Mask Up for Satan!

Freedom of speech always seemed like a such a good idea but it’s apparent not everyone agrees.

Consider the situation described in a Wisconsin federal judge’s recent ruling in a case involving a Board of Education meeting: “During the time allotted for public comments, Anderson went to the podium and stated that she was opposed to having her children wear masks and practice social distancing, which, she stated, are practices associated with ‘Satanic worship.’”

Satanism sounds like a pretty safe religion. Maybe we should all convert.

The speaker also complained about a Muslim board member and said Christian children shouldn’t be forced to wear face masks. Suddenly, Christianity sounds a lot scarier than Satanism.

The school board proceeded to ban the speaker from school property (for the attack on the Muslim member, not the Satanic worship part), and First Amendment litigation ensued.

For the most part, freedom of speech won out here and I suppose that’s a good thing, but it seems like this is far from an isolated sort of thing these days. I say “seems” because, as a respected veteran journalist, I’ve listened to crazy stuff for many decades. It’s not new — we just hear about it more.

I’m glad that we’ve been educated about the surprising virtues of Satanism, but there’s of lot other stuff most of us would rather not hear. So what do we do? I say do what I do — praise Satanism.

I don’t mean Satanism specifically — I mean hypothetical Satanism. If someone we don’t like comes out against something, we need to embrace that something.

I have an old person’s example: the TV series “Married with Children.” Conservative groups condemned it and it became a hit.

Modern example: Dr. Seuss is on the bestseller list. Withdrawing the racist books might have been a marketing trick.

So hail Satan!

Rules of engagement. If you give someone a valuable present for an event and the event doesn’t happen, should you get the gift back?

No, I haven’t run across a lawsuit asking that question, but it was the question that came to my mind after spotting a split Georgia Court of Appeals ruling on the issue of whether the bride or groom should get the wedding presents after the wedding was called off.

We’re talking “numerous gifts” after an engagement party and a bridal shower. It seemed like a potential class action on behalf of gift-givers to me. Instead, what we have is litigation over whether the bride or the groom gets to keep all the goodies.

I know you’re thinking they should split them, but, in this particular case, the loving (?) couple signed an engagement agreement saying the party who didn’t do the breaking up got to keep everything. Then they signed a settlement agreement, and then the would-be wife and her parents sued over whether the settlement was fraudulently induced.

That must have been one heck of a gift haul. There’s got to be some gift-givers looking for legal advice.

Be that as it may, there is a legal lesson here for those of you with clients thinking about breaking off engagements: wait until after the wedding. Divorce is simpler.

Dead issue. I love a good professional ethics hypothetical. Here’s one for you to play with. This quote is the first two sentences of a recent ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court:

“An employee sued her former employer for wrongful termination. The employee died, but her attorney continued to litigate, negotiate, and mediate the case for another year before informing the court or opposing counsel of her death.”

Was this zealous representation? Analyze and discuss. Enjoy.

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