In God We Trust

The heavy doors to the courtroom closed with determination. Everyone in the room knew the time was nigh. The clerk took her seat, the attorneys waited anxiously and finally, the judge appeared and everyone rose out of respect.

When he gave his nod, the people in the courtroom sat collectively and waited for the trial to begin… They weren’t sure what the trial was about, there had been so few of them lately. But when activity occurred in the courtroom, it drew a crowd. Today was no different.

“What do we have before us?,” the judge’s deep voice boomed. “Who will bring forth the case at hand?”

A tall confident attorney, dressed in his dapper gray suit stood up, pushing his antique chair behind him. His tie stood out, not blue or red, but an unremarkable pattern with an even number of colors distributed equally in the pattern. The glasses on his face disguised the color of his eyes and refused to give away his emotions.

“Your Honor,” he said with a small smirk, “We actually have no trial today. I’m afraid we’ve wasted your time, Sir. But we’ve lessened your workload considerably.”

“What?! No trial? I was told I needed to render a verdict!” exclaimed the judge.

“Well, no sir, we’ve taken care of that for you,” the attorney responded. “In fact, we actually rendered the verdict before this case could come to trial.”

“You see, Sir,” the attorney went on, “we almost brought you a case about how the President was overstepping his Constitutional rights, and even though he received 51% of the country’s vote, we waited just long enough in his term for his approval ratings to go down and we sent out media blitzes and social media innuendos and 63% of the country has now judged him to be incompetent.”

“So we thought we’d then bring you a case on abortion. But a group of church leaders got together and condemned all those young women who had abortions, so they took care of that verdict. And then, as luck would have it, other church leaders condemned those who didn’t help the young women in need, so the first group of church leaders was also found guilty.”

The judge sat back in his chair, silently shaking his head as the attorney continued.

“Of course, then we had to look at those church leaders who also said that all Muslims weren’t bad. Well, it only took a little research to find people who would disagree and proclaimed all Muslims guilty. To be fair, we found other groups who proclaimed guilt on the Catholics because of the priest scandals and because of their involvement in wars throughout our history. Of course, some religious leaders didn’t follow the rules in the Bible, per our interpretation, so we found them guilty, too.”

“The blacks found the whites guilty and vice versa, and then everyone lumped in the rest of the nationalities because they really didn’t know much about them, so they figured they had to be guilty.”

“Environmentalists just went too far with their issues and protests, so they were condemned for their efforts and developers probably were found guilty faster. After all, people associated the developers with all the construction and stripping away of our natural resources, which of course led to the discussion on social media and in the news media and that made those guilty verdicts against all corporations happen very quickly. Of course, the small businesses were ruined by association, but that helped weed out potential criminal behavior. Oh, and our neighbors were guilty of invading our privacy and our relatives were condemned for not adhering to family traditions. And the LGBT population, well, someone found them guilty. Quite honestly, I can’t remember their case, it happened so quickly.”

“We would have had police here, sir, but as you can see, they are absent from the room. You must know, because you’ve read the headlines, that all police are guilty…of something. It’s in the paper, so it must be true. Same with the Republicans and the Democrats — they must be guilty also because someone posted it on Facebook. And the unaffiliated? Well, we figure they are guilty simply because they weren’t willing to take a side. I think we’ve cleared your caseload, Sir, so you can rest easy now.”

The attorney rested a moment when he sensed the judge was about to speak. The judge opened his mouth, shut it again and sighed. And looked down at his gavel and then up again at the people in the room.

“It seems like light years ago that I worked so hard to set up a system to protect good over evil. I worked with people and countries and had my name invoked on documents detailing a fair and equitable system to determine who could be considered innocent and who could be considered guilty. Even those who were proclaimed guilty by courts of law, could still have one last opportunity for their salvation here, in my court. I know there are people of heart — I gave them breath. I know there are people of conscience — I gave them free will. I know there are people worth saving — I give of them myself.”

The judge looked around the courtroom and shook his ancient finger at the few who remained. “You have made yourselves the judges and the jury!” he angrily shouted to the people. “And in doing so, you have lost your purpose, you have lost your compassion, your hearts, your souls. Indeed, you have lost me!”

He stood up to leave, with his back to the room and his head bowed. He prayed silently as one solitary tear fell down his robe to the floor of the courtroom. He prayed for hope and he slowly turned to tell the people in his courtroom that he prayed for their redemption.

When he again faced the room, however, he saw that everyone had been taken away. The big courtroom with its history, its solemn and stately furnishings seemed hollow and without purpose.

Suddenly the big courtroom door then opened for one man, carrying a ladder. The judge watched as the man set the ladder on a steep incline just above the judge’s desk and climbed very carefully up each rung. The man reached the top rung and stretched his arm to pull down the heavy medallion that had quietly overseen years and years of deliberations. Just as the man touched the medallion, it fell beyond his grasp and with a solid crash, landed in a few pieces on the courtroom floor. The judge knelt down to pick up the largest piece and only then did his tears flow with unabashed emotion. The jagged edges of the piece against his fingers even furthered his pain as he read aloud the damaged words he held in his hand, “In God We Trust”.


Author: jillswain

Former Mayor Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Advertising consultant Mom and spouse (30 years and counting!) Rec league girls' volleyball coach Champion of all things Huntersville, North Carolina

3 thoughts on “In God We Trust”

  1. Wow! Powerful, thought provoking words. Thank you for always challenging complacency and the status quo that we often settle for. Today, I’m reminded to think openly, love deeply, live fully, embrace simplicity and explore the awesome… daily.

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