WASHINGTON — As if cramming for a college final exam, Christians in the United States Congress have stayed up late the past few nights, studying the Bible and using enormous yellow highlighters to mark the crucial moral lessons of Jesus.
The occasion, of course, is the arrival of Pope Francis in the U.S. on Tuesday. To honor the Pope and his visit here, Christians in the House and Senate have promised to practice Christianity for one full day this week; or, more accurately, for a single 24-hour period — from 8 a.m. Thursday to 7:59 a.m. Friday.
Christianity? Many Christian legislators, growing anxious over the commitment they’d made, confessed to having forgotten what Christianity was exactly.
“It occurred to a lot of us that we’d better start boning up on this Jesus guy and what he was all about,” said Representative Wally Chester, Republican of South Carolina, and a longtime member of the Congressional Christian Caucus. “But the odd thing is, now that we’ve actually read the crazy things he said and learned about the weird stuff he did, we’re sort of having second thoughts about this day of Christianity coming up on Thursday. We’re definitely going to hire actors to do the part about hanging out with poor people and helping the sick and homeless and all that. I mean, we can hardly be expected to return from the street to attend a meeting with a Wall Street lobbyist."