Secret Sermon

     Are sermons supposed to be a secret?
     Preaching seems kind of pointless without an audience.
     So I’m kind of mystified by the outrage being expressed on behalf of a guy who has been asked to turn over his sermons.
     Why would he not want people to read what he’s preaching?
     “Today, Dr. Eric Walsh announces that he will not hand over his sermons to the State of Georgia.”
     That’s the opening line of a press release issued last week by something called the First Liberty Institute. It seems that Walsh was hired as a Department of Health official and then quickly fired by Georgia. He then sued the state in federal court for religious discrimination.
     Now he and a bunch of conservative groups and websites are appalled that, as part of a typical discovery laundry list, the state asked for sermon notes and transcripts — in a dispute over whether religion affected a firing decision.
     A Fox News “exclusive” on the story quoted one of Walsh’s lawyers as saying: “He was fired for something he said in a sermon.”
     So, naturally, they don’t want anyone to know what was in the sermon?
     It’s very mysterious.
     The headline on the Charisma News website declares: “GA Governor Demands Pastor Hand Over His Sermons — and His Bible.”
     As far as I can tell, there’s no request for a Bible from the state, and the governor isn’t personally handling the litigation.
     Maybe it’s because I just don’t see what’s going on. Charisma News, it turns out, offers some amazing investigative reporting.
     A sample of their headlines:
     “Beyonce’s Haunted Demonic Flow Drives Teens to Slit Their Wrists.
     “Ex-Witch Reveals the Ritual Satanic Abuse That Happens on Halloween.
     “Witches ‘Exert Mental Influence’ to Force Donald Trump to Quit the Presidential Race.
     Sometimes I think the people at The Onion write most of the internet.
     
     Father Figures. Those of you in the mood for a heartwarming tale should take a look at a California Court of Appeals ruling issued this month called In Re Alexander P., in which we find that not one, not two, but three men want to be declared the parent of a 3-year-old.
     And, apparently, they may all get their wish.
     How is this possible?
     Well, it seems that one is the biological father, one lived with mom when she gave birth, and the third lives with her now.
     Three men and a baby.
     And a woman.
     Lucky kid?
     Um, well, not exactly.
     It seems, according to the court, that the biological father told mom “he was not ready for fatherhood and expressed concern about her decision not to abort the fetus.”
     And boyfriends two and three both committed domestic violence.
     I have no idea why they all want the kid now, but someone needs to get that child into witness protection fast.
     
     Mathematical Madness. Those of you who enjoy numbers and/or financial planning may want to take a look at another California Court of Appeals ruling called California v. Aguilar, in which we get a dissertation on calculating the cost of graffiti removal.
     But that’s not the interesting part.
     What’s fascinating is that a criminal defendant was given a court-appointed lawyer — whose time presumably has some value — to appeal a ruling on whether $475 was too much for her graffiti-painting client to pay for removal of his apparently obscene artwork from the wall of a child-care center.
     The defense argued that the fine should have been about $100 or $200.
     The savings, if the defendant had won, probably would have been less than the cost of the appeal.
     The state, of course, was defending a fine imposed on a guy who couldn’t afford a lawyer.
     I guess it’s the principle that counts …

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