Salil Chaturvedi takes a humorous look at the American obsession with spreading democracy around the world.
Americans had stopped going to heaven. It wasn’t the air-conditioning. That was the most obvious thing that came to mind, but a quick discussion between St. Peter and the angels threw that possibility out of the window.
“But we don’t need any air conditioning here in heaven,” said an angel fluttering his wings. “The physical body might need it but an astral body lives in a constant state of comfort and bliss, at least when it’s in heaven.”
“Then why aren’t the Americans coming to heaven anymore?” asked a second angel, playing with a cloudlet.
“That’s got me stumped,” said the first angel.
“Me too…do you think they are going to hell?” suggested a third angel.
“I checked with Satan,” said St. Peter. “He said that things were normal and there was no dramatic increase in American souls in hell. He was interested in what was going on, though. I guess he figures that if he could find these lost souls he could get them in to hell somehow.”
But don’t these American souls turn up at the Pearly Gates? Perhaps we should check with St. Michael if there’s a problem during the soul’s journey to heaven” the second angel asked.
“I checked with the archangel, but the transportation is progressing normally. I just don’t know where they are disappearing to, or why.”
“Could it be that the American souls can see souls of people from communist countries here? Or maybe they can see souls of some Iraqi children and innocent bystanders. Do you think we should build a barricade so new souls can’t look into heaven?” asked the first angel.
“That’s as silly as the air-conditioning idea. The astral body perceives everything, it does not need to ‘look.’ And what a crazy idea… partition heaven! I say we keep things as they are and not change any thing. Next, you’ll say let’s introduce sin credits,” said the second angel, as it absent-mindedly shaped a cloud into the Statue of Liberty.
“Wait! There is one thing. During the interview at the Pearly Gates they all ask one strange question. Maybe that holds the key to this riddle. Come to think of it, I’m certain it does,” said St. Peter.
“Well, what is it?” asked angel two, making a fish out of a cloud.
“They ask if they have voting rights.”
“And what do you say?” asked the first angel.
“What do you think? The obvious thing, that there’s no voting in heaven. They do look very disappointed with that,” said St. Peter.
“Don’t you get it?” said the second angel. “No voting means no democracy. And what are Americans dying and killing for? Why are decent, god-fearing Americans supporting military action in places far away from their homes? For democracy! And if they die and find out that there’s no democracy in heaven…”
“You could be right,” said St. Peter.
“So what do we do now?” asked the third angel. “Should we introduce democracy in heaven?”
“That’s up to Our Father,” said St. Peter. “I don’t think he’ll like the idea too much… it’s not going to be viable to do that. Imagine running the Universe by majority consensus.”
“What about the lost American souls then?” asked the first angel.
“I guess we’ll have to wait for them to get over their democracy trip,” said St. Peter. “Maybe they’ll remember that it’s ‘Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,’ and not the other way around.”