Actors The Narrator, The Prosecutor, The Defense Lawyer, The Judge, Mr. Jones (store owner), Miss Roxie Smith (teenager), Mrs. Farkenparker (older lady), Sally, Mike, Bailiff
Equipment Desk and chair, Judge’s gavel, Judge’s robe, Shawl and ladies hat (Mrs. F.), Letterman’s jacket (Roxie), 2 tables and chairs (defense and prosecuter’s tables)
Scene: Empty Courtroom (lights come on)
Narrator: What you are about to see could very well be a glimpse info the near future. The setting is a courtroom somewhere in America and the defendants are two young people accused of a rather unusual crime— Christianity.
Jesus said in Matthew 7 that you can tell a Christian simply by examining the fruit of his life. The court will soon be doing some “fruit inspection” of these young people’s lives—will there be enough evidence to convict either of them of being a Christian? The court proceedings will be beginning very soon so sit back and relax. After all, you’re not on trial for your faith, at least not yet.
Prosecutor: (Defense attorney, prosecutor, and witnesses all enter. Witnesses are seated. Defense attorney and prosecutor meet at the defense table and are casually chatting.) So! We meet again in the arena called the courtroom.
Lawyer: So we do.
Prosecutor: I do so enjoy our little confrontations here, even though I do seem to put most of your clients behind bars for a multitude of crimes. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know you do as well as you possibly can defending the slime of society.
Lawyer: Slime of society? My clients are all innocent until proven guilty!
Prosecutor: Yeah, innocent like the burglar who was caught coming out of the art museum carrying several priceless paintings. When asked about them, he said that he had painted them himself! C’mon, you think he was innocent?
Lawyer: You and I both know that the guy was framed!
Prosecutor: O.K., how about those guys who robbed the bank and, with money in hand, ran out and jumped into the back seat of a squad car and yelled, “Get moving cabbie before the cops get here!”? You think they were innocent?
Lawyer: Entrapment is what I call it! We’re going to appeal that one.
Prosecutor: Innocent until proven guilty, HA! I’m going to bury your two “innocent” clients today and you know it! By the time I get done with them, the judge won’t be able to come up with anything else but “Guilty of Christianity!” Your clients don’t have a prayer! Pardon my pun.
Lawyer: We’ll see!
Prosecutor: Yes, we will see.
Bailiff: (Prosecutor turns and goes over to the prosecutor’s table. The bailiff escorts the two defendants into the courtroom. They are seated at the defense table and begin to confer with their lawyer. The bailiff stands beside the judge’s table. The judge opens the door) All rise. (He waits for judge to be seoted then continues.) This court is now in session. (Everyone sits down except the bailiff.)
Judge: Let me see now. (shuffles through papers) Yes, here it is. (looks at paper and then at the two defendants) It seems that today we will be trying you two for a crime against society called Christianity. Prosecuting attorney, would you like to make your opening statement for the court, please?
Prosecutor: (Prosecutor stands and paces around while speaking.) I’d be happy to, Your Honor. In this courtroom today I shall prove without a shadow of a doubt that these two (points at defendants) are guilty of a crime that subverts the people of our society. It is a crime that causes people to start thinking of others first, a crime that makes people give freely of their finances to churches. The crime these two shall be proven guilty of is a crime that changes the entire thought process and lifestyle of those practicing it. The crime—Christianity! Yes, I know, it sends shivers up and down my spine just to think that these two young people could be so easily involved at such an early age. It used to be, according to many, a crime of adults who were tired of society’s ways. The youth were exempt since they had too many things going on in their lives to think seriously about becoming a Christian. Now even the youth of our society are affected by this crime of Christianity as we can see plainly here today. I shall seek, therefore, to make public examples of these two today! (Prosecutor returns to the table and is seated.)
Judge: Would the defense like to make their statement?
Lawyer: Indeed we would, Your Honor. (Lawyer rises and paces around while speaking.) Your Honor, through the process of this trial today, I shall prove without any doubt that my two clients (points to defendants) are not guilty of anything even resembling Christianity. I shall prove that, even though they were brought up in the church, they have not, nor ever will be, affected by such teachings of Christianity.
Your Honor, please look at my clients. Would nice looking, outgoing young people such as these ever get involved in such teachings as the prosecution proposes? I say no! They’re young, they’re vivacious. They have parties and school activities and even MTV available to them—why would they want to become Christians?
