But then we got to chapter 5, entitled "So Absurd It Could Be True: The Gospel Of Barack Obama," which consists entirely of Starnes imagining a meeting between himself and a fictional DC insider named Miles O'Leary who had just been put in charge of a project aimed at literally turning President Obama into a god.
Starnes imagines a conversation between himself and O'Leary as the latter explains that an "Office of Theological Repatriation" has been created in order to use the force of government and compliance of the media to compel all Americans to abandon their faith and worship Obama:
"You look at it as a problem, but the White House looks at it as an opportunity," he said. "We realized that we had a chance to truly make history—to change the world. Do you remember what happened at the Democratic National Convention, when the Democrats booed God?"
Who could forget? Delegates to the 2012 DNC meeting in Charlotte had voted God out of the party platform. "There's only room for one god in the Democratic National Convention," Miles said.
The Almighty was subsequently reinstated into the party, which resulted in a round of contentious jeers from the crowd full of atheists and God-haters. I was there. It was one of the most incredulous moments in American politics—a major political party giving God a Bronx cheer.
"We took an immediate flash poll of God's approval rating among Democrats, and we got a shocking wake-up call," Miles told me. "He was only polling at 10 percent—and that was mostly among Southern Blue Dog Democrats. So we decided to immediately implement a top-secret program—code name G-O-D"
"It stands for Get Obama Deified," Miles said in a hushed voice. "We decided to create a national religion based solely on President Obama. Our internal polling data on the deification of the president is spectacular."
I was dumbfounded. How in the world could they do something like that—something so brazen, so blasphemous, so unconstitutional?
"Todd, we've already done it," Miles said. "I was just put in charge of President Obama's new Office of Theological Repatriation. We're in the process of destabilizing other religions so that we can recruit more followers. Why do you think we've been marginalizing Christianity within the armed forces and public schools?"
"But why make the president a god?"
"Let's face it, Todd," Miles explained. "He's a young man. He's going to need to do something to earn a paycheck after he leaves the White House."
"So when did you guys decide to go forward with this hair-brained scheme?" I asked.
"Ironically it was just a few hours before that earthquake hit Washington," he said. "About two minutes after President Obama signed the executive order declaring himself to be America's Lord and Savior, the earth started shaking."
"How does one even go about creating a new religion?" I wondered.
"Well, as I said, I head up the Office of Theological Repatriation," Miles said. "Once the Christians and Jews renounce their faiths, they are assigned to a six-month session of theological conversion therapy. After they complete the appropriate coursework, the new followers are then turned over to the Office of Spiritual Indoctrination."
"What about the Muslims?" I asked.
"Um, yeah, we're not going to touch the Muslims," Miles said.
"It's all about having a good back story," he said. "That's why we've employed the best screenwriters in Hollywood to create our version of the Bible. It's called The Gospel According to Barack."
Miles laid out some sample chapters for me, including Obama's version of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others before they do it to you."
And they've also started working on the origins story. Miles said the White House has pending legislation that would make December 25 "Barack Obama Day."
"We've even got a few passages of the origins scripture ready for Hallmark cards," Miles said. "'For unto you is born this day in a city of undetermined origin—a savior who is Barack the Lord.'"
Suddenly the skies outside the coffeehouse darkened. I could hear the distant rumbling of thunder and an occasional flash of lightning. Miles said they'd also commissioned choirs to perform some new holiday anthems with lyrics such as, "Joy to the world / Barack has come / Let earth receive her king." They also created the new songs "Jingle Bell Barack" and "Michelle, Did You Know?"
"We've recently acquired the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which we've renamed the Obama Tabernacle Choir, and they are going to be producing our signature song, a new rendition of the 'Hallelujah Chorus,'" Miles said. "Instead of 'Hallelujah,' they sing `Barack Obama."
But what about the inner workings of the religion? What about the doctrine?
Miles conceded that to be a bit more problematic. He said there'd been fierce debate over who gets to sit at the right hand of Obama. "Valerie Jarrett wants to sit at the left and the right hand," he said. "Michelle's not too happy about that, but we may have a solution. We're contemplating making Michelle the Holy Mother."
What about the sacraments?
"Well, we require followers of Obama to drink the Kool-Aid at least once a week," Miles said. "We've also got the folks over at the Food Network developing a wafer made in the president's likeness from organically harvested wheat."
As for confessional booths, Miles said there aren't going to be any.
"That's what we've got the NSA for," he said. "They already know your darkest secrets."
And how does one become a follower of Obama?
"We believe in predestination," Miles said. "All Americans are predestined to follow the president and do his bidding."
Last rites, he said, were being outsourced to the Department of Health and Human Services death panels.
I still wasn't totally convinced this wild scheme would work. How in the world could they indoctrinate so many people?
"We bought ourselves a cable television network," Miles crowed, proudly. "We're calling it MSNBC—the Messianic Savior Named Barack Channel."
Well, that explained a lot.