Waistlines As Frontlines
Apparently, We Could Be at the Start of a Religious War with Those of the Islamic Faith

By Jimmy Breslin
Newsday [Long Island NY]
April 11, 2004

In the 9/11 hearings on Thursday, Bob Kerrey said that Americans are a Christian army in a Muslim country. Have you heard of this before? This isn't Vietnam. It is the Crusades.

There are two billion Muslims in the world. On television, you will note that the ones in Iraq are thin. They run around with no waists. They are said to be even thinner in Indonesia. Also in the Philippines, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, and all the other places where they live.

There are no fat Muslims.

Two billion Muslims with no waists. The average waist size of an Islamic racing around Fallujah is 28. They can walk and run and dash and sprint forever. Today in Iraq a couple of million are scheduled to start three days of walking in honor of a religious figure of the past - from the year 680. This is the Muslim sense of time. In order to exact revenge, they can wait years, a century, centuries even, and then come around and strike whatever passes then for the World Trade Center. There is all that time to speak and trade goods and have people mingle. And even allow sweet sounds into the sour air.

There are over 500,000 Muslims in the New York area and they give much to a city that lives by diversity. There is one problem with them, and with Muslims everywhere. They think that their faith is just as good as any of ours.

Still, to strengthen the old religions of this country, we must lead with the Roman Catholics. There are 70 million of them. But they are not in such wonderful condition. To be blunt, they are fat. The average waist size of a Roman Catholic male is 48. They go up to 54 easy. They are a religion that belongs on a loading platform.

A symbol is the bishop of Long Island, Mansion Murphy, who just named an author of cook books, Father Jim Vlaun, as his spokesman. Father Vlaun is a high poundage man. He loves food. One of his favorites is perciatelli with hot sausage-ragu. "Perciatelli is a fat spaghetti that actually has a hole down the middle! It is great for hearty sauces like this one. It looks so good on the cover of the book, you could almost smell it!"

He is not helpful to the Roman Catholics males, whose sport is watching pro football. They drink big cold beer and wear team jerseys and hats and growl like bears. They have trouble trying to fit in their seats with each passing year.

I don't like to insult Catholic women, but on Friday I was in a supermarket aisle at Food Emporium in Manhattan and here was a woman with a straight, mournful Irish face, that means Catholic, and a torso wide enough to let her play tight end with the Green Bay Packers. The aisle had some boxes in the way and I tried to go around the woman's left side. Her hip was touching the shelves. I made a move to my left, which was to her right side. There was a little space, as long as I turned sideways and wedged my shoulder in first. I did that. To be perfectly truthful, like most Catholics, I pack plenty of weight. So maybe I wasn't going to squeeze through anyway, but just then she moved her hip, this Irish woman did, and it pinned me right up against the Cheerios and I had to wait it out.

Because of Catholic fat, a movement by over 100 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre could be one of the most important assets the religion and nation could have in facing 2 billion skinny Muslims.

The 100 priests are going to give their own money and take up private collections for victims of molestations by priests. Their church officials don't want to admit that anything ever happened. The priests want a continual remembrance in each parish, collecting and giving money to victims, a series of Masses for the victims said in each parish, and fasting for a day each time in an expression of repentance for the crimes committed against the young. All this in defiance for the bishop, Mansion Murphy.

Murphy won't allow the lay organization, Voice of the Faithful, to meet on church property, which they own. Murphy also has done nothing but threaten his priests. Suddenly, there is a movement of priests that threatens Mansion Murphy. At the same time, the Catholic populace and the nation could show strength to Islam. Right now, when an Islamic with a 28-inch waist looks at Catholics, he sees a host of big fat slobs. And that is everywhere. The fattest Catholics I've seen were in La Crosse, Wis. So this weight control is a national Catholic issue.

The most concerned of the 100 priests and their lay advisers advocate taking the one day of fasting for the victims and turning it into one day of normal diet eating. And four days of fasting.

The fasting, Gillooly, an adviser to the 100 priests, was saying on Friday, can be done. "Put down your beer for God and country."

Gillooly said, "We could have people pledge to pass up all mashed potatoes with butter, leftover spaghetti for morning hangovers, good grease from fast-food stands."

This may not seem so preposterous when you watch the march in Iraq today. They are out there walking, thin as reeds from the marshes, and walking for three days. You can't get a fat Catholic to last three blocks.

"Make sure every Catholic has legs for your country's future," one of the 100 priests said last night. "Fast and pray. The great goal. Sound body, Sound mind."