Update: problem still not solved
Thanks for all the replies so far. Here's what I've done:
--checked appropriate fuses and relays in the engine compartment -- all good.
--discovered that if I left the door open while trying to start, I could hear a "click" from the engine compartment (presumably the starter relay), and also hear the fuel pump running. So it appears the computer is doing what it should.
--removed battery, cleaned top, shined up terminals and battery cables, topped off low cells w/ distilled water, and replaced. Clamps and cables at battery seemed fine.
--charged up battery again, put back in car ... and still nothing except a click.
--swapped positions for a couple of relays just in case I had a bad one. Nope.
--put the load tester on the battery again. It reads at the lower end of the range, but still acceptable. Battery is approx seven years old.
--hooked up the Dodge to a running vehicle w/ jumper cables and tried again. Click.
At this point, I've gotta believe it's the starter (or starter solenoid). But how could briefly shorting the positive cable have fried either of those components? I've gotta think they're related, since I don't believe in coincidences, but can't understand how or why. All thoughts appreciated.
Now for a rant: If I was going to design a car and locate the battery in the most inconvenient, annoying, inacessible location, the result would be the Intrepid. And despite the advice in the service manual, it's actually much faster and easier to remove the battery from the top by removing the air cleaner box than it is to dick around removing the cover in the wheel well. Plus, at least in my case, I had to jack up the front a bit anyway to get enough clearance between the top of the battery and the tire to slide it out of the way.