The Bishop of America

When I was a kid I got an American Revolution chess set for my birthday, which I left at my parents for rainy summer vacation days, but it sat there unopened in the game cupboard for thirty years.

Since we just found nursing home placements for our parents, my brothers and I were going through mountains of old stuff and there it was. Last night I actually got it out and played a game with my roommate.

If I ever meet Ben Franklin in the hereafter, and I dearly hope I do, I have a good joke for him. George Washington is the king, of course, although he’s famous for not wanting to be king, Martha’s the queen, a teeny Paul Revere is the knight, the Liberty Bell is the rook and Ben, of all people, is the bishop!

I’m sure he’s going to get a kick out of that, given his views on religion.

“I have ever let others enjoy their religious Sentiments, without reflecting on them for those that appeared to me unsupportable or even absurd,” he wrote to Yale College president Ezra Stiles.

“All Sects here, and we have a great Variety, have experienced my good will in assisting them with Subscriptions for building their new Places of Worship; and, as I have never opposed any of their Doctrines, I hope to go out of the World in Peace with them all.”