Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Un-fabulous

Posted by Ron Coleman on July 10, 2008

The thing about the nuts that fall from Obama’s tree, it seems, is you get a good luck* look at the unappetizing meat in ’em when they crack open on the hard ground. Tales from the Unreality-Based Community:

A homosexual man who has a blog on Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign website is suing two major Christian publishers for violating his constitutional rights and causing emotional pain, because the Bible versions they publish refer to homosexuality as a sin. . . .

Fowler alleges both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, with its King James Bible, manipulated Scripture without informing the public by using the term “homosexuals” in a New Testament passage, 1 Corinthians 6:9.

He told the Grand Rapids TV station in an interview he wants to “compensate for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability.”

Zondervan, he contended, is misinterpreting the Bible.

“These are opinions based on the publishers,” Fowler said. “And they are being embedded in the religious structure as a way of life.” . . .

Fowler, who is representing himself in both lawsuits, says in his complaint against Zondervan that the publisher intended to design a religious, sacred document to reflect an individual opinion or a group’s conclusion to cause “me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence … including murder.”

So much… so very, very much… that is so stupid, so nuts, so God – help – Michigan about this. Where to begin? How to say when?

First… if you want it… I’ve downloaded the insane, hand-written complaint here. Go ahead, you read it. Now, the bullet points:

  • As Kevin D. over at Dean’s World points out, you can slice this seven ways to Sunday but 1 Corinthians 6:9 does not exactly have a monopoly on condemnation of homosexuality as sinful. After all, we Jews don’t have a Corinthians besides in our Plymouth Volares, but there’s the not-so-minor matter of Leviticus.
  • This leads to the obvious conclusion that, accepting Fowler’s premise that the opinion of the Bible itself matters, he really should be suing God. After all, that’s what they do in Europe! And isn’t Europe where we look for moral guidance, if we’re guys like Fowler? (UPDATE: A-hah! Via Dean.)
  • Then there’s the small matter of the facts, Jack: “A company spokesman [says] that Zondervan doesn’t translate the Bible or own the copyright for any of the translations but relies, instead, on the “scholarly judgment of credible translation committees.” All right, fair enough — that’s a fact question amenable to the litigation process, but a big one.
  • Next there’s this Constitution thingy. God and Culture guy Paul Edwards frets, “Will a federal court actually go so far as to get involved in what words can be used in the translation of a sacred text?” Survey says: No, for two reasons: (1) The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, and (2) the First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Plus…
  • Let’s drill down from “Constitution” to “justice.” The PACER federal court filing system reports that Fowler is asking for $9,999,000 in damages. I’m sure this number has some meaning. Still, we have a concept in the law called “proximate cause“: It is not enough to be a link in the causal chain between, say, your having adding fuel to a fire used to forged an anvil in Allentown, Pennsylvania and that anvil falling on some poor fellow’s head as he walks past 1407 Broadway; he has to prove your act was basically what we might call the “main reason” for his injury. No matter how wicked a version of the Bible I cook up, the law will not and cannot hold me responsible for some third party’s reading it and committing “verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence … including murder.”
  • Especially because no one murdered Fowler, seeing as how he filed this lawsuit and stuff.
  • There’s more to the story! “U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. refused Monday to appoint an attorney to represent Fowler in the Thomas Nelson case, saying the court “has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims.” Huh? Yeah, he asked for a court-appointed lawyer — here‘s the application. Civil plaintiffs do not get court-appointed attorneys, pretty much regardless of the merit or lack of merit of their claims. But evidently in the Eastern District of Michigan, the form for pro se litigants more or less invites them to try.** Can you blame him, especially considering, er, the other indicia of discretion?

Then, beyond bullet points, there’s the Obama issue. On one hand, this was the same day America’s Savior, engaged in a mad (dare we say heedless?) dash to the center as it is, got a public relations present from erstwhile gag candidate Jesse Jackson for being too damned reactionary. Jackson took time out from whatever it is he actually does to volunteer to perform a surgical procedure on Obama that actually would have done the Rev. Jesse some good on precisely the topic at hand. On the other hand, the same day the LORD taketh it away with this lunatic.

