The pastor of Nada Christian Assembly, located in Nada, Kentucky, has declared open war on puppet shows. "For years we had puppets in our children's church, and the kids really liked them," said the Right Bishop Reverend Apostle Dinty D. Side. "But one day I got to thinking about the theology behind them, and I just couldn't condone it anymore." Since then, Rev. Side has launched a nationwide campaign against what he calls "puppetism."
"The problem," he said, "is that puppets are completely under the control of their masters. We need to think about the message we are sending to our kids. As far as I'm concerned, it's just plain immoral for any creature - including God - to have absolute sovereignty over any other creature, even if one of them is only a dressed up sock. Kids don't know the difference, and they might get led astray by this display of sovereign power."
Two weeks prior to banning the puppets, Rev. Side had become concerned about the fact that none of the puppets in his church had been baptized. "The Bible says baptism takes away sins," he said. "We can't have unregenerated puppet sinners teaching our children." After meeting with church leaders to discuss the problem, Rev. Side decided to lead each puppet in a sinners' prayer and hold a baptism service for them. "It was during the puppet altar call that I began to recognize the bigger problem," said Childrens' Pastor Sherry T. Ching. "We were forcing these puppets to be saved against their will, like Calvinists. I immediately went to the Right Bishop Reverend Apostle and told him we were unwittingly endorsing heresy." Rev. Side agreed. Just to prove he wasn't a Calvinist, he had two of the puppets apostatize the following week.
Pastor Ching noted other puppet problems, as well. "I was very troubled by the forced baptisms," she said. "I mean, eyes were coming off and floating around in the water, noses were sinking to the bottom of the tank . . . it was disgusting! Here we were trying to save the puppets, and instead they were getting ruined. Several of the children are in counseling over this." Similar issues came up when communion was administered.
"That was when we decided to forgo the puppet thing altogether." noted Rev. Side.
He believes the ban is right for his church, despite any unintended side effects. "Sure, we lost about half of our congregation. I said, 'if you two want to go somewhere else that's fine. I'm all about people making their own free choices.' And that's why I'm calling on all pastors everywhere to freely choose not to allow puppet shows in their churches. We have approached every major Protestant denomination, as well as Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic leaders, with an ecumenical proposal that would ban puppets from all of Christendom. It's a scourge that needs to be totally wiped out. Puppets are responsible for a lot of the problems in our churches, and probably in the world at large. I'm hoping our Catholic friends will start up an inquisition against them."
Rev. Side noted that no Presbyterians or Reformed Baptists had responded to his proposal. "It's not surprising, since those people think they are puppets." he said.
To assist like-minded churches in making the transition to non-puppetism, Rev. Side has created the National Organization for Programs Undermining Puppets (NOPUP) and its sister organization, Human Agency for Negating Divine Sovereignty (HANDS). The organizations recently introduced a puppet exchange program. "Any pastor who wants to enforce a decree against puppetism can simply gather up the offending characters and send them to us. We will dispose of them properly. We also accept Calvinist literature because their large volumes burn well." For more information on the program, write to email@example.com
Note: This story is satirical fiction. Any resemblance to persons real or fictitious is probably intended.