WE BAN EVIL!
Every so often, something catches Brother Furthermore, my Masonic pet raven, off guard. Now, he's an old, crafty bird. He figures experience and deceit will overcome youth and talent any day. Usually, he's right. So when something surprises him, it's worth sitting up and taking notes.
The source of the Unsettling of Brother Furthermore was a story in the local paper.
It seems, according to a New York Times reporter, eliminating evil from the world is as simple as just posting a sign at the city limits. Just Say No to Satan. That sort of thing. That's what they did in Inglis, Florida.
The Mayor of Inglis, Caroline Risher, decided she'd had enough of evil and she didn't want it in her town of 1,400 people any more. So she issued a proclamation. No joke.
"Be it known from this day forward that Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis. Satan is declared powerless, no longer ruling over, nor influencing our citizens...we command all Satanic and demonic forces to cease their activities and depart the town of Inglis."
Well, naturally, Brother Furthermore had several questions concerning this.
1. What was going in Inglis before the proclamation? Was it, like, Spring Break or what?
2. How will this impact future mayors and local politicians, most of whom work pretty much hand-in-glove with Satan or his minions.
3. What will be the impact on organized religion?
The first question is scary. I mean, do you feel the need to issue a proclamation banning Satan from your community? Even on bad days in Phoenix, I can't imagine doing that. Of course, in the summer, it's hot enough that Satan is probably right at home here but he's also probably on vacation, so, hey, live and let live, you know?
Second question: Local politicians are denying any connection with the mayor or Satan. The city council says the mayor is speaking for herself. How's that for putting your foot in your mouth? Sort of like asking, "Are you still in league with Satan?" No really good answer to that one. Of course, the very idea of politicians opposing evil is pretty funny all by itself.
The greatest philosophical issue here is the third question: How does this impact organized religion? Well, clearly, there's no need for religion any more. The whole point of religion was to encourage good and fight evil! Well, we don't have to fight it anymore! We just issue a proclamation!
Actually, there is a bit more to it than that. The proclamation was printed, then encased in hollow posts which were planted at the four entrances of the town. Brother Furthermore used to do that with certain spells, too, so he understands how it works. It can be very effective. We still have a couple of the posts down in the caverns below the house. (Well, one is at the office, but who's counting?)
In the case of the good burg of Inglis, it didn't have time to work. Someone stole the posts. Demons, probably. The mayor is replacing them, of course.
Incidentally, the mayor got this whole idea last Halloween night as she was sitting alone at her kitchen table, she says. Or, in the words of the poet, once upon a midnight dreary, while she pondered weak and weary...well, you know the rest.
There is a warning here. The Chronicles of Brother Furthermore take this duty very seriously, so take heed: If you are vacationing in Florida and happen to drive through Inglis, about 75 miles north of Tampa, watch your speed. These people are hell on lawbreakers.