A fellow blogger, AR10308, had this post up.
In it, he discussed how various aspects of the law today make it likely that helping another is likely to lead to problems. Then at church this morning, our passage was ‘The Good Samaritan
The minister told us a story (for those of you old enough, No! He is not the reincarnation of Max Bygraves). He told us how he had come across an elderly man, on his hands and knees in the middle of the road at an S-bend and about his dilemma. The elderly man was a little confused, he had bumped his knee on falling, but he was very keen to get to the post office to pick up his old age pension in cash. He had not been taking very good care of himself and he smelled more than a little.
It was 08:40 and the minister had a meeting to go to at 09:00. The elderly man had a bus pass and the bus stop was close to where he had found him. Should he leave the elderly man and go to the meeting?
There were various factors to consider in all of this. firstly, the man’s personal hygiene seemed lacking and that same car would need to be used for the minister’s family. Secondly, the minister would be loitering around a post office where old and potentially vulnerable people would be collecting cash. Thirdly, if anything happened to the man or his money, the last known adult who was seen with him when he had received the money was likely to be suspected of being up to no good with the man, and even though he was wearing a dog collar, or perhaps because he was wearing a dog-collar, the minister is likely to fall under suspicion.
In the end, the minister took the man to the post office for his pension, waited until he had collected it, and took him home again. But look again at the examples that AR10308 provides. A man stops a 14 year old girl from walking in front of traffic and becomes labelled as a sex offender. An eight-year-old threatens an adult that she will make a false allegation about being touched. A man is afraid to try to keep a two-year-old child safe for fear of being labelled a pervert, and a woman is not given CPR because she is in a ladies toilet and the man who could help believes he cannot go into a ladies toilet.
If you go back to may post about the police arresting a street preacher in Edinburgh, you will see that the police did not want video evidence of what they were doing. I wonder whether that was because they knew, deep down, that what they were doing was wrong. But now we have reached to situation where the law seems to be so one-sided in favour of the accuser that an evil little eight year old is threatening a football coach with exactly the same sort of treatment meted out to Jesus, or Stephen in the New Testament. Remind me again, how did we get here.