his own rib, why can’t we?

As we all know, God made Adam and Eve (the artist formerly known as a long carved bone in Adam’s ribcage), not Adam and Steve. This catchy slogan has been trotted out as justification for denying gay rights by many fundamentalist Christians over the years. So it seems reasonable to take things to their logical conclusion and encourage people to just marry their own ribs. Surely someone can make an app for that? It really would make dating so much easier.

2. If Peter can pay his taxes with magic fish, why can’t Americans?

It’s tax season, which is always a trying time. The US tax system is ridiculously complex and even super smart people like Timothy Geithner, a former banker and secretary of the treasury, have made mistakes paying their taxes.

Various reforms to the tax code have been touted over the years but nothing seems to change. So I suggest we look to the bible for some help in making taxes less taxing. Namely a passage in Matthew 17:24-27 in which Jesus and his disciples are asked to pay a temple tax. Jesus knew he could claim a 100% deduction but decided to pay anyway. He asked Peter to go and catch a fish; in the mouth of said fish, there would be money for the taxes.

Asking Peter to get his rod out instead of just magicing up the money seems a roundabout way of doing things but it worked. So perhaps we should all just forget about filling out our 1040s and IT-201s this year and just send the IRS some sturgeon.

3. If Lot can turn his wife into a pillar of salt, then why shouldn’t ordinary Americans do the same?

Logistically, this seems tricky, I know. But if we can send men into space then surely we can turn women into salt? Imagine how sweet women would be if they were suddenly faced with an ever-present threat of being transmogrified into sodium chloride. It would solve America’s nasty women problem for once and for all. I reckon we should get Elon Musk, who says he is “doing good” on Trump’s advisory council, to set up a SaltX project stat.

4. If Lot can offer up his virgin daughters to be raped by all the menfolk in Sodom as a consolation for them not being able to rape two visiting angels, then ...

Uh, you know, that’s a tough one. And a good reminder that some parts of the Bible are just too difficult for mere women like me to understand. Probably best if we forget the details of this particular episode and use it to justify demonizing gay people instead.

5. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then shouldn’t the residents of Flint, Michigan, have clean water by now?

Hang on. My bad. Turns out that phrase doesn’t actually appear in the Bible – it’s just an archaic proverb and so has no relevance to modern life. As you were Flint!


Arwa Mahdawi is a writer and brand strategist based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @ArwaM.

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