“Question seven,” says Pope Mohammed. You’re spinning your pen on the roof of your forefinger. There’s a sheet of paper in front of you on a desk. On the paper, there are multiple choice answer options. Pope Mohammed is reading a quiz to you.
“Question seven,” repeats Pope Mohammed. “I offer you a piece of your favorite cake. I tell you that you can eat the cake, and you’re free to do so, but you will be water boarded for one hour if you do. Does that make me, A, an excellent person. B, a good person. C, a bad person. D, an evil person?”
You look down at the piece of paper, and all the answers have been the same to this point. Your pencil moves toward D, and you hear Pope Mohammed clear his throat. You look up, and look back down. You fill in the circle next to D.
“Question eight,” says Pope Mohammed. “If I tell you to go to war, and while at war, I command you to bash a child under the age of one against a rock, would that make me A, an excellent person. B, a good person. C, a bad person. Or D, an evil person?
Again, you go for D.
“Question nine,” says Pope Mohammed. “I explain to you that slavery is okay, and that you can have a slave in certain situations, depending in the culture and context. Does that make me A, an excellent person. B, a good person. C, a bad person. Or D, an evil person?”
You circle D.
“Okay, last question,” says Pope Mohammed. “If I tell you that executing a young girl whom I raped is the best response to the crime of adultery, would you consider me A, an excellent person. B, A good person. C, a bad person or D, an evil person?”
Your face winces. You feel nauseated after all the violence of these questions. You circle D.
Pope Mohammed reaches for your paper, picks it up and opens the cap to a red marker.
You hear the squeak as he marks on it.
He turns away from you and bends at the hip to write something on the flat of his desk where he’s been sitting.
He hands the paper back. At the top of the page, there’s a zero.
Underneath that, it says, “Every answer should have been A.”