I am in Anaheim, California attending the annual Religion Education Congress, a convention sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Congress is the nation’s largest annual gathering of Roman Catholics. Just short of 40,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Anaheim Convention Center, the place where dreams are made.
I am here representing HarperOne, promoting the books we publish that are of interest to Catholics. My plan for accomplishing this is to conduct the largest Easter egg hunt ever throughout the city of Anaheim.
Or maybe not. Being in Anaheim provokes silliness—perhaps it is the proximity to Disneyland, where you enter the “world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” Uncle Walt wanted us to think about anything but reality, so he could take our money.
A lot of conventions blow through Anaheim. The IRS (a group that is not lost in fantasy) is having one at a nearby hotel, which reminds me that tax time is coming. People, its time we created a new political party, but not the Tea Party—what the hell does tea have to do with anything? We should start the Jack Daniels Party and throw all our alcoholic beverages into Boston Harbor in rebellion against heavy taxation.
Unlike the IRS people, the Catholics are very loveable. There are 15,000 Catholic youth here eating humongous quantities of pizza. And I haven’t seen this many nuns in years. Nuns, like clowns, are both funny and scary.
The other exhibitors are people selling books, items for ritual, artwork, tchotchkes, magazines, educational materials, or are here to spread some message. A hot book at this event is The Handbook for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey, Founder of CatholicMom.com. Not far from where I am standing is a booth called the “Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.” Another booth is called “Restore Justice.com” and near that is one called “A Thread of Hope Guatamalen Fair Trade.”
The people here appear to be good people, if you are a naïve fool. Fortunately, super-patriot journalist Glenn Beck is on the job. Recently, Beck exposed the ugly truth about many American Christians. “I have a list,” he said, waving around a piece of paper, “of members of the Communist Party and a spy ring who are practicing Christians.” Beck is all about defending freedom in America. He explained that we should watch for Christians who use suspicious words like “social” and “justice;” you can be sure they are un-American. The paper he waved around, by the way, was a receipt from an expensive dinner he had on his FOX expense account.
I need to go now, but not before reporting a disturbing development here at the Religious Education Congress: a group called “Catholic Mortuaries” has a booth right near mine, but it is completely empty—no furniture, no signs, nothing.
I think I see dead people.