From the steps of the church, where a small crowd had gathered because of its proximity to a popular Irish themed pub, Juanito Guerrero read from his dissertation about the historical inaccuracies surrounding the saint. In it, he declared that St. Patrick was not a hero of the Irish people but a Christian warrior sent to destroy the pervasive and polytheistic culture of the land.
“St. Patrick did not travel to Ireland to befriend the druid and pagan rabble,” Guerrero’s speech started. “He was there to spread the message of Jesus by any means necessary. The chiefs of numerous tribes attacked St. Patrick, but he responded in kind with the wrath of God’s justice and retribution.”
For over an hour, Guerrero described Patrick’s war against the indigenous Irish heathens, attempting to correct what he called “centuries of unfounded and uninformed myth.”
St. Patrick, according to Guerrero, was a purely martial figure who battled with druids, overthrew pagan idols, and cursed the kingdoms of unrepentant sinners. Where Patrick was credited with baptizing thousands of people and converting them to Catholicism, Guerrero claimed that the saint had actually rounded up those who opposed him and then drowned them mercilessly in the river, as their women and children looked on in horror at the stranglehold of God’s encompassing love.
The image of the shamrock too, Guerrero explained, was less a visual tool for teaching the mystery of the Holy Trinity and more a symbol of doom for those refusing to accept Jesus into their black hearts.
“Druids were people who basically worshipped trees. By crushing a native flower in his palm before the stunned faces of these people, St. Patrick was threatening them with the vision of their eternal damnation and certain death at the hands of Christ’s all-loving flock.”
Banning Gays from the Parade
But Guerrero’s uncomfortable sermon was ultimately eclipsed by Father Preternature’s announcement that gays would not be allowed to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by the church, which led to protests by three openly bi-curious high school students, Lyle Zapf (the founder and sole member of the San Narciso Political Progressives Association), and Raymond Faye, who -- despite his marriage to a beautiful woman, his love of football, and his constant denials -- is widely known to be gay.
Police say the demonstration was peaceful enough until Mr. Faye was told he would not be allowed to march. At that point, Faye began screaming, “I’m not a homosexual. I’m married to a Miss California finalist. I have a speech impediment that causes me to lisp. I own the most successful hardware store in the county. I paid good money to enter a float -- to a ritualized religion I don’t believe in, I might add, as most Christians in this community don’t. And stop damn calling me ‘Big Gay Ray!’”
Preternature defended his decision in a phone interview: “First off, [homosexuals] already have their own parade. Second, St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, not an ideological movement. There’s nothing homoerotic about this beloved saint or his good works. The legends involve Patrick wrestling with snakes. They discuss the miracles of life, with Patrick driving his gnarled logs of ash into the dark holes of the dead land, where no seed could find purchase, and having glorious trees rise erect from this mystic penetration. Patrick as a slave, imprisoned on a boat and abused by strange seamen. Patrick perched atop an ass, bearing his holy scepter as the wild tribesmen knelt before him. What’s gay about all that, I ask you?”