The letter, which purported to come from W.D.E. Load, Chairman of the International Union of Biological Sciences said:
It is my solemn duty as a Christian and a scientist to inform you of my research into the naming of our species, Homo sapiens. The zoologist who first coined the binomial was an Englishman named Amos Ramos Gotobed who dedicated his life to his work and was unmarried. You will realize the significance of being both English and a bachelor.
I believe the selection of the genus name Homo by Professor Gotobed is an early example of the homosexual agenda to force their lifestyle choice on the God-fearing innocents of the world. I have campaigned within my organization to change the name of God’s greatest creation to Hetero sapiens without success. Now, Dr. Falwell, you must take up the banner of my crusade and end the use of this satanic name.
W.D.E. Load, B.Sc., Ph.D., L.L.D.
P.S. You may call me Willy.
Falwell fell well. His most recent campaign had failed, fund raising was flaccid and he needed a fresh idea to promote. This was a turgid issue he knew would resonate within the Christian Right. His face glowed with anticipated glory. He called Pat Robertson to arrange a discussion on the next 700 Club television show. The San Francisco Chronicle printed a transcript of the two worthies pontificating.
Falwell: The pagans, feminists, gays, lesbians, cyclists and left-handed lovers of red-headed cats who are actively trying to promote their alternative lifestyle have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. All of them are trying to secularize America. I point my finger at them and say you helped 9-11 happen, you deserve to be called Homo sapiens but, the Christian Right does not.
Robertson: Amen to that. And you know, Jerry, they are trying to teach our Kansas kids that Homo sapiens evolved from Homo erectus. That proves evolution is caused by pornography.
There followed an ad for Pat Robertson’s age-defying protein pancakes.
The Chronicle noted that scientific names are subject to an international code and governed by the International Union of Biological Sciences.
The following week, Pat Robertson responded to the article, in what he called “The Sodom and Gomorrah Press”, by saying,
“I don’t think the Congress of the United States is subservient to the International Union of Biological Sciences. They can ignore its ruling if they so choose.”
Jerry Falwell watched the 700 Club show with the President in the Oval Office. An aide had set up a split screen with Pat Robertson on the right and Hee Haw reruns on the left. The President salivated profusely, thinking he had a sure-fire idea to unite his supporters. An Oval Office secretary, a closet Lutheran, tired of the President calling her “Gator legs”, leaked her notes to the New York Times.
W.: We cannot have patriotic, ‘merican, Christ’an troops being called homos. It’s outrageous. God tells me to change the name to Hetero sapiens.
Gopher Chops (W.’s name for Falwell): Excellent idea, Mr. President, you shall change the name to Hetero sapiens. That’ll show ‘em!
The President thought the International Union of Biological Sciences was within the influence of his Rasputin, Karl Rove, because both W. and Falwell pronounced the word “inner-national” omitting the T., making the organization sound like a pawn within the borders of the United States corruptible by Orwellian doublespeak.
Like many of his other commercial and political ventures, W.’s campaign failed. The scientific community raised holy hell; the clergy thought it bad science; the American Civil Liberties Union was uncivil; the People for the American Way said “No way”; and, Cheney had no heart for it. By the time the Boston Globe discovered the fictitious nature of Dr. Load and Professor Gotobed, the damage was done. The election was only a week away and nobody cared that the lame duck president said he had misspoken when he rescinded his denial of his original comments on the issue. The citizens of Blue states were green with envy while those of Red states were flushed with the smell of victory.
Septimus smiled as he sat on his deck, basking in the weak November sun that is a change from summer fog here along the left coast. His pulse calmed, his brow relaxed, his stomach mellowed as he sipped his tea and read the election results in the morning paper. He made a note to reimburse Sextus for his contribution to the restoration of a degree of sanity to the world.