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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Humor: Parody Petition to make God an official U.S. citizen unintentionally goes viral

KATIE LIN / AGGIE
KATIE LIN / AGGIE

Gary Owen Demille, a second-year student studying law at UC Davis’ King Hall, wrote a fake petition in late January to amuse his fellow legal scholars. The petition, which he initially posted on Facebook, begins as follows:

To Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, 44th president of the United States of America, we the people propose that this upstanding alien resident be granted automatic full citizenship, with complete rights and protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Who in God’s name was this “upstanding” foreigner that Demille wanted citizenship for?

Turns out it was God himself.

Yes, someone created a petition to make God a flag-waving, beer-guzzling, gun-shooting American. It’s an idea that could only be conceived by someone stepping out of a Tipsy Taxi on a crazy Thursday night at Bistro 33 (which Demille has not denied). After posting the petition online, Demille got many laughs and compliments from his friends for his humorous take on religion in politics. But in the weeks that followed his initial posting of the petition, he started to get a very large reaction from people outside of his friend group.

Demille’s fake petition went viral and amassed over two million online signatures from all over the country. What began as a joke became a reality. Religious groups and politicians praised it as a sign that people finally wanted to make America a Christian nation, as opposed to one that separates church and state. Other believers criticized the petition for trivializing God. They argued that He transcends all nationalities and documented citizenship.

Setting aside the implausibility of the scenario in which God exists or not, legal scholars weighed the benefits and downsides of God becoming a U.S. citizen.

Pros:

  1. Unlimited Tax Revenue – If God is the creator of all things in existence, (and possibly himself), it’s logical to assume that he would be the legal owner of “everything.” This means the United States could collect an income tax rate of 30 percent of nearly everything in existence, wiping away all US debts instantly. Schools could be fully funded, Medicare would be secured and the residents of Flint, Michigan could finally drink the water.
  1. Civic Duties Like most citizens, God would also have basic responsibilities, such as jury duty and registering for the draft. Jury service will be much shorter, given that God is an omnipotent, all-knowing being who would know the truth and nothing but the truth in all cases. In addition, God will also be able to answer the call of duty in wartime. It’s one thing when soldiers believe that God is on their side, but it’s another thing when they actually have God on their side. Unfortunately, this could also have repercussions when drill sergeants are obligated to yell obscenities at him during training.

Cons:

  1. Prosecution for crimes Although God is believed to be just, forgiving and tolerant to all his creations, he would be liable to face retroactive charges for crimes on a biblical scale. The following are a few of the many witness testaments in a 3,016-year-old investigation:

-Inciting a father to commit murder against his own son (Genesis 22:2)

-Inciting the genocide of the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:21)

-Voter I.D. fraud in ancient Athens (Keith 4:109)

-Environmental destruction through floods (Genesis 6:14)

-Mass murder of a civilian population through fire and sulfur (Genesis 19:24)

-Failing to prevent the Beatles from splitting up (1970)

-Inciting violence against the LGBT community (Leviticus 20:13)

-Attempted genocide of the entire human race (Genesis 6:13)

-Selling unpasteurized dairy products in the state of Oregon (2004)

  1. Country of Origin Aside from the legal issues God may face with citizenship, another challenge would come from dealing with His current status. Since most records of Him originated in the Middle East, He would most likely be rejected as a possible agent working for ISIS. If he were accepted into the United States, Congress would face public backlash from those fearful of foreigners forcing an alien religion upon them.

So far, Demille has rejected any and all claims that accuse him of trivializing or promoting Christianity. He insists the petition was meant to stay within his circle of friends and co-workers. He has also refused all invitations to Sunday church gatherings, talk shows and a correspondent’s segment on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Demille, who regrets creating the petition in the first place, said in an interview, “God help me if this gets any worse.”

You can reach EVAN LILLEY at etlilley@ucdavis.edu.

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