DANIEL   4'1m*f RT: Daniel and the lions' den

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

DARIUS -- (enters wearing ornate robe and gold crown, crosses to
podium, unrolls scroll) Good morning. My name is Darius, king of
the Medo-Persian empire. I have a brief statement to read
regarding the future of our empire.

REPORTER -- Before we talk about the future, Your Majesty. May
we inquire about the fate of Daniel?

DARIUS -- Daniel.

REPORTER -- Daniel is a Hebrew whom your predecessor
Nebuchadnezzar took hostage after he conquered the land of

DARIUS -- I know who Daniel is. Daniel's integrity and honesty
are why I chose him as of the top three administrators in my

REPORTER -- If you thought so high of Daniel, why did you have
him killed?

DARIUS -- As a matter of fact, I didn't have him killed. I...

REPORTER -- But you DID have him thrown into the lions den...

DARIUS -- Well, yes, I did, but....

REPORTER -- Isn't being thrown into the lions den the same as a
death sentence?

DARIUS -- Well, yes, ordinarily. But Daniel is no ordinary man.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that Daniel spent the night in a den
full of hungry lions and survived?!

DARIUS -- As a matter of fact, he not only survived, he came out
without a scratch.

REPORTER -- How did he pull it off?

DARIUS -- As a matter of fact, Daniel took no credit for it
himself. He credits his God, the God of Israel. And that's why I
called this press conference, (holds up scroll) to make an
important announcement concerning the future of the Medo-Persian

REPORTER -- Can you tell us why Daniel was sentenced to die in
the first place?

DARIUS -- I assure you it had nothing to do with his integrity
an honesty. As a matter of fact, I sited Daniel's integrity and
honesty in this (holds up scroll) declaration, if you'll allow
me to...

REPORTER -- Can you tell us specifically what Daniel was charged

DARIUS -- (sighs) It was a colossal misunderstanding. Some of my
own statements were blown way out of proportion. And then
someone put the statements in writing. The important thing is

REPORTER -- What was the nature of the written statements?

DARIUS -- (sighs) Well, as a result of my military conquests and
the expansion of my territories, my advisors suggested that I
might be invincible. One compliment was piled upon another and
soon one of my advisors suggested that I might be a God. Then,
another advisor suggested that Gods are usually worshipped and
that it might be appropriate for ME to be worshipped. I'm afraid
that the compliments puffed me up larger than life. And before I
knew what was happening, my advisors had coaxed me into signing
a royal command that all the citizens of the empire must worship
me and no other god. But Daniel, being loyal to the God of
Israel continued to worship his own God. And since I had already
signed the decree, I was forced to sentence Daniel to death for
violation of the royal decree. But all that's behind us now.

REPORTER -- So, what exactly is contained in this latest royal

DARIUS -- Two things. First, I'm going to promote Daniel to
prime minister as I was going to do before this whole thing

REPORTER -- So, all the other advisors will be reporting to

DARIUS -- As a matter of fact, these other advisors were the
ones responsible for coaxing me into signing the decree
requiring all citizens to worship me. It turns out the whole
thing was a conspiracy by all of them to get rid of Daniel
because they were jealous of him.

REPORTER -- So, what will happen to all these advisors?

DARIUS -- It has already happened. I had them all thrown into
the lions' den and they were all eaten by the lions. And now,
Daniel himself will name the new advisors who will work under

REPORTER -- Your Majesty, you said you had TWO things to
announce in this latest decree.

DARIUS -- Yes. I do. (reads) In recognition that the God of
Israel, who was powerful enough to close the mouths of all the
lions in the lions' den all night, is the only true God, I
decree that all citizens of the empire worship the one true God.
And may the God of Israel bless the empire. (exits)

REPORTERS ALL -- God bless the empire.

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