The case involving Pastor Dorman Owens really bothers me. The reason for this is due to the apparent double standard in our legal system. While the rightness or wrongness of what was done may be debatable, the inconsistency of the system or its willful manipulation of values, does not appear to be.
I served on the federal grand jury a few years ago. We heard a case involving, what was claimed to be, the No. 1 man in the importation of methamphetamines. The grand jury felt that a bail of $1 million was appropriate. He was being indicted on tax evasion as well as several drug counts. However, bail was lowered to $200,000. The last that I was aware, he had left the country and had not been heard from. This had been the concern of the grand jury in setting the high bail.
If the same standard had been applied in that case as in the case of Pastor Owens, he would not have been allowed bail at any amount.
Given these two cases, the courts would seem to be saying, if you are going to do something that might be wrong, it is better to deal drugs and not pay taxes than take actions of conscience against something you believe to be wrong. If you do the former, you wouldn't be treated too badly. At least you will be allowed bail. However, if the latter, you will have the book thrown at you. They will lock you up and throw away the key.
Given the two cases, I think the courts' handling of the Owens case is extremely biased and unprofessional. I think we citizens have the right to expect a lot better of our legal system. Maybe, perhaps, even becoming a justice system once again.
ROBERT W. BUTLER