Recently a prominent evangelical absolved America’s leader of moral lapses, reasoning that his religious policies had earned him “a mulligan.”

    Shades of forgiveness-for-purchase perpetrated by John Tetzel (circa 1519), indulgences denounced in Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: “…as…money chinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.”

    As a baptized and confirmed evangelical Lutheran, I find modern-day indulgences so troubling they possess my dreams.


    An evangelical passing from church door to church door, attaching parchments.      Titled “95 Mulligans,” some few declarations flash forth.

    — Indulgences are the soul of repentance.

    — Forget “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.”  Having repented by appointing a judge sympathetic to Christ, so shall a man honor his wife until he chooses others.  On the scorecard of life, such dalliances are mulligan and void.

    — Forget “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”  What about “until proven guilty”?  Shall a man who has taken, say, $25 million in fees at an unsanctioned college not be allowed to retain money simply because secular courts rule otherwise?  Especially a goodly man whose Pence chinks in the offertory and insures pray away the gay law of the land.

    — Forget “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”  Howsoever might the most Christian of men persuade his followers but that his words harmonize with their beliefs.  Georgie Washington?  Cherry tree?  Loser!  Chop that sucker down and blame Tommy Jefferson.

    Dream lifts.  Then another.  Gate to Heaven Country Club.  Daniels 24/7, Jack giving way to Stormy, and mulligans beyond measure.       

Donald Bruce Beard Claremont, California
Beard is a native of Reynolds, North Dakota and a graduate of UND