Selecting a new pope isn’t the only thing that the church is making headlines for. A Los Angeles archdiocese has reached a settlement for $9.9 million over a child molestation lawsuit. Michael Baker, a former priest, was found guilty for abusing young boys on overnight trips in and around San Diego in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Read more
Uh, what the??? Judge Mike Norman, from Muskogee, Oklahoma has decided on a different approach to sentencing criminals that come in his courtroom. Tyler Alred, 17, has taken a 10-year church sentence instead of prison for killing his friend and passenger, John Dum when he got in to an accident drunk driving. Included in his 10-year church sentence, he is also to graduate from high school and take alcohol and drug tests in order to defer this prison sentence. Dum’s family was actually happy to hear about this church sentence, since they believe that Tyler’s life should not be wasted in jail.
Apparently civility is the kind of thing that needs to be enforced by a court. A few weeks after a settlement banning school administrators in Texas from promoting religious displays, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery issued an order forcing certain school employees to apologize to the plaintiffs in the settled case. The settlement included a term forbidding administrators and employees from “disparaging” the plaintiff’s family, some agnostics who had objected the the promotion of prayer in a San Antonio graduation ceremony. The superintendent of the school district then nearly immediately disparaged the plaintiff’s family in a televised interview, not deigning to wait even a few hours after the settlement was reached. Later, the director of the high school marching band accused the plaintiffs of “lies and false accusations” on Facebook, a statement that could be construed as slander, should the plaintiff be able to prove that she is not a liar.
Judge Biery then issued a “Non-Kumbaya” order, essentially claiming that the defendants in the case need not be perfect friends with the plaintiffs, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” together and whatnot, but that they must at least be publicly amicable and civil. The order required two signed documents within ten days: one noting that the defendants have apologized for their outbursts, and one noting that the plaintiffs have accepted the apology. In his order, Judge Biery stressed that “silence is golden”, and that some people, such as Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, have paid a price for “talking too much”.
It’s a sad state of affairs when a judge has to step in to force someone to be graceful and reverent by order of the court. Makes it hard to believe that Coach Taylor could train such stand up players in an environment full of sore losers.