No, these are not criminals. They are but two young people caught in a vicious trap of gossip. There is no truth to the claims that they are Christians and I shall have no problem proving that! (Lawyer returns to his seat.)
Judge: All right, now that we’ve heard both of your statements, let the trial begin. Bailiff, call in the first witness please.
Bailiff: The court calls Mr. Jones to the witness stand. (Mr. Jones goes directly to the witness stand and stands facing the bailiff.)
Bailiff: Raise your right hand. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Mr. Jones: I do.
Bailiff: You may be seated.
Prosecutor: (rises) Mr. Jones, please state your relationship to the accused.
Mr. Jones: Well, I own a hardware store. It’s called Jones Hardware Store, kind of a unique name for a store, don’t you think?
Prosecutor: Please, Mr. Jones, your relationship to the accused?
Mr. Jones: Oh, well, Mike and Sally both work for me at my store. They’ve been with me for a couple of years now.
Prosecutor: So, they work for you do they?
Mr. Jones: Yes.
Prosecutor: Then would you say that you know them rather well?
Mr. Jones: I think so.
Prosecutor: O.K., let’s talk about Sally first. Has she ever given you any reason to think that she was a Christian?
Lawyer: Objection, Your Honor! The prosecution is asking for an opinion. Judge: Sustained.
Prosecutor: Let me put it this way, Mr. Jones, has she ever acted differently than any of your other employees?
Mr. Jones: Well …
Prosecutor: Yes, Mr. Jones?
Mr. Jones: Well, there was this time when we ran a sale on some dust busters at our store.
Prosecutor: Go on.
Mr. Jones: O.K., we were running this special price on the new dust buster. We called it our “special price on new dust buster sale”—kinda catchy, don’t you think.
Prosecutor: Mr. Jones, please.
Mr. Jones: O.K., O.K. We were running our sale and it was going so good we sold out all our dust busters. All we had left was the one that we use in the back-room shop. Boy, we use that thing for just about everything! It picks up dirt, dust, lint, sawdust, paper.
Prosecutor: Mr. Jones! What does that have to do with Sally.
Mr. Jones: Well, that being the last one and all, I put it in a new box and sealed it up. Then I told Sally to sell it as new to old Mrs. McGillicutty who was wanting one.
Mr. Jones: She wouldn’t do it. She said it was wrong and that it would be lying to tell her it was new.
Prosecutor: Lying, eh? Go on.
Mr. Jones: She said she couldn’t because
Prosecutor:. Because what, Mr. Jones?
Mr. Jones: Because . . . she was a Christian.
Prosecutor: A Christian! She said she was a Christian!
Lawyer: I object!
Prosecutor: So, Mr. Jones, she claimed to be a Christian. Well, how about Mike? (points at defendant) He ever done anything like that or claimed that he was a Christian to you?
Mr. Jones: No, Mike’s a good boy but he never has given me reason to think that— (interrupted by prosecution)
Prosecutor: No further questions, Your Honor. (sits down)
Judge: (looks to defense lawyer) Your witness.
Lawyer: (stands and approaches witness) Mr. Jones, would you care to finish your last statement please? “Mike never has given me any reason to think” what? Mike never has given me any reason to think that he is a Christian is what I was going to say.
Lawyer: Assuming that you had asked Mike to sell the dust buster~, do you think he would have?
Judge: Overruled. Mr. Jones, please answer the question.
Mr. Jones: No doubt in my mind, yes! It was his idea in the first place. Lawyer: Mike’s idea to lie and deceive old Mrs. McGillicutty?
Lawyer: Now back to your account of Sally’s alleged confession that she was a Christian. Isn’t it true that you are a little hard of hearing and that what you heard her say was not that she was a Christian, but rather that she was a Norwegian and it goes against her morals to lie? Isn’t this what actually happened—you can’t hear very well so you heard something entirely different? Well, Mr. Jones?
Mr. Jones: No way! I can hear real well with my hearing aid in.
Lawyer: Let’s test your hearing, Mr. Jones. (pause) What is the circumference of a marble?
Mr. Jones: What?
Lawyer: (turns and walks away) I rest my case, the man’s stone-deaf! No further questions.
