Void Where Prohibited

Art by Mike Lee
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE NORMAN MORDUE RECENTLY threw out a lawsuit in which God was named as defendant. The Associated Press reported that a Pennsylvania man named Donald "blames God for failing to bring him justice in a 30-year battle against his former employer . . . [which] fired him in 1968, when it was called U.S. Steel."

Let's be reasonable. Pennsylvania Donald is a silly man. He also requested that God "return his youth and grant him the guitar-playing skills of famous guitarists, along with resurrecting his mother and his pet pigeon." But silliness doesn't make him wrong. Judge Mordue dismissed the case because he found it to be "frivolous." And the reason it's frivolous is because, well, no shit. Of course it's God's fault. If you believe that God -- say, anything from an unwitting collective consciousness to an old white guy with a beard and a robe who this season prefers UConn to Duke -- manufactured the universe, then you must by the nature of that belief hold God at least somewhat responsible for the goings-on therein, including bad guitar playing and dead pigeons.

Of course it's God's fault. But the American judicial system requires that defendants possess the capacity to be penalized by a judgment -- either money to cover our court costs or mortality for us to isolate or destroy or at least watch on Cops. God, in His wisdom and despite Jim Bakker, has no hard cash nor liquid assets nor a body to lock up and so gets off scot-free again, the sly devil.

In case there's any question about this, here is a Starbucks product warranty from 1996, with the word universe substituted for the words appliance, equipment and product; forever substituted for the phrase for two years; creation substituted for purchase; and God substituted for "Starbucks Coffee Company":

 

Thank you for choosing this exceptional universe from God. Your enjoyment of this creation is a priority for us. Please read the enclosed operation instructions carefully . . . To ensure your satisfaction with the quality of this universe, God includes a Limited Warranty with this creation. We hope that this universe from God provides you with many cups of coffee enjoyment.

 

LIMITED WARRANTY

This universe is warranted to you by God forever from the date of creation against defects in workmanship and materials. During the warranty period, a defective part of universe will be replaced with a new or reconditioned part or universe, depending on the availability at the time of replacement.

 

This warranty covers normal consumer usage and does not cover damage which occurs in shipment. Failure which results from alteration, accident, misuse, abuse, vandalism, neglect, installation, commercial use or improper maintenance is not covered under this warranty. Nor does this warranty extend to any universes which have been used in violation of written instructions, or to universes which have been altered or modified. This warranty does not cover damage which results from unauthorized repairs.

 

WARRANTY SERVICE

This universe has been carefully engineered for optimum performance. Do not attempt to repair this universe yourself. Attempts to repair this universe yourself may render it dangerous to use. Should the universe malfunction, you should first call toll-free 1-800-334-5553 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Pacific Standard Time and ask for WARRANTY SERVICES stating you are a consumer and having a problem with your universe. Under no circumstances should you attempt to open the housing and repair the universe. Should you do this, your warranty will be voided.

 

¥ "Alteration, accident, misuse, abuse, vandalism, neglect . . ." Hmm. Sounds like the Exxon Valdez (http://www.cnn.com/resources/video.almanac
/1989/exxon.valdez/exxon.valdez.25sec.mov
) which 10 years ago on March 24 committed one of the major atrocities of the 20th century, environmental or otherwise. From CNN: "The largest oil spill in U.S. history occurs when the tanker Exxon Valdez, loaded with some 1.2 million barrels of crude oil, runs aground on a reef in the Gulf of Alaska . . . The ship's captain, God, is later cleared of all charges of negligence relating to the crash."

 

" . . . commercial use or improper maintenance . . ." For sale: http://www.god.org/.

 

"Under no circumstances should you attempt to . . . repair the universe . . . " Plants. Where'd they come from? So many! So confusing! As Bill Hicks put it, "Doesn't the idea of making nature illegal seem, well . . . unnatural?" Almost all plants -- even ones that can kill you -- are "legal"; however, some plants, God didn't actually mean for us to use, so We've humbly corrected His almighty errors. Visit the November Coalition's Prisoners of War on Drugs: The Wall (http://www.november.org/wall.html) to learn more about how we're repairing God's li'l fuck-ups.


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