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The Sodomite

By Matt Cook May 2011

The courtroom was large and imposing. I took that as a good sign. There’s something about ‘officialness’ that puts the heart at ease. That’s why mobs are so scary, I think. No head. No authority. No constitution. It’s amazing what a piece of paper or an emblem can do to make things civilized, eh? So I didn’t really feel nervous. There was no jury, just a section behind me for the spectators. I figured that was a good sign, too. I never liked the idea of being judged by my peers. My peers are idiots. The judge (I assumed he was a judge) was reading through the book they gave him when they brought me in. By this time I figured out what was going on. I was in a parable or pointed short story or something like that. The prosecution was the devil. He was going to bring up a list of all the sins I did. But the judge would look at them and say something about his son having already erased those and I’d be set free. Or else the judge would condemn me guilty and sentence me to death, but then he’s take off his robe and take my place. Or some other, wittier version of the same story. Either way, I knew I’d be out on the streets soon. Everyone knows how these things go. The judge was reading for a long time. I guess that helped for the dramatic emphasis. You don’t want to give away the ending, just in case the reader was new to the faith and hadn’t seen it play out this way. I put on airs of concern, just for the audience’s sake. Best to let the readers think I was sweating, despite my righteous confidence. He cleared his throat. The bailiff nudged me and I stood. “The charge,” the judge read, “is thus: The defendant has taken the sacred name of God in vain.” That was a bit of a surprise. “Really? I’m so careful about my words, your honour. I can’t remember any time that I’ve used God’s name as a swear word.” The judge opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. He looked at me with his mouth open a little and an eyebrow raised. He looked confused. “A swear word?”

“I guess I shouldn’t be saying anything, eh? You probably know better than me. But I always tried really hard. I guess I might have said ‘oh my g-o-d’ back when I was in high school.” The judge took off his glasses and gazed at me, as if not quite sure I was really

there. “Are you taking this seriously, sir? Because if this is a joke, it’s in bad taste. I just charged you with taking God’s name vainly.”

I shrugged. “Sorry. I just can’t remember doing that.”

“I’ll remind you, then. When someone asks what label you attach to yourself, what do you say?”

shrugged. “I say I’m a Christian. I’m a follower of God.” The judge gestured with his hand as if to say ‘see?’ ”

I

“I don’t understand

“Most of your life you identified yourself with God. But this court contends that you did it vainly. Uselessly.”

“What?”

“You labelled yourself as something sacred and did not live according to your

label.”

“Wait, that’s not what that verse means! Who’s writing this?” “What, you thought it was written to encourage people to speak politely?”

I wasn’t feeling so good at this point. I kept my mouth shut as he proceeded.

“The first exhibit of evidence: the defendant is habitually guilty of Peccatum

Sodomiticum.” I figured this was a big deal by the way the spectators groaned and shook their heads. “Say what?” I asked. The judge flipped through some papers. “Sodomy.”

“Dude!”

“Excuse me?” “I ain’t gay!” “I should hope not. This is a serious case and levity does not serve here.” “No! I mean I’m not homosexual!”

Again I got that confused look. “You are not accused of being a homosexual, sir.

Your behaviour is very erratic. This court will not be sympathetic if you plead insanity.” “I’m so very confused.” “Let me enlighten you. For most of your life you have been living in Peccatum Sodomiticum. That is, you have been committing the sin for which the ancient city of Sodom was overthrown. You have enjoyed luxury and excess of food, and yet you have refused to aid the needy.”

“But

but

God killed them because they were gay.”

“I doubt God has ever killed anyone for being happy.” “No! They were homos! Homosexuals. That’s why God killed them! That’s what the Bible says.” The judge sighed. “You may want to revisit that book, sir. It was the wealth mixed with the greed of Sodom that overthrew it. That’s what the sin of Sodom is. That’s what Sodomy is. Therefore, you are charged with being a Sodomite.” “I gotta say,” I said. “Shouldn’t you be using language a little more analogically? I mean, everyone thinks that sodomy is butt-sex.” “Fine, you are charged with being a wealthy, blood-sucking brat who complains that he didn’t get enough drumsticks in his KFC bucket while most people in the world are not getting enough calories in their diet to facilitate healthy bowel movements. You are charged with throwing out food because you don’t like it while babies die because their mothers cannot eat enough to nurse them. You are charged with defecating in tanks of clean water while children waste away and die of thirst. In brief, the sin of Sodom.” There’s no subtlety in this story, I thought. That’s where the author is going wrong. I get his point, but he’s not going to reach anyone with this heavy-hammer approach. The judge pick up his papers and put his glasses back on. “The defendant has committed the following offenses against the firstborn son of God: Pretended he was checking his watch while the son of God was asking for change on the street. Ducked out of a conversation because he was turned off by the son of God’s poor social skills. Employed the son of God in a sweat shop-” “Say what?”

The judge looked up. “Your shoes. Jesus made them. In a sweat shop. At age ten. It hurt his fingers.” “But everyone does that! I mean, I get what you’re saying. I really do! The whole, ‘whatever you did to the least of these’ thing. I should pay more attention to homeless people. I should try to be nicer and maybe I shouldn’t shop at Wal-mart. But are you seriously suggesting that I’m going to be condemned for that? It’s not fair!” The judge raised an eyebrow. “You were raised among people who taught that people who didn’t sign up to a 6-point doctrinal statement were going to hell and you this this is too narrow?” “But I asked Jesus to be my personal saviour!” “I have no idea what that means.” “I’m a good Christian. I fast!” The judge looks over his papers. “My records show you have never fasted.” “That’s not true! I used to fast in Bible college all the time.” “You shared your bread with the hungry on those days?” “Huh? No.” “You invited the homeless into your house?” “No, but-” “You worked to break oppression and injustice? You pleaded for widows and orphans?” “No, but I, y’know, don’t eat.” “You’ve never fasted. You just went hungry. The seer Isaiah made this clear.” “I don’t understand this! I’m a believer! I made a commitment to Christ!” “And sorely broke it, by the look of things.” “But he said that whoever came to him would never be cast out.” The judge clucked his tongue. “If only you had gone to him.” “But I did! I prayed! I confessed my sins!” “Good for you. So did Judas.” “I believed his revelations!” “As did Balaam.” “I took up my cross and followed him.”

“Lie.”

“I

I trusted in him who justifies the ungodly.”

“I highly doubt that. If you trusted him you would have been doing a few of the things that he was doing.” “I don’t understand. Am I being condemned?” The judge shrugged. “I’m not really in the business of condemning, truth be told. This isn’t actually a court. I’m not even a judge.” “What? Who are you?” “I don’t know. It’s your stupid story, Matt.”

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