Legally Speaking: Did the Devil make them do it?

By John G. Browning | Nov 19, 2013

In a recent interview, Justice Antonin Scalia—as towering a legal authority as they come—discussed his belief as a Catholic not only that the Devil exists, but that Satan is still very much around and even “wilier” than ever before.

He gets people “not to believe in him or in God.  He’s much more successful that way,” said Scalia.

I agree that Satan, Old Scratch, Beelzebub—whatever you want to call him—is still making his demonic presence known nowadays, and I’m not alone.

If you look at some of the recent goings-on in the legal system, plenty of folks see the Devil’s influence in legal matters.  Channeling their inner “Church Lady,” these individuals fervently believe they know who was behind the legal wrong that was done to them.  Could it be, oh I don’t know, maybe—SATAN!?

First up are a group of law professors at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Ohio.  Putting aside how easy it can be to associate law professors with Satan (hey, I was a law student once, too), it seems like charges of unfair labor practices have been filed on behalf of eight union organizers on the law school faculty against the university alleging “retaliatory” merit pay raises.

Apparently, pay raises for 2013 and 2014 were supposed to fall in one of several categories—$5,000, $3,000, $666 or $0—based on a formula that took into consideration scholarship/writing, teaching and service.  The complaint alleges that law professors who were union organizers received raises of either $666 or $0, despite what it contends were “exemplary” scores on the scholarly and teaching fronts.  In effect, the complaint says, a $666 raise is equating those law professors with Satan.

In a memo, one of the eight union organizers noted that 666 “is a universally understood symbol of the Antichrist or Devil,” one that “[i]mplicitly, but unmistakably and obviously intentionally, [the Dean] used his powers to set faculty salaries as an occasion to brand his perceived opponents as the Antichrist.”

The university responded by saying the $666 figure was the result of mathematical division rather than anti-union feelings, and that the dean never made a reference to a “666 or satanic merit pay amount for certain allegedly union-active faculty members.”

In other words, nothing to see here, folks.

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, a civil rights lawsuit has been filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a laborer at a coal mining company who was allegedly forced to retire because of his religious beliefs.

The lawsuit, filed against Consol Energy/Consolidation Coal Co., claims that evangelical Christian Beverly R. Butcher Jr. was told to submit to biometric hand scanning in order to keep track of his time and attendance.

Butcher maintains that this violates his faith, and wrote a letter to his employers discussing his “religious beliefs about the relationship between hand scanning technology and the Mark of the Beast and Antichrist discussed in the Bible,” and requested exemption from hand scanning in accordance with those beliefs.

The coal company responded with a letter from its biometric scanning vendor, Recognition Systems Inc., in which it tried to assure workers that it does not assign “the Mark of the Beast” as it is discussed in Chapter 13, Verse 16 of the Book of Revelations.

The letter suggested that since the Bible references only the right hand and forehead as bearing the “Mark,” concerned employees get scanned with their left hand and palm facing up.  The coal mining company rejected alternatives that Butcher offered, such as keeping a written record of his hours or checking in and out with his supervisor.

As a result, the lawsuit claims, Butcher has been discriminated against because of his religious beliefs, leading him to take early retirement.

And in Kentucky, a cross-country runner from Whitley County High School pulled out of a regional championship meet to avoid running with the bib number “666,” something she said would conflict with her religious beliefs.

Junior Codie Thacker and her coach asked meet officials for permission to switch to another number after the bib number was randomly drawn.  Thacker says she was clear that her refusal was on religious grounds, stating “I didn’t want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number,” but the race authorities refused her request.

Thacker says she had trained since June for the race and an opportunity to advance to the state championships, but that she had to remain true to her Christian beliefs.

Yes, perhaps the Devil is alive and well in our legal system.  Maybe, after I see a shocking decision come from a particular judge, I should be concerned about demonic possessions.  Where’s an exorcist when you need one?

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