Umbrella’s lighter offshoot

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Practical Religion

by Carol A. Taylor

An American priest in Ireland on vacation
was hurrying back to his lodgings well past curfue
when a terrorist jumped from an alley, hissing behind him,
“Put your hands in the air or I’ll shoot. What religion are you?”

The priest thought fast: If I say Catholic he’ll kill me,
if he’s a Protestant. But then if I say
I’m Protestant, he’ll kill me just as surely
if he’s a Catholic. There must be a better way!

Mentally crossing himself and crossing his fingers
while a rooster crowed nearby, he thought what to do.
He closed his eyes and sent a swift prayer winging:
Jesus, forgive me...I’ll make it up to You!

If I live through this, I’ll say my penance tomorrow,
but if it doesn’t work, I’m going to hell fast!

“I’m Jewish,” he cried, then heard the terrorist chortle,
“I’ve got to be the luckiest Arab in Belfast!”