Calling All Saints

If you favor bin Laden as the winner, send us an SMS with the number 2 - for the Twin Towers.

Here's an idea for a new reality show that no one has thought of yet: Take a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew, yell "Ready, set, go" - and see which is the first to achieve the status of kadosh (or shahid or saint, each according to his faith ). Under the rules of this reality show, there are no limits as to what the contestants are allowed to do to reach their goal. This means they are allowed to kill or to be killed during the race for the title.

In contrast to the impression created by other reality programs, like "Big Brother," of alienation from the real world and from current events, this show could actually bring real benefit. It could help convince many of the visionaries and dreamers from the three monotheistic religions who choose to blow up other people or themselves in strange and varied ways in the future, to hone their skills based on the experience afforded them by the show.

Eran Wolkowski

Meanwhile, until suitable candidates are found for the new reality program, let us examine three persons, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew, who have just recently gone down that road and have already won the title of saint, each for his own side.

Would the first candidate please step up to the mike! Saint Osama bin Laden. Religion: Islam. Our stopwatch shows a time frame of about 10 years from the beginning of the race for the sought-after title to the final victory. If you favor him as the winner, send us an SMS with the number 2 - for the Twin Towers.

And now, if you please, bring us the Christian candidate: John Paul II. Anyone who followed the news from the Vatican this week could not help but notice the divine intervention involved in the selection of candidates for our little game: Just one day before the declaration of Osama as a Muslim saint/martyr, the pope in Rome declared his predecessor the winner of the Mifal Hapayis national lottery for beatification.

Officially, in the Christian world the race for such a title requires candidates to fulfill far tougher criteria than their Muslim competitors. Shahids, God help us, are coming at us thick and fast. Christianity, however, uses tweezers to pick its sainted personages. Their candidate must endure seven circles of hellish negotiations before anyone deigns to look his way or acknowledge his sanctity.

Poor John Paul II: Had you been a Muslim, you would have been treated far more generously. You gave your soul to the Church, you were gravely wounded in an assassination attempt - and you even went to ask forgiveness of the man who tried to murder you so he wouldn't be angry at you. You suffered in silence despite endless pestering by Jews who were your classmates in kindergarten, at school and at the university in Krakow, who insisted on getting their pictures taken with you and chatting with you in Polish. This in itself would have been worthy of the award of a doctorate in suffering to any normal person.

But before sending us an SMS for Mr. Wojtyla - that's John Paul II - with the number 3 (for the Holy Trinity ), please consider the panic Christianity has been experiencing recently with regard to increasing the number of its saints. As compared to Islam, which has no problem depicting Allah's intervention in history via the many shahids it sends to wreak havoc in the world, Christianity feels it is limping behind with its bunch of withered weeds and is trying to derive maximal benefit from them. Buried in the ground there is proof that Mr. Wojtyla cured one woman of Parkinson's disease. Habeamus beatus! Let us award him the title "beatified."

In the past, mind you, a lot more than that was required to attain beatification. Jews had to have stoned you, or Romans had to have thrown you to lions. Queen Isabella of Spain had to burn and torture Jews and expel them from her country - and even then she didn't succeed in achieving the desired status. How cheap holy titles have become nowadays, when it is enough for Jews to get you to be photographed with them so you can win points to garner such an honor! That is to say, contrary to the usual view, which has Islam being excessively generous in handing out the status of shahid to every nasty piece of work around, it emerges that Christianity - perhaps out of envy - is also lowering the bar in a way that should perhaps begin to worry us.

And the Jew? Before you send your SMS, it is worth remembering the fact that in order to become a kadosh who works miracles, you first, however odd this sounds, must be a Muslim sheikh and be buried in a pastoral gravesite where there is potential for a park and picnics. And then you have to wait a while, sometimes even several generations, for the patience to pay off. Then presto! They come and transform the sheikh's tomb into the burial place of Joseph the Patriarch, Mother Rachel or Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai - you name it! And you have tombs of holy men who can cure diseases, make fertile the wombs of barren women, provide grooms for brides and brides for grooms, and all this without expense and without suffering.

In a totally miraculous way, these Jewish holy men who, as noted, were Muslim sheikhs in the past, have the potential for creating a new generation of holy men. There are those who go to prostrate themselves on these sheikhs' tombs and are blessed with Arabs shooting at them. SMS the number 1 for them, as our God is one, in heaven and on earth.