The Bible tells us not judge one another. The Book of Matthew 7:1-2 says straight up that whosoever judges someone will themselves be judged.
Not only will we be judged (presumably by God), but we’ll also be judged in exactly the same way we judge others.
The exact same way? Spiteful, petty, sneering and completely biased judgment hardly seems to be what one would expect from a loving, omnipotent being, but that’s what the Bible says. We can’t argue with that.
The hell we can’t. Never mind what the Bible says. We’re practically required to judge others if we wish to keep our children safe, our money from being stolen, and people who think they’re god out of the White House.
Despite my biblical skepticism, I tried using it to prevent being chosen for a jury. I insisted that judging a case was against my religion (although not against my occupation) and therefore I should be excused.
Didn’t work. I was ordered to report Tuesday morning to 3rd District Court. Truthfully, it was more of a threat than a summons. If I failed to report, I was subject to a large fine, jail time or being eaten alive by squirrels.
I showed up. The odds against being selected would be heavily in my favor. Only someone with a law degree from Sears would want an ex-cop, newspaper columnist and known fool to be on a jury.
The vetting process was remarkably easy. In Room W19 at the Matheson Courthouse, I was handed a questionnaire, a miserable excuse for a pen and sent into a room with a hundred other people.
This would be the easiest way to get out of jury duty. All I had to do was answer truthfully.
For example, “Have you or a loved one ever been involved in a car accident? If yes, what was the person’s relationship to me, and the nature of the accident and injuries, if any.”
My answers: Yes. Best friend. Hit him with my car because he threw a rock through the back window. Six stitches, dislocated shoulder and a medium-to-serious muffler burn.
Question • “Do you have chronic pain?”
Answer • “Did you even bother to look at my age?”
Question • “Name three people you admire most.”
Answer • “My wife, Jon Huntsman Sr. and Santa.
Question • “List three people you admire least.”
Answer • “Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and whoever happens to be speaking in church.”
We turned in the questionnaires and then watched a short video in which KUTV reporter Cristina Flores explained just how important the jury system is to America. In this case, I didn’t believe her anymore than I did the Bible (no offense, Cristina).
Then Salt Lake County Deputy Adam Alfaro collected a bunch of us, put numbered lanyards around our necks and herded us to market in 3rd District Judge Kara L. Pettit’s courtroom.
Things were getting scary now. Crammed into seats and inspected by the attorneys in the case, as well as the judge, I tried to keep a low profile. Occasionally questions were asked about our fitness for service.
Did any of us have an extra leg? Were we in fact native to Earth? Had any of us ever been lobotomized? Would we have any hesitation in rewarding someone the money amounting to the gross national product of Brazil while we would get only $40 a day?
I kept my head down and didn’t say anything. Fat lot of good it did me. Judge Pettit singled me out and said that the only thing she wanted to hear from me during the next three days was, “Yes, your majesty.”
With that, Paul, Shelley, Rick, Brian, Sarah, Tresa, Alex and — worst of all — me were on the jury in an accident case. #%$@!
On Tuesday, I’ll let you know just how difficult it is to be a watchperson at the Pearly Gates.