Archive for November 10th, 2008|Daily archive page

Lawsuit against God dismissed in Nebraska

About a year ago, Ernie Chambers, then a long-serving member of Nebraska’s unicameral state legislature, filed a lawsuit against God.  He was seeking “a permanent injunction” to “cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats…of grave harm to innumerable persons, including constituents of Plaintiff who Plaintiff has the duty to represent.”  These activities allegedly included:

fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects and the like. …[Often causing] calamitous catastrophes resulting in the wide-spread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants including innocent babes, infants, children, the aged and infirm without mercy or distinction. …[And] has manifested neither compassion nor remorse, proclaiming that defendant will laugh [Proverbs 1:26].

His filing indicate that “Plaintiff, despite reasonable efforts to effectuate personal service upon defendant ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are,’ has been unable to do so.”  He said that this failure to serve process in a normal manner shouldn’t prevent the suit from going forward, since the defendant could be presumed to have knowledge of the suit.  Somehow, I don’t think this is what C.S. Lewis had in mind when he wrote God in the Dock.


This seal on a field of blue is Nebraska's flag, one of the worst in North America according to a 2001 survey of vexillologists.

Some anonymous people filed motions for the defendant and one even filed a countersuit.  However, this week Mr. Chambers’s suit was dismissed with prejudice (meaning he can’t refile it), ruling that God wasn’t properly served due to his unlisted home address. Chambers responded by saying “the court itself acknowledges the existence of God. A consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God’s omniscience. Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit.”  Chambers, who is listed as an agnostic on his Wikipedia page (which gives lots of information about the interesting case), has filed a notice of appeal—taking the suit to a higher authority, as it were.

The plaintiff, a member of the legislature’s judiciary committee, filed his suit to protest recent court rulings that made it, in his view, too easy for frivolous lawsuits to be filed.  He wanted to demonstrate that anyone could sue anyone else with far too much ease in Nebraska.  I guess that makes him an advocate of tort reform.

Chambers, who represented the Omaha area for 38 years in the Nebraska Senate, was forced out of office this past April by a term limits law passed in 2000.  He would have likely won re-election if allowed to continue in office.