Judge: You may step down, Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones: (turns to judge) What is the circumference of a marble?
Judge: Please step down. Next witness please. (Mr. Jones goes back to seat.)
Bailiff: The court calls Miss Roxie Smith. (Miss Smith stands before the witness chair and faces the bailiff.)
Bailiff: Raise your right hand. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Miss Smith: You bet!
Judge: A simple yes would suffice, Miss Smith.
Miss Smith: O.K., yes, I do.
Bailiff: You may be seated.
Prosecutor: (stands and approaches witness) So, Miss Smith—
Miss Smith: Oh, you can call me Roxie. It’s short for Roxanne but everybody calls me Roxie so you can too.
Prosecutor: All right. So Roxie, how do you know the two defendants?
Miss Smith: Well, it’s kinda like they sorta go to my school and, like, their lockers are sorta kinda like next to mine, you know, and—
Prosecutor: (interrupts) So you attend school together, right?
Miss Smith: Well like, that was what I was saying, I think.
Prosecutor: Roxie, first let me ask you about Sally. Is Sally any different than any of the other kids at school?
Miss Smith: Of course she is! Can you imagine us all being exactly the same? Like gag me! If I was like Sue Ellen Pudski, I would just die—those ugly clothes and greasy hair!
Prosecutor: No! No! No! It’s taken for granted that everyone looks different. What I mean is, does she act any differently or talk any differently than the rest of the kids at school? Would she be considered, shall we say, peculiar?
Miss Smith: Oh, I know what you mean now. Why sure she acts different, she’s a Christian.
Lawyer: Objection, Your Honor! The prosecutor is leading the witness.
Prosecutor: You say she’s a Christian, eh? Why do you say she is a Christian?
Miss Smith: Well, I noticed she was always real nice to everybody and she was always happy. She never talked dirty and she never cut anyone down. I wondered what she had that made her this way so I up and asked her. I said, “Sally. what’s different about you anyway? I can’t figure you out.” She told me she was that way because of the fact that she was a Christian and it was God’s love coming out through her.
Prosecutor: She told you she was a Christian?
Miss Smith: Yeah, she not only told me that but she also told me how I could become one, too.
Prosecutor: Unbelievable! Not only does the defendant break the law, she encourages others to as well! Do you know if she ever talked of this Christianity to anyone else at school?
Miss Smith: Oh, all the time and to anyone who would listen. She even did a speech on it in our speech class.
Prosecutor: Sounds to me like there was no remorse felt by her for being a Christian. (points to Sally) She is a hardened criminal, wouldn’t you say, Roxie.
Miss Smith: If that’s a crime to believe in God and tell others about him, then . . . I guess so.
Prosecutor: Now Roxie, tell me about the criminal’s brother Mike. I suppose he’s even worse—more bold, more willing to, so to speak, “Preach the gospel” to his friends.
Miss Smith: Well … no, I don’t think so.
Prosecutor: What do you mean? Surely he is involved in this crime, too. Tell us about how he speaks to everyone about God, tell us how active he is in propagating the Christian message, tell us the hair-raising story of how he converts others to this unlawful belief!
Miss Smith: I’d like to tell you but I just can’t.
Prosecutor: Why? Because you love him and are pledged to secrecy?
Miss Smith: No, there’s just nothing to tell. The only thing I know of is that he goes to a place called “church” with Sally every week.
Prosecutor: Aha! So he is a Christian! (to defense) Your witness. (Prosecutor is seated. Defense lawyer approaches the witness.)
Lawyer: Miss Smith—
Miss Smith: Call me Roxie, it’s short for—
Lawyer: O.K., O.K.! Roxie, you say you’ve seen Mike go to a place called “church” right?
Miss Smith: Well, no, I’ve never seen him go.
Lawyer: So, how do you know he goes? Did he tell you?
Miss Smith: Well, no, but I heard that he does.
Lawyer: You heard that he goes? (to judge) She heard that he goes to church—does that sound like facts admissible in court? No! Miss Smith I propose that you hear many things that are not true. I propose that not only did you make up the story about Mike but that you also made up the story about Sally, too! I don’t think she ever talked to you. I don’t think she ever mentioned the word “Christianity” to you. I don’t think you have any friends and so you made up this whole story to strike out at an innocent bystander, Sally, now didn’t you?
Miss Smith: That’s not true!
