This is an excerpt from my book "Religious Liberty: On Trial"
The Jury was smiling and giggling. The guys were even looking a bit envious. The defense had lost the jury.
That night, conservative talk radio hosts were trying to paint Tina and Alice as a couple of lesbian perverts who were trying to dishonor an Air Force Cadet to discredit the military. It seemed that the Senator was calling in some favors.
The next morning, the defense was supposed to start. There were hundreds of protesters outside the courtroom. They carried signs like "Die Faggots!", "Kill the Sissy", "Abominations should be put to death", "Queers must Die", and a hanging effigy of a girl with a huge penis with "Tina" on the chest.
As Tom and Betsy walked in, they were greeted with cheers. The mob chanted "Christians live, Faggots die"
Other signs saying "Religious Freedom", "God Hates Fags", and "Christianity Rules."
Tina's parents had taken her to the court. As soon as she got out of the car, people started throwing rocks and fruit. Four police officers formed a human shield to protect her as she went in. One man tried to hit her with a baseball bat, he was arrested by one of the officers who was following behind.
As Tina went to the top of the court-house steps, reporters tried to get her to turn around and face the crowd so they could interview her. She turned and saw that the crowd had grown to about 3,000. She looked at the reporters, and smiled.
A reporter from Fox stuck a microphone in her face "Is it true that you're a transsexual and baited Thomas into groping you?"
Tina smiled "I am transsexual, and Thomas didn't grope me. I told him I was transsexual and he got someone else to grope me. Just like he got someone else to beat me up."
Another reporter from the Christian Broadcasting Network asked "Isn't it true that you have been attacked like this before, and that many of your injuries are not new?"
Tina nodded "I've been attacked hundreds of times and have scars of many injuries from those attacks, which is why the doctor was able to identify the injuries caused by this attack!"
A reporter from ABC said "Is it true that you were pronounced dead at one point?"
Tina nodded "Yes, I was legally dead for about 2 minutes, after which I made a miraculous recovery. I'm very grateful to God for that little miracle."
The CBN reporter said "Are you a Christian?"
Tina nodded "Yes, I'm a Presbyterian, I am ordained as a deacon and an elder, and I sing in the choir."
"How can you consider yourself a Christian when you flagrantly violate God's laws?"
Tina smiled "Which laws do you think I'm violating?"
"A man should not wear a woman's clothing. A man should not lie with a man like a woman"
Tina smiled "I've read about 15 different translations of the Bible and found those verses to be concerning. To begin with, I'm not a man, I'm a Eunuch. The Bible has LOTS to say about Eunuchs, none of which is bad, other than we can't enter the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifices. A eunuch helped Esther win the heart of the king so she could save the Jews from genocide. A eunuch was the first gentile baptized as a Christian. Many wise ones were eunuchs, it's possible that some of the prophets, possibly Daniel, Shadrak, Mishak, and Abednego may have been eunuchs."
"But what about the laws against homosexuality?"
Tina raised a finger "Keep in mind that women were to be married within two years of their first period, so around 13 or 14 years old, and usually to an older man. The marriages were arranged through the families, and the girl had no choice in the matter."
"What does that have to do with the law against gays?"
Tina smiled "It's quite possible that the law was designed to prevent parents from selling their 10-12-year-old sons in arranged marriages. Leviticus is the directives to priests, and was based on actual disputes between the people. What was the dispute here? A man who had paid a bride price for his son to marry the first daughter of a fellow landowner? Did dad try to pass the son off as a girl? Did he offer his young son as a consignment to the other man, because he had no daughters and couldn't pay the man back?
The reporter countered "Paul condemns homosexuality in Romans."
Tina smiled, "yes there was a particular activity he found especially offensive. Tax collectors took the daughters of delinquent tax-payers and prostituted them to soldiers. The prostitutes were often forced to work in the temples of other gods. Was Paul offended by the Rapes? Was he offended by the idolatry? Was it some combination of the above?"
The reporter was frustrated "But it's a SIN, the Bible condemns it."
Tina smiled "How many verses in the Bible?"
The reporter admitted "I don't know"
Tina smiled "There are roughly 30,000 verses in the Bible. How many condemn homosexuality between men?"
The CBN guy was stuck "The bible has hundreds of references that condemn homosexuality."
Tina laughed "Actually, there only 8 verses, and most of those are in the same section that says we shouldn't eat pork, cheeseburgers, egg drop soup, and pie with whipped cream."
"But the Bible says that homosexuals are an abomination and should be put to death."
"Actually, it only mentions male-to-male sex, not female to female sex. How many verses condemn lesbian sex?"
The CBN reporter was getting upset. "I have no idea!"
