Thursday, May 12, 2005


The various Law & Orders are my favorite television shows. I've watched them so long I remember when there was only one of them! Last night (May 11) on an episode called "In God We Trust" the ne'er-do-well was a man who confessed to murdering his sister's black boyfriend nine years earlier in order to keep her from "throwing her life away." His lawyer was attempting to get the case thrown out in the interest of justice because the man had become a born again Christian, given up his $200,000/year job to work in a community outreach center, joined church, etc. His conversion was not a ploy. The lawyer argued he'd been redeemed, rehabilitated and contributed much more to society than he would in prison. Ultimately the judge refused to dismiss the case, the murderer pled guilty and his disappointed lawyer claimed that she could have hung the jury with the way the this country's been going, i.e., in the direction of religious belief.

The point of the show was quite overtly to challenge the supposed current direction of the country because the assumption seemed to be that those wacky Christians were likely to sympathize and let the guy go. That's where my suspension of disbelief began to founder. If I'm a criminal the last people I want on my jury are a bunch of church going born again Christian types. Even if the jury were convinced his conversion was sincere, I find it highly unlikely that any of them would nibble on this idea that working in a community outreach center was an acceptable substitute for prison (although, come to think about it...). Ultimately, we're supposed to be frightened by a theocratic America where criminal law is jettisoned in favor of letting recently converted criminals roam the streets.

As usual Law & Order was fun to watch. And now I have a little better understanding of the liberal-secular la-la land the NYC-LA axis inhabits.

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