Lawyer: No further questions.
Miss Smith: Ask Sally, she’ll tell you!
Lawyer: Self-incrimination? I think not!
Judge: Step down, Miss Sm . . . , I mean Roxie. (Miss Smith and the defense lawyer are seated.)
Judge: Bailiff, call the next witness.
Prosecutor: Thank goodness! (relieved) Hilda, I believe we have met once before, haven’t we?
Mrs. Farkenparker: Yes, we have.
Prosecutor: Would you mind telling the court under what conditions that we last met? It was here in court.
Prosecutor: Yes, it was here in court but on that day you were sitting where the accused are now and for the exact same crime—Christianity! Now, you being knowledgeable about this Christianity and all, you of all people should be able to tell a real Christian. Isn’t that true?
Mrs. Farkenparker: Well, yes, that is true.
Prosecutor: And no doubt by now, after having spent some time in prison for this crime, you know what consequences face those who are guilty of Christianity, correct?
Mrs. Farkenparker: Yes, that’s correct.
Prosecutor: So then, Hilda, tell us of your relationship to these two young people. (points to defendants)
Mrs. Farkenparker: When we were able to have church and Sunday school, I was one of Sally and Mike’s teachers. Prosecutor: You taught them this Christian faith, did you?
Mrs. Farkenparker: I sure did and I’m proud of it!
Prosecutor: Tell the truth now, did either of these two respond favorably to your teaching about God?
Mrs. Farkenparker: Yes, they both did. Sally and Mike were very good students of the Bible.
Prosecutor: Did either of them ever accept these teachings, or should I say in your lingo, “get saved?”
Mrs. Farkenparker: Yes, they both did in my class one Sunday, I’m happy to say.
Prosecutor: Your witness. (Prosecutor returns to seat. Defense lawyer approaches the witness.)
Lawyer: Well, Mrs. Farkenparker, uh, Hilda, you seem not to care at all about what happens to these former pupils of yours. You say they are Christians knowing full well that they, too, could end lip in prison like you have.
Mrs. Farkenparker: I don’t want them hurt but I do want them to know that it’s no crime to stand up for Jesus and be counted. And whatever this court does to them is so small when compared with the crown they gain for being loyal to Christ. (Mrs. F. looks at defendants and continues.) Don’t you kids ever deny Christ!
Lawyer: Well, Hilda, since you’re so versed in Christianity, why don’t you tell us what a real Christian is like, and then we can have this court decide if these clients of mine are Christians or not. Go ahead, Hilda, tell us what a Christian is.
Mrs. Farkenparker: A Christian is a person who receives Christ as the Savior and Lord of their life and dedicates their life to doing what the Bible says. This person is a truly happy Christian.
Lawyer: A Christian then makes a personal and public commitment to Christ and his ways, correct?
Mrs. Farkenparker: Correct.
Lawyer: Would you say then that Mike exemplifies what a Christian is and does?
Mrs. Farkenparker: (mumbles) Well, .
Lawyer: I’m sorry, Hilda, we can’t hear you.
Mrs. Farkenparker: Well, I’m not sure.
Lawyer: You’re not sure? Hilda, this is a court of law and you’re not sure?
Mrs. Farkenparker: Well, he was once, but I don’t know where he stands with the Lord now.
Lawyer: From your own testimony you say that a Christian does what the Bible says, and the previous witnesses all claim that this is not the case with Mike. You defined Christianity; you make the judgment. Is Mike a Christian?
Prosecutor: Objection. She’s leading the witness.
Judge: Overruled. Answer the question, Mrs. Farkenparker.
Mrs. Farken parker: I can’t judge Mike, only God can.
Lawyer: I take that as a definite no—Mike is not a Christian. He is innocent of the charge. I would also say that Sally is not guilty of being a Christian. No further questions. (Lawyer returns to seat.)
Mrs. Farken parker: Not so fast! Sally I know is serving God with all her heart!
Judge: You may step down, Hilda. (to prosecutor and lawyer) Is that all the witnesses?
Prosecutor: Yes, Your Honor.
Lawyer: Yes, Your Honor.
Judge: May the court hear your closing statements, please.
Prosecutor: (stands and paces while speaking) Your Honor, after hearing the testimonies of our three witnesses, I’m sure you will readily agree that these two (points at defendants) are definitely guilty of First-degree Christianity.
