George Bush is a religious man, so when he ran into difficulties in
Iraq he decided he would seek the help of Billy Graham, the revivalist
reverend. He visited Graham in North Carolina. Graham showed him
a red telephone which was his "line to God". Bush said he wanted to
use it and Graham told him he was welcome, but it would cost him -
$1,000,000 dollars. Bush paid, and apparently made the
It did not work, a month or so later things were as bad as they had
always been in Iraq. So Bush sought help from a religious leader
again, this time straying from his sect to seek the advice of the
Catholic Pope. He traveled to the Vatican and met with the Pope,
who explained that he too had a line to God, but his connection was
sure to deliver more reliable results, and the price for the call was
$5,000,000. Bush swallowed hard at the expense, but he was in
trouble so he paid and used the phone.
Again the results were poor. He spoke to other Christian leaders
as well, but nothing seemed to help and he was spending a lot of
money. Finally he talked to the Armenian leader in Etchmiadzin. He
had resisted doing this because he knew he would not be welcome
thanks to his stand on the Armenian Genocide resolution, and in any
case the Armenians were just a minor Christian sect and were way
down on his list of influential religious leaders. On the other hand he
was running out of Christian groups to talk with and he was not about
to stray to other religions for advice, the Jews would charge too
much, the Muslims were terrorists and any other religion
worshipped false gods.
He flew out to Armenia where he was greeted by His Holiness the
Catholicos of All Armenians. The Catholicos did not bring up any
unpleasant matters. After a tour of the grounds and nice lunch, the
president finally swallowed his pride and humbly asked the
Catholicos if he had a "line to God" and whether he could use it.
"Sure" the Catholicos answers, "it is the red telephone next to the
kachkar display in the anteroom to my office. But there is a
charge." Bush braced himself for the worst, he can see that the
Armenians need a lot of money for renovations, to build churches
and many other buildings, and in spite of the hospitality he knows
they don't like him.
The Catholicos said "the cost is $10 US". Bush is shocked. He
blurted out " the Graham Crusade in South Carolina charged me
$1 mm, and the Catholics in the Vatican charged me $5 mm".
The Catholicos patiently replied "Surely you realize
Mr. President that in Armenia it is just a local call."