Tina smiled "None that condemn." On the other hand, one possible translation of the role between Hagar and Sara was that Hagar was her lesbian lover. The King James Version translated it to "Handmaiden". You know what Jesus hated most don't you?"
CBN got smug "Sinners!"
Tina smiled "No, Jesus loved sinners, and even forgave tax collectors who continued to be tax collectors. No, Jesus had a special hatred for self-righteous religious fanatics who placed unrealistic expectations on people, to exploit their guilt. Matthew 23 and Matthew 25 are excellent examples."
The CBN reporter pulled back his microphone and tried to leave quietly. The reporter told the cameraman "Is there any way we can chop this up to get some damaging sound bites?"
The camera man shrugged, "I doubt it, not without it being obvious.
Meanwhile, the NBC affiliate reporter turned to her camera man "Did you get all of that?"
He nodded "Every single word!"
The defense started. First they tried to discredit the forensic evidence, but on cross-examination the witnesses admitted that since the car had been wiped clean before the rental, and the rental agency had held the car and not detailed it, any prints on the car would be the occupants during that rental. Since Tom's prints were the only ones on the steering wheel, he was obviously driving and therefore part of the conspiracy.
Defense turned to the Judge "We would like to change our defense to Gay Defense Panic. We will show that my clients were so upset by the deception and immorality of Theodore Clark, and they were acting based on their strongly held religious beliefs, and simply exercising their Religious Freedom!
Prosecution objected "Your Honor, this last-minute Hail Mary pass seems to be an attempt to put Miss TINA Clark, the VICTIM on trial, and evade legal responsibility for the crimes committed."
The Judge pounded her gavel "Chambers Now!"
Once in the Judge's chambers, the Judge was livid.
"What kind of circus are you running here, it looks like a KKK rally, and as a black woman, I can tell you now, I do not like to see this kind of hate speech directed at anyone!"
Defense countered "Your honor, we intend to prove that Theodore's behavior at the time was incendiary and offended the morality of the defendants to such a degree that they felt compelled to act out of their religious duty!"
The prosecutor leaned forward "Your honor, we have proven that the act was committed, that it was planned, that it was organized, and that it was done with criminal intent. Religious freedom can't be used as an argument to grant carte Blanche immunity for any religious fanatic who goes on a killing spree. We'd have members of the KKK blowing up black churches based on their religious freedom."
The Defense attorney stood up "We can prove that the reactions and the violent attacks were not only justified, but were reflected in the actions of others involved in the case. We have revised our witness list. Here are our additional defense witnesses."
The judge looked at the list, then handed it to the prosecution.
The prosecutor huffed "Pastor Grey of Calvary Baptist church, Pastor Blair of Calvary Temple, Jim Dobson of Focus on the Family, and Pat Robertson of CBN? The defendants attended ALL of these churches and were directly influenced by these ministers?"
The defense nodded "We can prove that the Senator not only attended events for these organizations, but that he knew them personally, and that he helped raise funds for these organizations as well. Furthermore, we will have these religious leaders describe some of the teachings which motivated Thomas and Elizabeth to defend their religious liberties and to save their immortal souls by not allowing an abomination like Theodore to corrupt good God-fearing Christians."
The prosecutor folded his arms "Your honor, I would first like to ask that the defense desist from using inflammatory language and use ONLY Miss Clark's current legal name. It's obvious that he intends to try and smear Miss Clark by painting her as a pervert and religious heretic merely based on her masculine status at birth and her gender identity disorder."
The Judge nodded "This is beginning to look more and more like a witch hunt, and more and more like an attempt to smear the victim. You are on very shaky ground here counselor."
Defense countered "If you refuse to allow us this defense, you know that I will appeal on the basis that my client's first amendment rights were violated."
The Judge nodded "No doubt you would try to push this case all the way to the Supreme Court, and get your clients off on appeal. So, I'm going to allow this little circus, but I have a few conditions."
She leaned forward in her chair "I will sequester the Jury; they are not to be exposed to these mob scenes and they are not to be allowed contact with anyone and no media contact. Any further demonstrations and I will hold you personally in contempt of court. Understood?"
She turned to the prosecutor "I realize that you will need additional time to prepare your case, interview witnesses, and that you must call additional rebuttal witnesses. You have one additional week to prepare."
She turned back to Defense "I see you plan to call Miss Clark to the stand as a defense witness. At no time are you to refer to her by any pronoun other than she or her, and at no time are you to even mention her previous name! Furthermore, she will NOT be treated as a hostile witness. She has been honest and respectful to both prosecution and defense, and deserves to be treated as the victim of a crime, not a defendant on trial for her life."
Defense nodded. "Yes your honor."
