Radical Cleric

“Radical Cleric” is a great gig.

You get to twist the souls of impressionable teenage boys and drive them out of their minds with rage.

You can take advantage of the already-volatile chemistry of their physiological condition and harness the hormonal maelstrom inside of them, steering it toward your own purposes.

Pushing insecure youths right to the edge and imbuing them with just enough hatred and falsely-placed loyalty to a cause that has no real-life meaning for them. And then feigning innocence when they finally – inevitably – go over the line, ostensibly of their own volition. But you know that’s not true; they had lost any semblance of free will under your tutelage long ago.

You can watch on TV as the horror unfolds, from your living room as your own children and nieces and nephews roll about on the carpet at your feet. It’s someone else’s children being loaded onto an ambulance. You’ve made monsters of the sons of some other father, some other member of the brotherhood of your faith – but not your own, never your own. You can conveniently hide behind the “man of god” schtick when the results of your inculcation play out on the evening news. You can “condemn” the very atrocity that your relentless indoctrination has undeniably set in motion.

Publicly, you can’t imagine how the hatred and absolutism of your communicated ideology could have possibly engendered the violence visited upon our society. Privately, your megalomaniacal ego tells you that you are a Great One and that you’ve started something grand, some historic revolution.

The young men you’ve counseled destroy the lives of innocents, murder and maim in so savage and indiscriminate a manner as only the brainwashed and deranged can. And then these human weapons you’ve created inevitably die as well, in blasts of their own making or in firefights with the authorities.

And you, the author of this chaos and suffering, are home for dinner each night. Safe and sound.

Rested and ready to begin the process anew the next day. More misguided teenage boys, fresh vessels to be taught and trained, to be turned against the world and their fellow man. More atrocities. More ruined lives.

Holy man, something tells me your eventual meeting with your God will not go quite how you’ve hoped it would.

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