While gaudily festooned Hollywood liberals presented each other with the false golden idol of a little naked man, enlightened others quietly celebrated the traditions of thousands of years of Western Civilization with the first annual Pre-emptive Theology of Bellicosity and Competitive Deficit Spending Awards. Here’s the skinny:

Best Harangue in the Style of Father Coughlin went to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, for its unequivocal rejection of no-fault doctrine, for its adherence to traditional family values of the Middle Ages and for its reinvigoration of flayed-muscular Christianity as X-treme sport.

Best Manifestation of the Glory of God went to… God, of course, for His all-knowing choice of Pat Robertson as His prophetic vehicle, and unto whom He has delivered glad tidings that George W. Bush will be swept back into office in 2004, despite the pesky trial-by-election posed by unholy French-looking pretenders to the throne of state.

The Nearer-My-God-to-Thee Award went to Rodger Findiesen, an American Airlines pilot who warned his passengers that non-Christians are “crazy.” “You can use your time wisely on this flight or you can sit back and watch the movies,” he said, urging believers to identify themselves and start converting the heathens in their midst. Panicked infidels rang relatives from cell phones, so great was their fear of the Good Word.

Best Gaffer went to Education Secretary Rod Paige for calling the National Education Association a “terrorist organization” because it has criticized aspects of George W. Bush’s implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. Although Paige later said he didn’t really mean it, delighted prosecutors were said to be considering freezing the association’s assets, and rumors swirled of teachers being shipped to Guantánamo Bay, where once and for all they might learn what’s good for them.

Best Rendition of a Combat Zone was awarded to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he stated that the rush of gay marriages in San Francisco was not merely civil disobedience but a civil disturbance risking bloodshed. Although Schwarzenegger later said that gay marriage was “fine” with him, his terminology officially fell within the purview of the USA Patriot Act and potentially subjected civil disturbers to secret searches of their homes and bedrooms and closets and drawers and all the dark, moist, sordid little places where they might be plotting the overthrow of the domestic order.

Best Rendition of a Comfort Zone went to American Airlines for kicking off a plane four Carmelite nuns because other passengers complained of a sulfurous smell emanating from their vicinity.

Best Rendition of an Ethical Twilight Zone was won hands down by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for his acceptance of an invitation to go duck hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney, who is the subject of a suit recently accepted for review by the Court; and for Scalia’s acceptance of free transportation on the vice presidential plane, Air Force Two; and for Scalia’s acceptance speech itself, a concise yet artful performance in the looks-like-a-duck, sounds-like-a-duck, must-be-a-duck category: “Quack, quack.”

We are still waiting for the results to be tallied in the category of Best Actor in an Oil Production. In fact, we are still waiting for the release of the names of the nominees. Our reporters are positioned outside the offices of Vice President Cheney, where, rumor has it, the merits are to be weighed, right after the ducks. Still waiting… Standing by…

Best Musical of the Chairs went to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for his proposal that funds from Social Security’s cost of living adjustments should be used to help pay for the federal budget deficit, a plan that would have the edifying side effect of thwarting those godless, aging, long-haired, free-love, spend-and-tax baby boomers in their conspiracy to live well past their allotted time.

Best Make-Up was shared by France and the United States, which, having overlooked the human rights crisis in Haiti until it reached the boiling point, opted to “stabilize” that country by booting out its democratically elected president, collaborating with rebel leaders, including former members of Duvalier’s infamous death squads, blocking the flow of desperate Haitians fleeing toward Florida and otherwise proclaiming their mutual interest in liberty, fraternity and equality.

A special American-as-Warm-Apple-Schnitzel award went to Senator Orrin Hatch for his proposed constitutional amendment dispensing with the requirement that presidential candidates be born in the USA, in favor of a twenty-year citizenship requirement, thus ordaining his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger as eligible for the job of leader of the new global outsourcing.

Best Thou-Shalt-Not-Kill Bill went to proponents of a House proposal that assaults on pregnant women be treated as two-person crimes, thus granting fetuses the status of personhood in the eyes of the law. Fetal personality would likely be the first step toward guardianship proceedings for fetuses, custody awards of fetuses and complicated questions of fetal detention under the USA Patriot Act, since even persons deemed innocent may be held indefinitely if the Pentagon sees risk in their release.

Best Moment in Homeland Security was awarded to the Senate, for its refusal to renew a ten-year ban on assault weapons or to require background checks on gun show customers.

The Better Than Best Moment in Homeland Security went to the chairman of the board of Smith and Wesson, a convicted robber who resigned from his post while the industry continues to press for Congressional reconsideration of a bill that would give gunmakers immunity from most forms of prosecution.

And top honors in the Life Is So Unfair category went to the Prada-clad college students who staged a campus protest against affirmative action in New York City, where close to half of all black men ages 16 to 65 are unemployed.