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NCLB Outrages

How Reform comes to America's religious leaders

[Editor's Note: As 2010 draws to a close (or is it a collapse?), Substance has been contacted by a new writer who would like to contribute regularly on the subject of REAL REFORM and other topics, just to put current events into a broader perspective. We're tentatively calling it 'Horton Hears...' and would like additional suggestions as we provide the following sample...]

by Miles Horton


Dear Reverend Pastor ___________ ,

I hereby propose that the State of Illinois grade the excellence of yours and every other church on the achievements of its members. As a single standard of measure, we can test, pretest, re-test, and post-test church members on their knowledge of biblical scripture. However, should you prefer multiple measures of achievement we can development granular data on:

· church attendance,

· evidence of piety,

· tithing,

· membership growth rate, and of course,

· the moral perfection of your members.

Churches that do not meet these Core Standards of Measurement will be placed on probationary status. This status involves immediate loss of:

  • tax- exempt status,

  • spiritual autonomy

  • internal governance

  • Churches that show lack of improvement over 2 years will be subject to intervention by a group of experts that include (in addition to disaffected seminary students) psychologists, researchers, economists and of course, MBA's. Sermons will be videotaped, reviewed, and analyzed by this team of experts for the rating of each Pastor and his church.

    Funds for this spiritual enterprise will come from a grant generously provided by Larry Flint, Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, Ron Jeremy, and a Business Roundtable composed of Pimps, Hustlers, High Rollers, and Drug Dealers. As this money is provided on a "venture philanthropy" rather than purely charitable basis, it will be accompanied by explicit guidelines for institutional improvement and an in-house manager to insure compliance with our high standards of excellence.

    Please be mindful that it is not for the sake of the "Saints" and the "Saved" that we initiate this reform, but for the sake of the many lost souls that our dysfunctional ecclesiastical institutions have woefully allowed to fall by the wayside and fester in incorrigible iniquity. The time has come to stop looking out only for the interests of the clergy and the perfect, as far too many unfortunate lost souls spiral headlong ever downward into the abyss of hell. Indeed the weight of their sin and evil is plunging the earth itself into a perpetual night of unending darkness.

    Yet there is hope. This reformation is driven by entrepreneurial innovation, the noblesse oblige of the wealthy, and utmost faith in the invisible hand of the almighty Free Market. Therefore our message is: "Repent ye now! Reform is at hand!"

    Your humble brother in the faith:

    — Miles Horten


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