Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Thank You, Darwin!" - A Tip on Gratitude That Could Keep You Out of Jail

Next time a judge gives you some great news, don't say something stupid like "Thank God" or "Thank you Jesus." This kind of unprotected speech can get you thrown in jail, as Junior Stowers just found out in Honolulu. As CBS News reports:
Junior Stowers raised his hands and exclaimed, "Thank you, Jesus!" in court last month when he was acquitted by a jury of abusing his son.

But his joy was short-lived when Circuit Judge Patrick Border held him in contempt of court for the "outburst" and threw him in jail.

Stowers, 47, sat in the courtroom and a cellblock for about six hours until the judge granted him a hearing on the contempt charge and released him.

The judge at a July 7 hearing dropped the contempt charge, a petty misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail.

Stowers couldn't be reached for comment. But his attorney in the contempt case, Deputy Public Defender Susan Arnett, said he wasn't treated fairly.

"I don't think there's anything about saying 'Thank you, Jesus' that rises to the level of contemptuous behavior in this case," she told The Honolulu Advertiser.
When you want to express your gratitude in court, stick with safe and government-approved expressions, such as "Thank you, Darwin!" or "Praise senseless chance!" Even "Cool!" works.

15 comments:

jeff g said...

Oh c'mon Jeff. There is no reason to suspect that the content had much anything to do with the matter. If he would have yelled "Thank you, jury!" it probably would have amounted to about the same thing.

I would also be curious to know what the exact context for the situation was. Had he been disruptive through out the hearing? What kind of mind set was the judge in? And so on.

My point is that to use this as an illustration of Christians suffering persecution simply sounds pathetically desperate to play the martyr.

Connor Boyack said...

Praise senseless chance.. oh man, that one has me busting up with laughter over here...

Bookslinger said...

I have to agree with Jeff G. Using the name of the Lord doesn't give you a pass to make an inappropriate outburst in a place that demands decorum and dignity.

And like Jeff G said, we don't know the context, let alone the guy's attitude or tone of voice.

My understanding is that judges don't like shouting or outbursts of any kind in their courtrooms.

Mormanity said...

Hey, Jeff G., can't a guy have a little fun with the news? This wasn't meant to be super-serious.

Yes, shouting "Praise Darwin" could have resulted in the same harsh treatment. Perhaps. Or perhaps a smile and a verbal warning.

We need some test cases to find out if there really is some kind of anti-Christian bias in our legal system, especially in Hawaii. So, how about some of you folks in Hawaii getting yourself arrested by, oh, let's saying walking into a school and praying or something. No, wait, you need to be found innocent. OK, let's have one of you tall guys walk into a school, then go over to one of those short little water fountains for children to get a drink, but since it's so short, you have to kneel down to get some water. Close your eyes and mumble while you do that, and hold that pose for about ten seconds - just long enough for the school's security guards to lock you up and haul you away for praying in school.

But you will have three witnesses there already (make sure they are in place before kneeling!) who can testify that you weren't praying, just thirsty, and so you will probably be found innocent. (If not, you'll be able to catch up on about five years of reading.) And when the judge says you are free, throw your hands up in the air and shout "Praise Darwin!" Then let us know what happens.

I'm betting you don't get tossed into jail, but who knows?

Stephen said...

The fact that they later dropped it all says a lot.

Christopher Estep said...

I don't think it's desperation to play the martyr, but pointing out what would be a double standard.

There's not a doubt in my mind that if he'd said "Thank you Allah!" instead, the judge would have at most admonished him because it's simply politically incorrect to criticize a muslim but not a christian.

I think you're bending over backwards to do just the opposite of what you accuse Jeff of doing. Instead of making a judgement based on the facts as presented, you assume that there must be some other circumstances. You're manufacturing reasonable doubt where none has been presented.

jeff g said...

Doh! Now I sound like I've got a big stick stuck up my caboose. Oh well, I guess that's what happens when you interact with people so far removed from a personal context.

Bookslinger said...

Christopher:
And why do you assume that evidence presented in this thread even comes close to describing what really happened? All we're going by is some news report that is obviously leaving a lot of information out.


Jeff L is the one who started jumping to conclusions (though in lightheartedness) based on insufficient "evidence presented". So it's quite proper to speculate what the full story is. I don't trust everything I see/read in the news or on the internet, including this blog.

Mike Parker said...

