THE FIRST EPISTLE OF SATAN

Chapter 1

Satan, god and prince of this world, tempter and deceiver of all men; unto my ministers, even those who fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness. Hypocrisy and deceit be unto thee in all thy deluding.

Exalt thyself above thy brethren as the clergy and call them the laity. Be ye called Reverend, Right Reverend, and even The Most Reverend. Let some of you be called Rabbi or Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, Arch deacon, Father and Divine. If it more expedient, be called Doctor, Pastor or even The Minister. Let thy garments also be such as set thee apart from other men. Wear soft raiment and long flowing robes. Reverse thy collar.

Take charge of the churches of men and rule over them. Be thou their authority in all things. Forbid them to worship or teach except at thy direction. Be thou their pastor, administrator and organizer.

When thou goest before the congregation to preach let thy sermons be short for in so doing thou shalt keep thy pastorate. Tickle their ears with sweet verse, humorous stories and personal experiences, for this will please the worldly. Give attention to oratory and proper enunciation. Appeal to thyself as authority in all thy teaching. Boast thyself before others.

Be tolerant of all things. Condemn nothing. If any sin, find a way of approval. Call it a disease. Never rebuke wickedness unless it is advantageous and only then afar off. Be careful to offend no one. Seek to please all men.

Chapter 2

Study the books of men that thou might be able to explain away plain commandments of God to the satisfaction of the unconverted. Never, no never, be drawn into debate, especially with those who insist on adhering to the Bible as authority. Argue that it is wrong to argue, debate that debating is wrong.

Gradually turn the ears of the people away from the Gospel of Christ to the Social Gospel. Spend thy days and nights planning and directing recreational and social functions. Sponsor parties and dances for the young and feasts for the old. Give the impression that the mission of the church is to play and frolic.

Also get thyself involved in all manner of social reforms as labor disputes, civil rights movements and political questions, for unto these things I have called thee. Be a counselor, promoter and popular man about town.

When the time is ripe cast doubt in the minds of believers. Question the authenticity of the Bible. Suggest that much of it is Hebrew folklore. Show that the supposed miracles were only extraordinary, yet natural events. Teach that man descended from a common ancestor with the ape. Persuade the people that Jesus was not really raised from the dead for in this way thou shalt make their salvation impossible. Appear to be pious and refined at all times. Let thy speech be as sweet honey dripping from thy lips. IN this way men will think thee too lovely to be wrong. If any should expose thee as a false teacher, strike back with venom in thy tongue or if it is more fitting work secretly to destroy that person's influence. Don't allow your teaching to be put to test before men.

Chapter 3

Make many social calls among the members, especially those who are somewhat among you. Sip tea from house to house with the sisters; and if any would sip gin, sip with them also. Watch thy manners. Golf and fish oft; particularly with those who serve on boards and head committees.

Seek thine own good in all things. Preach only where the salary is the largest. Insist that men pay the tithe unto thee and threaten them if they fail. Demand mansions of gold and beds of ivory. Eat thou the best of food and drink the finest wines. Give the appearance of helplessness and many will minister unto thee. In all this thou shalt grow soft and lazy. When thou hast gotten all thou can from one flock, move on to another. In all thy getting, get money.

If thou wilt do these things thou shalt be idle and unfruitful in the kingdom of heaven, yet most useful to me in leading many blindly into the pit. May ease, comfort and pleasure be yours all the days of this life, for this shall be your only reward.

- A Satire On the Modern Clergy, by Jimmy Thomas