Seems God has been chatting up a 40 year old woman by the name of Marilyn Cole of Alexandria, Virgina and has convinced her that she’ll get a free car from a local dealer if she just goes over and asks for it. Unfortunately, though, it seems that God forgot to tell the folks at Malloy’s Lincoln-Mercury dealership about his desire for them to provide Cole with a free car. This hasn’t stopped Cole from racking up three trespassing charges for showing up at the dealership and then refusing to leave until she got the free car God had promised her. On Monday she was convicted of all three offenses and sentenced to 12 months in jail for each of the counts. Which sounds very serious until you learn that another one of those activist judges the Republicans are always crying about in the form of General District Court Judge Wenda K. Travers has suspended all but one month of Cole’s sentence, which Cole has already served, allowing her to waltz through the revolving door of the justice system a free woman after the trial came to an end.
Travers convicted Cole of all offenses in February. Cole didn’t dispute that she had trespassed, or that she violated an October 2003 court order to stay away from the dealership. But she claims she was taking orders from a higher power when she went to the dealership and demanded a free vehicle from sales managers.
“I stand on what I know the Lord told me to do, whether anyone believes me or not,” Cole said Monday.
Travers admonished Cole again to stay away from the dealership – she is the third General District Court judge to do so. As conditions of her suspended sentence, Travers ordered Cole to undergo psychiatric evaluation and a year’s probation.
Travers agreed with defense attorney William J. Baker that a psychiatric evaluation seemed inappropriate in Cole’s case, but said that the mental health provider who evaluated Cole prior to her sentencing had recommended it.
“Someone might change Ms. Cole, but she’d have to believe it was God’s [will],” Baker said, arguing a psychiatric evaluation wouldn’t help Cole. He added that members of Cole’s church were concerned about her and disagreed with her in her belief about the Malloy dealership.
Cole agreed that the Malloy dealership has a right to run their business, and that she could be disruptive to it. But she told Travers that when God tells her to ask again, she will take the bus from her 4420 Scarborough Circle, Alexandria, home and ask again. Monday, Cole told Travers that “God continued to send Moses before Pharaoh, and he kept going and going.”
No doubt Moses finally got a car at the end of all those repeated journeys to see the Pharaoh too. By God he certainly deserved one after all that walking back and forth!
In all seriousness this is one of those reasons I tend to describe believers as living in a fantasy world. Cole seems to everyone who has met her to be very sincere and she’s described as “one of the nicest criminals I’ve ever met,” by the Judge who handled her case, she’s just convinced that God says she’ll get a free car if she demands one. And for all I know, he very well may have told her so. Just like God may have told Pat Robertson that Bush will win the re-election in a landslide or told Andy Rooney that Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson are “wackos.”
How do you rationally argue with someone who claims to have been told first-hand by God to do something absurd? How can anyone who believes in God and the idea that he forms a personal relationship with his followers not accept the idea that this woman is under orders from God to pester some poor automobile dealership for a free ride? Who knows, perhaps if she pesters them enough they’ll give her a free car just to get her off their backs.