Since American Christians are busy rewriting Jesus’ words to accommodate Mammon, it is high time to fix the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one, who had been reading Atlas Shrugged, said to his goody two-shoes father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set out for a job in a distant city and there invested his wealth in dodgy mortgage schemes. He bragged about making bogus sales to stupid widows in airports. After he had spent a bundle snorting coke off the backsides of expensive hookers and was in danger of being singled out as the “Bad Apple” in his firm and thrown to the Securities and Exchange Commission, he began to be anxious.
“When he saw that he was completely expendable to the other Masters of the Universe, he said, ‘How many of my father’s employees make a good living and don’t fear jail time (for his goody two-shoes father paid a living wage) and here I am about to be sold out! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your employees.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and strolled to his son and stood glaring at him with his hands on his hips.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“The father said, ‘You’ve got that right.” For the Father had been reading two books and one of them was Love Must Be Tough.
“Meanwhile, the older son was at work. When he came near the house, he heard arguing. He asked his sister what was going on. ‘Our brother has come,’ she replied, ‘and our father is disciplining him for his own good.”
“The older brother became disturbed and refused to go in. So his father went out and reasoned with him. “Order must be maintained, it’s for his own good. Don’t go all bleeding-heart on me.” But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years you’ve been telling me about forgiveness and mercy. Now he comes home and you just heap shame on him.”
‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you have towed the line, and your brother has been stupid enough to get caught. If his name gets in the papers, what will that do to our profits?” But father…” the son began. “Oh shut up and read this,” the father snapped, handing him a well-thumbed copy of Atlas Shrugged.