It’s obviously not reasonable to tar Obama with the brush of this nut … entirely. Is it?

Well, fair’s fair. No one should suggest that Obama agrees with this guy any more than he agrees with, I dunno, his former pastor for 20 years or something, who you’d think (depends when you look!) wouldn’t have all that much more use for Fowler’s way of life, and its militant style, than most black ministers do.

Well, okay, you’d be wrong about that.

But the point, once again, is this: What kind of people, trend-wise, do we find in Barack Obama’s tent, and on his website? The WorldNet article digs into Fowler’s blog posts, both on his Obama blog and his independent one. He’s a genuine meshugener of the lefty kind.

So which is a politically more helpful spin, and which is a more credible one?: That the Obama campaign didn’t bother reading “their” blogger’s published works as long as he cranked out what they needed for their purposes? Or that they did read them but, before Foamin’ Fowler stepped over the line this way and caused public embarrassment, they couldn’t tell the rantings of a a certifiable left-wing lunatic from the merely ordinary kind?

* Hat tip for the pickup to S&M-classifieds-powered-shopper blog, the Village Voice.

** At page 3 of the pro se form: “Will the Court appoint a lawyer to represent me? If you would like an attorney, and cannot afford to hire one, the Court may appoint an attorney to represent you. To ask the Court to appoint a lawyer, please fill out an Application for Appointment of Counsel form, available in the Clerk’s Office. The Judge bases the decision to appoint an attorney on two items: your financial situation and the merits of your case.”

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9 Responses to “Un-fabulous”

  1. […] Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Success has a copy of the hand-written complaint (PDF), as well as other commentary and links. James Taranto also […]

  2. The Obama website is an endless source of amusement. Communists, Truthers, and fools oh my!

  3. jaymaster said

    Looks like his posts have been removed from the Obama site.

    Could be another victim of that deadly Obama bus. It’s amazing how many people seem to “slip and fall” under that thing.

    Maybe there’s class action potential there?

  4. Jonathan said

    look at the pdf version of this guy’s actual handwritten complaint at the “More:” section at:

    http://overlawyered.com/2008/07/gay-man-sues-bible-publishers/#comment-24333

    and the links above…This is amazing:

    Did I read that right or does it actually say “My Prayer” on page 7 as the heading of the conclusion/last paragraph of that pdf?

    Prayer? Is this guy serious? If it does say prayer this guy is a complete loony. Praying to the court system? What about the “Separation of Church and State” the liberals love to cling to in a distorted version–to name one of many many rediculous aspects of such a “prayer”…this suit is insane, and 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is coming to full prophecy before our eyes. Lord Jesus, help us, help our nation… now THAT is a true heartfelt prayer.

  5. craig mclaughlin said

    I haven’t read the complaint and I’m sure, from reading the post, that this guy is as goofy as Ron says he is, but the words prays, pray or prayer turn up frequently in complaints. Pretty much boilerplate.

  6. jaymaster said

    I am not a lawyer, and this guy might be a nut.

    But in North Carolina, at least, “prayer” is a legal term of sorts.

    In traffic court, it’s possible to ask a judge for something called a “prayer for judgment continued”.

    I did it once. It was kind of a scam, IMO. If granted, you were only responsible for paying court costs ($80 or so, at the time), but not the fine ($20, for speeding). And you got no points.

    One of the counties actually had a walk up window where you could plead for a PJC to an assistant DA, pay your court costs, and walk away. Took about a minute and a half.

    http://www.carinsurance.com/kb/content27086.aspx

  7. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lawyers “pray” to the court all the time. It just means ask, request. Of course it is obsolete, but so is a lot of the material in the more formal aspects of legal practice.

  8. SPQR said

    He probably thinks he is in Canada.

  9. […] Religion Clause has links to the hand-written complaints. For rather less useful commentary, here’s a discussion of the suit in the context of an anti-Barack Obama screed (really!). [My own […]

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