So Help Me God

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9780976869115: So Help Me God

Miraculously awakening from a twelve-year coma, television evangelist Thomas Jeremiah Luther eagerly resumes his world-wide ministry while secretly plotting to seize control of conservative Christian political power in America. 

When a teenage member of Luther’s congregation almost dies from an abortion, he convinces her family to file a multi-million dollar medical malpractice case against the physician and abortion clinic.  The right verdict will shut down abortion clinics all over the country and send the religious right and power brokers of all stripes flocking to his door.

With two powerful and charismatic lawyers arguing the case, the nation is riveted to this landmark courtroom battle where the one of the most heated points in the national debate will be decided:  When exactly does life begin? 

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About the Author:

A veteran Texas trial lawyer, LARRY D. THOMPSON has drawn upon decades of experience in the courtroom to produce his first novel, So Help Me God.  Thompson, a one-time journalism major who used his talent for writing to excel at the University of Texas School of Law, is now managing partner of the Houston trial firm he founded.  Recently honored by Texas Monthly Magazine as a "Texas Super Lawyer," he is the proud father of three grown children, an active golfer, SCUBA diver, runner, and outdoor enthusiast.  His biggest inspiration both in life and literature is his late brother, best-selling author Thomas Thompson.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1
For twelve years the faithful had journeyed from around the world to view the comatose man whose life depended on the feeding tube in his abdomen. This Christmas Eve morning was no different. They began arriving at the City of Miracles on the west side of Fort Worth at dawn. The parking lot resembled Universal Studios. Young men and women in tan slacks and white shirts directed traffic.
By nine o’clock, hundreds were gathered. When the gates opened, a guide escorted the first group inside. The young woman who led them resembled a college cheerleader, blond, blue-eyed, a face filled with eagerness and religious fervor. As they walked, she explained where they were going and what they would see. “My name is Naomi. Twelve years ago today, a demented woman stabbed Reverend Thomas Jeremiah Luther, the Chosen, in the heart as he left a revival at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. They rushed him to the hospital where he was not expected to live. He refused to die. After months, they could do nothing more so we brought him back here where we could care for him and wait for him to be born once again. You will see him where he lies in state. He has been in a coma for twelve years, fed by a tube and cared for by those of us who believe in him. Five years ago, we took him off life support at the directive of the City’s board of governors. Since then, the doctors have repeatedly declared him clinically dead, but each time a miracle has brought him back.
“The finest doctors in the world have evaluated his condition over the years. They have reached the same conclusion. He will never wake up. He will always be in a vegetative condition and there is nothing we can do except care for him until his death.
“We know the doctors are wrong. They do not understand the power of prayer or believe in miracles. We know that he will not die. Our Father has much more work for him to do in this life. When the time is right, he will awaken and take his rightful place as the spiritual leader of the City of Miracles. Once again, his voice will be heard throughout the world.”
They arrived at the center of the city and found themselves standing in front of an unimpressive, round dome that rose twenty feet above the ground. It could have been a tomb or a bunker or a landed spacecraft. The young woman asked the assembled group to form a single-file line and to bow their heads as they entered. One by one, they vanished into the shadows of the dome. Smoky oil lamps provided a faint light. The circular walkway surrounded a smaller, slightly glowing glass dome, thirty feet in diameter.
“Please be silent and follow your guide along the walkway. There will be room for each of you to view the Chosen. As soon as you position yourselves facing the dome, we will begin,” a voice commanded through loudspeakers.
The glass dome covered a modern and fully functional intensive care unit fifteen feet below the level where the visitors stood. In the middle of the unit was a hospital bed. On it lay the frail, almost lifeless body of Thomas Jeremiah Luther, a.k.a. the Chosen, covered in white linen with only a red blotch carefully placed over his heart where the knife had entered twelve years earlier. His face was the picture of serenity. A light shone on it, forming a halo above his head. A close look revealed a barely perceptible rise and fall of his chest. To his right a young man dressed in a white robe sat ceremoniously on a rock, reminiscent of the scene that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, had seen three days after Jesus had been crucified.
As the visitors took their places, the nurses stopped what they were doing and stood off to the side. A portrait of Jesus hung on one wall. Eyes filled with compassion, he seemed to stare at the man in the bed. Reverend Luther himself had done the portrait when he was a resident in the Tarrant County jail many years before. The portrait had been moved to the City when the Chosen was at the height of his power.
The faithful silently witnessed the scene before them for five minutes before the young man on the rock started speaking.
“. . . as he cared for us in life we care for him as he lies in limbo before you. The ladies in white provide physical and pulmonary therapy three times a day. He does not need life support. He is on no regular medication. Occasionally, he blinks his eyes. Otherwise, he shows no sign of life. Yet, we know he lives and someday will rise to lead us again. It has been prophesied that on an anniversary of his near-death he will awaken. For twelve years, people like you have gathered here on that anniversary and prayed for his return. For whatever reason, God has not given him back to us. Now the lights are going to dim and you will be in total darkness. Do not be afraid. For the one minute that you are in darkness, think instead about the twelve years that the Chosen has been in darkness and pray silently to our God to return him to us.”
The lights dimmed as the lamps were snuffed out and the room went black. The visitors could not see their families beside them. They could only reach out and clasp hands. After about thirty seconds of silence, a woman in the crowd started crying, quietly at first before her crying turned to wailing and gasping for air. Then she sank to her knees as grief overwhelmed her.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” A voice, soft and weak, asked the question.
At first no one knew where it came from until the young man on the rock shouted, “Turn on the lights. It’s him!” 
Copyright © 2004, 2008 by Larry D. Thompson. All rights reserved.

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