May I encourage the same restraint for athletes who have won the Big Championship. It's offensive when a winning basketball player or boxer goes into the post-game/-match interview and starts off with, "I'd just like to thank Jesus...."

I can guarantee that Jesus does not care who wins the NBA championship and is not lifting a finger to help either team.

Anonymous said...

Mike Parker said...
May I encourage the same restraint for athletes who have won the Big Championship. It's offensive when a winning basketball player or boxer goes into the post-game/-match interview and starts off with, "I'd just like to thank Jesus...."


Encourage all you want. But the venue of post-game interviews is not a court of law.

I can guarantee that Jesus does not care who wins the NBA championship and is not lifting a finger to help either team.

Yeah? What makes you so sure?

Capt. Obsidian said...

Anonymous, if Jesus cared about who won championships, then wouldn't BYU be winning the NCAA tourney every March? Or failing that, at least Notre Dame or Texan Christian. :)

Anonymous said...

Capt:
Read your scriptures. Sometimes the Lord supports the so-called "bad guys" in order to kick the collective butt of the so-called "good guys" when the good guys need chastisement. Think Babylon beating Judah, or Lamanites winning skirmishes (and finally that last battle) against the Nephites.

My point is that the Lord is intimately involved in all the major aspects of our lives. There are many things that we think the Lord doesn't care about, and we may be right in some instances. But I believe he cares about a lot more than we think.

How does that saying go? A butterfly
flapping its wings in Japan causes something-or-other on the other side of the world?

Possible scenario: If team "X" wins the championship, or loses it in the last game of the finals, that will directly affect the lives of players and employees of both teams. Players get traded, employees get hired/fired, people move and eventually they come in contact with just the right circumstances, or other people, that affect them for good or bad.

So who gets the glory of winning a championship may not matter much, if at all. But the ripple effect on all the people involved is something that God foresees. And he can use those ripples to control further events and circumstances of many people who are connected to that one event via various degrees of separation.

The end result of the various persecutions in Kirtland, Missouri and Illinois was that those who survived it all became a highly refined core group of people that became the pillars of the church. And it had a huge weeding out effect.

Adamite said...

Hey, Jeff L!!
I just wanted to say that you should put a disclaimer in before your posts saying that this is either a serious post or a light-hearted one. Some of these discussions are getting a little too serious when it was just a fun post. I enjoy reading your blog and discussions. Keep up the great work!!

Mark Butler said...

I think God would be a little insulted if you suggested he directly interfered in the outcome of a competitive sports events, in any way incoherent with the blessings that each competitor justly deserves (or does not deserve), both temporally and spiritually, in his actions and other preparations leading up to the event.

I imagine the attitude of some of the fans might be a spiritual drag as well, in team sports at least.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
I think we're on the same page. You certainly opened the door to the possibility of God's interfering in human affairs by using your caveat about "... incoherent with the blessings that each competitor justly deserves (or does not deserve),..."

I would also add that it is not up to us to delineate the parameters under which God interferes or actively participates in the affairs of men. So I'm saying let's be open to all of what God can or might do.

I would also point out that in terms of professional sporting events, that the players are employees of corporations owned by others, which in turn employ many other people, and are supported by thousands of fans, customers, and of late, even taxpayers.

Therefore, it is within the realm of possibility that God's relationship to sporting events also takes into account the many other people, besides players, who have a stake in the event.

Human events are a huge interconnected web. Sometimes events are the natural result of previous events. But sometimes you don't have to trace things very far back to find an event in which Heavenly Father had a hand.

Who's to say that Heavenly Father never has had a hand in a coin toss? I know for a fact that Heavenly Father can inspire people to do things without them even knowing they were inspired to do it. Calling a play or executing a move on the part of an athlete is most often the result of experience and training. But what about "gut feel" which also plays a big part of sports? Can Heavenly Father influence someone with a "gut feel" to choose to do something in the heat of competition, such that it appears to the person that it's their own choice or idea? I think so.

If God notices when a sparrow dies, or when a hair falls from our head, then he notices and takes an interest in everything. And he can, using his infinite wisdom and knowledge, literally use anything to bring about his ultimate purposes.

The Babylonians and the Lamanites show us that God uses/influences people without them even knowing they are being used/influenced.

Please don't let your sense of fairness dictate what God would or would not do. The scriptures have plenty of examples of people suffering real setbacks and injustices that eventually bring about greater good.