Posted by Charlie (220.127.116.11) on January 10, 2002 at 17:15:10:
At an ecumenical conference for clergymen of various faiths, three of
the delegates were relaxing one evening after the arduous duties of the
day. Father O'Connell, Reverend Wilson, and Rabbi Cohen were indulging
in a friendly game of poker.
In their excitement they grew a little noisy, and after a few complaints
to the manager, the hotel detective entered the room, confiscated the
chips and cards, and arrested them under the strict anti-gambling
statutes of the town in which the conference was being held.
The magistrate before whom they appeared was acutely embarrassed.
"Gentlemen," he said, "I would rather this had not happened, but there
seems to be evidence of a misdemeanor, and since you have been arrested,
I cannot dismiss the case without some investigation. Nevertheless, in
view of your professions, I feel I can trust you to tell the truth. I
will ask for no evidence other than your bare words. If each of you can
tell me that you were not gambling, that would be sufficient for me, and
I will release you. Father O'Connell, you may begin."
The worthy priest said at once, "Your Honor, surely it is important to
be certain that we define what we mean by gambling. In a narrow, but
entirely valid sense, what we describe as gambling is only truly so if
there is a desire to win money, rather than merely to enjoy the suspense
of the fall of cards. In addition we might confine gambling to
situations where the loss of money would be harmful, as otherwise such
loss might merely be viewed as a variable admission fee--"
"I understand," interrupted the magistrate. "I will take it, then, that
you, Father O'Connell, were not gambling by your definition of the word.
And you, Reverend Wilson?"
The good minister straightened his tie and said, "I entirely agree with
my learned colleague, Your Honor. Further, I might point out that
gambling is gambling only if there are stakes involved. Admittedly,
there were chips on the table, but it remains to be determined whether
these represented money which would eventually have found its way into
the possession of an individual not its owner at the start of the game,
or if, in fact, it was merely being used as a convenient marker that
would indicate the progress and direction of successive--"
"Yes, yes," interrupted the magistrate again. "I will accept that as
satisfactory indication that you were not gambling, Reverend Wilson. And
now you, Rabbi Cohen. Were you gambling?"
The pious rabbi's eyebrows shot upward. "With whom, Your Honor?"
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