Judge Orders God To Break Up Into Smaller
WASHINGTON, DCóCalling the theological giant's stranglehold on the religion
industry "blatantly anti-competitive," a U.S. district judge ruled Monday that
God is in violation of anti-monopoly laws and ordered Him to be broken up into
several less powerful deities.
A Deity Divided
"The evidence introduced in this trial has convinced me that the deity known as
God has willfully and actively thwarted competition from other deities and
demigods, promoting His worship with such unfair scare tactics as threatening
non-believers with eternal damnation," wrote District Judge Charles Elliot
Schofield in his decision. "In the process, He has carved out for Himself an
The suit, brought against God by the Justice Department on behalf of a coalition
of "lesser deities" and polytheistic mortals, alleged that He violated antitrust
laws by claiming in the Holy Bible that He was the sole creator of the universe,
and by strictly prohibiting the worship of what He termed "false idols."
"God clearly commands that there shall be no other gods before Him, and He
frequently employs the phrase 'I AM the Lord' to intimidate potential
deserters," prosecuting attorney Geoffrey Albert said. "God uses other
questionable strongarm tactics to secure and maintain humanity's devotion,
demanding, among other things, that people sanctify their firstborn to Him and
obtain circumcisions as a show of faith. There have also been documented
examples of Him smiting those caught worshipping graven images."
Attorneys for God did not deny such charges. They did, however, note that God
offers followers "unbeatable incentives" in return for their loyalty, including
eternal salvation, protection from harm, and "fruitfulness."
"God was the first to approach the Jewish people with a 'covenant' contract that
guaranteed they would be the most favored in His eyes, and He handed down
standards of morality, cleanliness, and personal conduct that exceeded anything
else practiced at the time," lead defense attorney Patrick Childers said. "He
readily admits to being a 'jealous' God, not because He is threatened by the
prospect of competition from other gods, but because He is utterly convinced of
the righteousness of His cause and that He is the best choice for mortals. Many
of these so-called gods could care less if somebody bears false witness or
covets thy neighbor's wife. Our client, on the other hand, is truly a 'People's
In the end, however, God was unable to convince Schofield that He did not
deliberately create a marketplace hostile to rival deities. God's attorneys
attempted to convince the judge of His openness to rivals, pointing to His
longtime participation in the "Holy Trinity," but the effort failed when
Schofield determined that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are "more God
subsidiaries than competitors."
To comply with federal antitrust statutes, God will be required to divide
Himself into a pantheon of specialized gods, each representing a force of nature
or a specific human custom, occupation, or state of mind.
"There will most likely be a sun god, a moon god, sea god, and rain god," said
religion-industry watcher Catherine Bailey. "Then there will be some second-tier
deities, like a god of wine, a goddess of the harvest, and perhaps a few who
symbolize human love and/or blacksmithing."
Leading theologians are applauding the God breakup, saying that it will usher in
a new era of greater worshipping options, increased efficiency, and more
"God's prayer-response system has been plagued by massive, chronic backlogs, and
many prayers have gone unanswered in the process," said Gene Suozzi, a
Phoenix-area Wiccan. "With polytheism, you pray to the deity specifically
devoted to your concern. If you wish to have children, you pray to the fertility
goddess. If you want to do well on an exam, you pray to the god of wisdom, and
so on. This decentralization will result in more individualized service and
swifter response times."
Other religious experts are not so confident that the breakup is for the best,
pointing to the chaotic nature of polytheistic worship and noting that multiple
gods demand an elaborate regimen of devotion that today's average worshipper may
find arduous and inconvenient.
"If people want a world in which they must lay burnt offerings before an
earthenware household god to ensure that their car will start on a cold winter
morning, I suppose they can have it," said Father Thomas Reinholdt, theology
professor at Chicago's Loyola University. "What's more, lesser deities are
infamous for their mercurial nature. They often meddle directly in diplomatic
affairs, abduct comely young mortal women for their concubines, and are not
above demanding an infant or two for sacrifice. Monotheism, for all its faults,
at least means convenience, stability, and a consistent moral code."
One deity who is welcoming the verdict is the ancient Greek god Zeus, who
described himself as "jubilant" and "absolutely vindicated."
"For thousands of years, I've been screaming that this third-rate sky deity
ripped me off wholesale," said Zeus, speaking from his Mt. Olympus residence.
"Every good idea He ever had He took from me: Who first created men in his own
image? Who punished mankind for its sins? Who lived eternally up in the clouds?
And the whole fearsome, patriarchal, white-beard, thunderbolt thing? I was doing
that eons before this two-bit hustler started horning in on the action."
Lawyers for God say they plan to appeal Schofield's ruling and are prepared to
go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
"This decision is a crushing blow to God worshippers everywhere, and we refuse
to submit to a breakup until every possible avenue of argument is pursued,"
Childers said. "I have every confidence that God will ultimately win, as He and
His lawyers are all-powerful."