In the case of Sally, we have heard an overwhelming volume of proof that she not only professes publicly and without reservation that she is a Christian but that she also lives out what she professes. Her honesty and moral convictions have been testified to by Mr. Jones, her boss. Her love for unlovable people has been testified to by Miss Smith. And her love for God and the Bible has been shown through Mrs. Farkenparker’s testi-mony. What more can be said?
In regard to Mike, my gut feeling is that he is a master of disguise. I think the testimonies have shown vividly his attempts to hide his Christianity. He goes to church and embraces the teachings of Christ, but in everyday life he is like a chameleon—no one can tell by his words or actions that he is a Christian! He, your Honor, is guilty as well!
Lawyer: (Prosecutor is seated. Defense lawyer stands.) Your Honor, to convict my two clients of Christianity would be an obvious breech of justice. The testimony shows clearly that neither Mike or Sally have Christian tendencies.
The testimony shows without question that Mike, even if he claimed to be a Christian, would be the worst example of a Christian. He doesn’t profess publicly to be one, he doesn’t act like one and that’s because he’s not one! I’ll admit, the evidence against Sally looks bad, but I’m sure that you’ll agree that she is not responsible for her actions. She obviously has been brainwashed by people like Mrs. Farkenparker and others. No sane person would stand up and claim to be a Christian knowing full well that they would be punished for it. She’s innocent by reason of insanity.
Sally: (Sally stands abruptly.) Wait a minute! Can I say something now?
Lawyer: Sit down and be quiet! The insanity plea is your only chance!
Judge: (pounds gavel) Order! Let the defendant speak if she wishes.
Lawyer: (moves to seat while mumbling to Sally) You’ve done it now, kid. You’re on your own.
Sally: (Lawyer is seated. Sally moves toward judge.) I’m not crazy and I’m not brainwashed. The only crazy thing I’ve done is allow her (points to defense lawyer) to represent me! Your Honor, everything that has been said about me by Mr. Jones, Roxie, and Mrs. Farkenparker is true. I am a Christian and whatever price I have to pay for it, I’m willing.
Lawyer: Sally, I hope you like harmonica music ‘cuz where you’re going you’ll hear lots of it.
Sally: I don’t care! Your Honor, the only important thing in life is serving Jesus. He died for us! Going to jail seems a small price to pay in return for the salvation he gives to us. You need Jesus too, Your Honor.
Lawyer: (sarcastically) Great! Now she’s witnessing to the judge!
Judge: Is that all you wish to say, Sally?
Sally: Yes, Your Honor.
Judge: After hearing all the testimonies, I shall now decide the fate of these two young people.
Mike: (stands up nervously) Your Honor!
Judge: Yes, Mike? You wish to speak?
Mike: Yes, I would.
Lawyer: Sit down, they’ll never convict you!
Mike: (to lawyer) I have to speak up. (approaches judge) Your Honor, the testimonies you’ve heard regarding me have also been true. I do go to church and I do claim to be a Christian. I guess I’ve been more concerned about what my friends think than about what God thinks. Yes, I’m a Christian, too, and whatever punishment there is, I’m willing to suffer, too. (hangs head)
Judge: (Both Sally and Mike are now facing the judge.) I am now ready to make my judgment. Sally, you are definitely guilty of being a Christian and the laws of this land dictate that you be imprisoned for not less than ten years. We cannot have your kind in our society . . . it’s far too dangerous an influence.
Mike, (Mike looks at the judge.) I find you innocent of the charge of Christianity. There is absolutely no reason why this court or anyone else should think of you as a Christian. I don’t know why you suddenly claimed to be a Christian today. (laughingly) Son, you’re no more a Christian than I am!
Bailiff, take Sally away! This court is now closed. (bangs the gavel as bailiff takes Sally away)
Mike: (Everyone leaves the courtroom except Mike who waits a moment, then turns to the audience.) I don’t believe it, my sister going to prison for being a Christian. Sally’s a Christian through and through, everybody knows that. But prison? And here I stand, innocent. I should be happy but I feel sick inside. I’m a Christian, too, I thought.
What hurts me the most is this single thought: If this court can’t find enough evidence to prove I’m a Christian, will Jesus be able to? (turns and leaves) (lights out)