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SOLOMON

    Once the wisest judges in the land decreed that Solomon be cut in half.
    The judges issued this decision in a rancorous dispute over whether religious belief should transcend the nation’s history or should actually be its history. 
    On one side stood those who argued vehemently that religion was a personal concern, an inspired contact with the divine in all its variations, and therefore the tenets of no single belief should be officially sanctioned at the expense of others. The future of the state depended upon equal regard for all spiritual expression—as well as for none. 
    On the other side stood those who argued just as vehemently that there was only one true religion, it had always been favored over others, and the nation simply wouldn’t survive unless that belief was formally enshrined from the lowliest public space to the highest temple of justice. 
    Faced with these intractable claims, the wise judges scratched their heads and asked themselves, “What shall we do?”
    After much secret deliberation, after searching the laws and their souls, the best solution these wise judges could think of was to promise something to both sides in the dispute and trust reason would prevail thereafter. They must be seen as absolutely evenhanded, they agreed, going only so far in favor of one position and then leaning an equal distance the other way in a show of judicious balance. 
    As precedent, they looked to Solomon’s legendary resolution of the baby dispute, updated for their current approach to jurisprudence, of course. Seeing that nothing short of a bold and decisive move in the same spirit would settle the issue, they ordered the venerable Solomon himself be brought in and announced they were prepared to divide him up between the litigants if nothing else would settle their dispute. 
    Neither side objected to this decision, provided the other did not gain an advantage. If that happened, both vowed to begin all over again and press for the full Solomon or nothing.
    The judges, committed as they were to handing each side an equal measure of victory, had no recourse now but to take turns with the knife, justifying their decision to do this job on Solomon with assertions of both historical awareness on the one hand and religious sensitivity on the other, all delivered in the gravest voices they could muster. 
    When they’d finished, the judges looked down from their bench-cum-dissecting-table at the two sides, fully expecting to find some form of compromise between the opposing parties that matched the one they’d just demonstrated. Instead, they were met with renewed declarations of partisan triumph and a general stampede for the courthouse steps to hold aloft one half of Solomon or the other and claim justice had finally been done. 
    Leaving the wise judges to scratch their heads some more and ask themselves, “What shall we do now?”