A Pizza chain lost a big-dollar lawsuit because of a promise to deliver pies before they could cool. In a misunderstood and mis-cited case, a woman sued an unnamed fast-food restaurant and won a multimillion dollar verdict (subsequently reduced) because the super-heated coffee she was holding between her legs (while her car was under a set of giant golden arches) spilled and burned her badly. The First Lady is condemning junk food and fast-food restaurants are now being investigated and sued for forcing us, at french-fry point, to spend our money to eat fat burgers.
These purveyors of saturated fat and fried animal parts are now required to have the contents and caloric total of their food available on demand in case we didn't know that a large hunk of fried meat, covered in cheese and sauces is not health food.
In a decision condemned from pulpits across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court in “Lawrence v. Texas” just opened the top of a Pandora’s box of expensive, emotionally divisive litigation (soon to be in a courtroom near you) surrounding a lifestyle that many feel violates basic religious and moral tenets.
There is no community in this country that has not been involved in the nation's favorite spectator sport — public moral and religious combat. North Carolina is currently involved in an angry and divisive battle over adding a prohibition against gay marriage to the state constitution. If the proponents win, the contested amendment is as sure to end up in court as Duke or one of the two Carolinas are to end up in the NCAA basketball tournament.
There seems to be no limit to the increasingly litigious and conservative nature of our society. If the wheels of justice can be greased while self-righteously crushing the individual freedoms of another under the treads — why heck that's just redeye gravy on that ham dinner.
As a nation we seem to be teetering, precariously, on the edge of a litigious theocracy where only churches and lawyers will rule. Jonathan Swift said, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
If the day ever comes when anyone can combine biblical fundamentalism with a good, old-fashioned, money-damages law suit we will have stepped over the edge into an unknown void.
Wait! I can do that.
Not too long ago, I attended a small church. During a brief lull, when the minister's usually fine-tuned train of thought Amtracked off the rails, I picked up a copy of the King James version. Having had more than one brief brush with the law, I turned to Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
For those of you unfamiliar with those books of the Old Testament, they contain references to Biblical laws. They cite the Ten Commandments and contain rules and punishments for all levels of society and all manner of behavior. They set out marriage laws, dietary laws and rules governing military conflict. They are fascinating documents. Well, I was lost in the pages in the purely academic sense until I came to Chapter 23. Then it became personal — very personal.
First, some background: I have had a vasectomy. If you must know, it was both voluntary and, to date, successful. This is not the type of personal information I normally share with the general public. It now becomes necessary to divulge what was previously disclosed to only two or three hundred close friends and family members at my “Free at Last” party.
The reason I must share this information is because Chapter 23 of Deuteronomy tells me that anyone "wounded in the stones" may not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
I showed my wife the passage and, between barely suppressed gales of laughter, she whispered, "I understand stones, but what does wounded mean?"
I didn’t know. Additional research informed me that it means sterilization by either crushing (whoa!!) or cutting.
Time out. All men may now take a deep, cleansing breath.
Needless to say, I’ve been wounded. Further research showed that being barred from the "congregation of the Lord" means (depending on the interpreter) either the priesthood or heaven. Either way, I’m barred.
What we have here is the makings of a serious malpractice suit. There are a number of things I do remember about the day I became a gelding and many of them I would like to forget. Among the things that stand out in my mind is the Information and Release form listing known risks and potential side effects of the surgery. The form contained all manner of potential problems up to and including death. Nowhere on that form was I informed that I also risked, depending on your interpretation, either lifetime employment discrimination (priesthood) or eternal damnation.
The doctor’s failure to inform me of these risks I contend constitutes medical malpractice and has caused me irreparable and possibly eternal harm. We’re talking serious injury here.
I am not the only victim of this national medical conspiracy. I understand that the "Big V" is one of the most popular elective surgeries performed today. There are millions of men out there similarly situated, injured and uninformed.
When you have this many people injured in the same manner by the same entity you file suit as a “class” and seek damages on behalf of those similarly injured.
Once we win (with men on the jury I know we will) how do you compute damages? Back to the source of course. Matthew 16:26 asks what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and yet lose his soul? It seems that the whole world is not enough compensation for the loss of your soul. We’re talking serious damages here.
I am on the cutting edge (so to speak) of a whole new type of litigation that may well be the next American rage. It combines birth control, money, sex, heaven, hell, the Bible, health care, doctors, lawyers, surgery, blood and courtrooms. The AMA and Pope Benny should be worried about their off-shore accounts, silver candle sticks and gold collection plates and the church should be worried too.
If the Bible may be consistently and too-frequently cited as a reason to attack our fellow man and woman minding their own business and living their own lives why can’t a few million men use it to make a few bucks in court?
Can I have an AMEN?