Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2008]
TEXAS Bar Sues Church
In a small Texas town (Mt. Vernon), Drummond's Bar began construction on a new building to increase their business. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers.
Work progressed right up till the week before opening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground. The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means. The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise in its reply to the court.
As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork. At the hearing he commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this case. It appears that we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not."
Origins: Our earliest sighting of the item comes from a 2001 issue of "Smilers," an online compendium of humor. It in turn gave as its source "Our Daily Bread," a publication of RBC Ministries.
The story isn't supposed to be read as relating something that happened in real life; it's a modern day admonition to churchgoers to not allow transient secular
While the tale is an exaggeration of its underlying moral, that overstatement is a way of prompting folks to measure the contents of their hearts against those of the fictional congregation to see if they themselves aren't at times engaging in a bit of religious distancing. Do they set aside their faith, and their pride in it, when faith becomes inconvenient? Or do they stand up for their beliefs and proudly proclaim them, even when doing so is to their disadvantage, financial or otherwise?
Barbara "standing order" Mikkelson
Last updated: 10 January 2013
Vanderlippe, Marg. "Power of Prayer?" The Evangelist [St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sedona, AZ]. July 2008 (p. 3).