Here is a short course on how you personally can help destroy the economy. First, find an obscure clause in a federal regulation which legally prohibits something in the business to consumer relationship, although it currently affects no one. Then, find companies to sue because they are unaware of this detail of the regulation, claiming to have been personally damaged.
This is the methodology being employed by a Baltimore County resident, who is suing three bars for having “willfully violated” the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, by having the audacity to print the expiration date of his credit card on his personal sales receipt.
It is correct that to do so violates the act. It is also true, however, that as of the date of its enactment, and to my knowledge even today, the expiration date of a credit card isn’t actually validated — you can try this the next time you do an online transaction, by claiming an arbitrary future expiration date on an otherwise valid card. And even if I am wrong about that, it is certainly, as said by a consumer advocate with the US Public Interest Research Group, “a minor fraud threat compared to many others.” The gentleman in question has not suffered damage, will most probably never suffer damage, and in all likelihood cannot suffer damage. It is abuse of an otherwise helpful consumer protection law.
Why is this relevant to religion? Because when we say that morals and ethics must guide our business practices, that includes not taking arbitrary advantage of honest businesses. If the Feds need to point out the violation, then let the government know… don’t sue when you aren’t harmed.
In Jewish teachings, one of the practices of Sodom that led to its destruction was that its laws were used to inflict gratuitous cruelty upon visitors and victims. To force three businesses to pay tens of thousands in settlement or legal fees merely inflicts gratuitous pain upon three businesses in one of the current economy’s most vulnerable industries. Mr. Bradley may not care how many people lose their jobs, but the rest of us certainly should.