Judge breaks up God for antitrust violations

March 31

From The Onion — this is about a dozen years old but still good (h/t Danny Sokol’s Antitrust & Competition Policy blog):

Judge Orders God To Break Up Into Smaller Deities

WASHINGTON, DC—Calling 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.

“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 illegal monotheopoly.”

. . .

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 personalized service.

“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.”

. . .
“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.”

Also, see Avinash Dixit and Gene Grossman’s classic American Economic Review paper from 1984, “Directly Unproductive Prophet-Seeking Activities“.

Sasha Volokh lives in Atlanta with his wife and three kids, and is an associate professor at Emory Law School. He has written numerous articles and commentaries on law and economics, privatization, antitrust, prisons, constitutional law, regulation, torts, and legal history.
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