Sued in the Spirit

John G. Turner

Healing ministries are potentially risky business.

According to an article in The Smoking Gun, a man is suing a Tennessee church because "catchers" failed to catch him when he collapsed under the power of the Holy Spirit:

Mr. Lincoln received the spirit and fell backwards striking the carpet-covered cement floor with the back of his head and back, causing him to sustain severe and permanent injuries ...

[Mr. Lincoln accuses the church of being] negligent in not supervising the catchers to be sure that they stood behind the person being prayed for and in front of the visiting minister to assure that they could catch someone should they have a dizzying, fainting or falling in the spirit as had occurred on many occasions before.

The above text is from the plaintiff's complaint. Evidently plaintiffs have occasionally won such cases before. I presumed people sued Pentecostal churches or ministers when the spirit failed to act, not when it did. Perhaps all folks asking for healing should have to sign some sort of disclaimer.

Thanks to Christopher Jones of The Juvenile Instructor for bringing this to my attention.


Art Remillard said…
I listened to a sermon that made me physically ill once. I wonder if I can use this case as precedent?

Since we're on the subject of odd religion news...
How about this article?

"A Lake County judge granted permission to the Zion man Friday to officially change his name to 'In God We Trust.' That’s 'In God' as a first name and 'We Trust' as a last name.

The 57-year-old artist and bus driver was ecstatic about the name change as he exited court Friday.

'I feel great. It’s just like, yes!' We Trust said."
John G. Turner said…
What if the courts deem our national motto unconstitutional? Will We Trust have to change his name again?

One of my Campus Crusade interviewees once had a dog named "Great Commission," which I thought was quite winsome.
Anonymous said…
So how much does "slain in the Spirit" liability insurance cost? I have to humbly confess that my church would be assessed as low risk.

"E Pluribus Unum" would have been a way better choice. Remember the NBA player in the 70s and 80s named World B. Free?

And speaking of the NBA, way to go, Celts! I wonder if Jack Nicholson is somewhere muttering to himself, "We can't handle The Truth." (For those of you who aren't NBA fans, Jack Nicholson is a big Lakers fan and "The Truth" is the nickname of Celtics player Paul Pierce. And yes, Mr. I.G. WeTrust, that's only his NICKname.)
DEG said…
I feel like I'm in a Flannery O'Connor story.
John G. Turner said…
There is, of course, the best nickname from the erstwhile X.F.L.: He Hate Me.
Anonymous said…
There might actually be some merit to this type of situation.

The catchers perhaps have poor hand-eye coordination (something that I totally understand).

However, the preacher does push the person--although it is assumed that the individual does want to be pushed...

However, if the individual does not know they are going to be pushed (or at least not that hard) could make a case.
Anonymous said…
What if the courts deem our national motto unconstitutional? Will We Trust have to change his name again?

To: I Trust

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