She raised her finger "One more thing. At no time are you to make any statements regarding interpretation of the law, and especially the First Amendment. I will be the ONLY one giving direction on how to interpret the constitution."
Defense started to object but the Judge gave him a stern look.
"Yes your honor, we understand."
The judge smiled at the prosecutor. Both realized that the Defense was hoping this motion and strategy would be rejected so they could win on appeal, but now, Defense was going to have to convince a sequestered Jury to acquit based on a religious liberty argument that was shaky at best. Furthermore, if he lost, there would be no basis for appeal."
The defense attorney went into a local payphone booth and closed the door. He dialed "Senator, we have a problem."
The prosecutor had his team interview all the witnesses, including the celebrity preachers. He also had to meet with Tina and Alice.
"Tina, I need tell you that the defense wants to try and claim that the defendants were exercising religious freedom. They are going to try to paint you as the devil incarnate, and an abomination, that had to be killed or at least punished."
Tina laughed aloud "OK, I'll give you the name of my minister, and the names of some adults who have known me for years. I'm surprised he's going that route. Did you know that I was ordained as a deacon, an elder, and taught adult Sunday School? I wonder if they knew that?"
The prosecutor started to laugh loudly and slapped his knee. "This is going to be fun. You see, they will be admitting that they attempted to kill you, based on THEIR Religious beliefs, but they don't realize that you have some strong religious beliefs that are consistent with their own."
Tina nodded "I suspect that they will try to focus on their own religious teaching. We might have a few surprises. Will I be treated as a hostile witness?"
The prosecutor shook her head "No, in fact the Judge forbid the defense from doing so. Of course, you must be respectful and polite, and answer truthfully and directly. He will try to get you to refuse to answer or lie. If you do, he will go after you like I would go after the defendant."
Tina nodded "I understand. I can also help you with some approaches to help during your cross. They are trying to base their justification on only a few verses of the Bible, but if you ask the right questions, you can show that their selective enforcement of these few verses has been distorted to incite violence. They can preach that their own members should not do something, but when they tell their members to violently attack or even kill people who are not members of their conversation, what does that amount to?"
"Inciting a riot, mob rule, like yelling fire in a crowded theater. They could even be charged as co-conspirators."
"See how many people who are members of their churches have been actively engaging in violence against Gays and Sissies. See if you can get them to admit that they were doing it based on their religious teachings. I have some history and experience; I can give you names of some of my bullies in elementary school and middle school."
"Oh, that's good. They plan to call the pastors of several churches."
Tina smiled "I hope one of them is Calvary Baptist and another is Calvary Temple. There were lots of members who liked to bully. Some of the attacks were pretty brutal."
The prosecutor almost burst!
"I'll give you the names of about 30 people who actively engaged in violence against me and others. They even used the Bible language. I used to attend their youth group functions."
The prosecutor spoke with glee "Oh my God, I think you might be able to completely blow up their case."
"I'll also give you the names of my pastor and members of the session as well as members of the congregation. I can also give you the names of youth groups of other churches that I attended as a visiting deacon, learning how improve our youth program."
The prosecutor smiled "The defense has no idea what kind of shit-storm they have just kicked up. They just kicked a hornet's nest and they have no idea what they just did."
Tina smiled "By the way, shortly before the attack, I started medications that chemically castrated me. So, I was a Eunuch. Many of the biblical passages they want to use, don't apply."
Tina smiled "I'll sign a release to have my medical records from Children's hospital released as well. You will find interesting things there too.'
The prosecutor nodded "Could you also sign a statement stating that those medical records contain evidence that can be used in this case?"
Tina smiled "Of course, do you have the forms?"
The prosecutor picked up the phone "Could you bring Tina's forms in please?" He turned to Tina "I was hoping you would sign the releases, but I didn't expect you to volunteer them."
Tina smiled "Don't forget to talk to my parents. They have a little surprise that could be a shocker."
The prosecutor nodded "You do realize that I have to give the defense all of the evidence, including witness lists, medical records, and the defense will be interviewing these witnesses as well?"
Tina smiled "Yes, but will he know which questions to ask?"
The prosecutor smiled "I don't know how to thank you."
Tina smiled "Use the testimony of these hate preachers to hold them accountable. Let's see if we can make sure this never happens to other people like me, or people who are gay."
The prosecutor smiled "I think that's going to happen anyway."
Tina nodded "Then all of this witch trial will be worth it."
The prosecutor smiled "It's going to get ugly and rough."
Tina nodded "I'm taking on some big religious leaders and exposing their criminal activities. I'll be lucky if I live through the trial, but maybe we can make sure that they don't preach hate and violence and murder to their congregations anymore."