Skepticism

Is God Guilty?

This actually made it into my local paper:

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The defendant in a state senator’s lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He’s everywhere.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.

Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused “fearsome floods … horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes.”

He’s seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.

Excerpted from Nebraska state senator sues God by Nate Jenkins, Associated Press Writer.

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Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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13 Comments

  1. Without knowing anything about the "rape" trial, I can pretty much guarantee that those words are pretty loaded with emotion. It would be very muchg the same as not allowing a witness in a hate crime to use the words "racist" or "ni***r", as they do not only instill certain emotions, but they are implying something about the case that the witness may have no knowledge about.

    For example, there's a difference between saying "I saw the accused follow the young woman out" compared to "I saw the rapist follow the victim out". One is clearly making an assumption about the case and the person on trial that may not have been established yet.

    Of course, none of this might apply to the case in question, but it needs to be kept in mind that a court is supposed to stay as neutral as possible. And that includes not feeding a jury loaded statements.

  2. During the Holocaust, the inmates of one barracks actually convened a Bet Din (Court of Judgement), and hauled god before it on charges or abandonment, murder, and all sorts of nastiness. Ha Shem was even assigned defending counsel.

    God was found guilty.

    I'd love to see that repeated here in the U.S. of A. –Too bad there isn't actually a defendent to stick in the dock.

  3. How about suing god in the international war crimes court thingy in Europe? In this case, Allah would be on the stand for the 9/11 attacks.

    I think one of the more interesting outcomes would be if muslims managed to somehow prove in court that Allah was not related in any way to the actions of the terorists, and that Osama Bin Laden is not a real muslim.

    Hilarity ensues as terrorists are suddenly no longer welcome in their own country …

  4. The woman wasn't even allowed to say "I was raped." It wasn't about being able to point a finger at a suspect. That is completely and utterly reprehensible.

    It is an awesome testament to the SURVIVOR'S strength that she is able to publicly come out and say "this was done to me. Don't take away the horror of it."

    The dude's motivation for his lawsuit disgusts me.

    Having said that–there is a long medieval history of prosecuting insects for crop damage. I wish he had gone after the corn borer. :)

  5. Well, if she is the victim, she should obviously be allowed to give her side of the story without censorship. Apart from assumptions that she has no knowledge about (like for example the guy’s motivation for raping her).

    If she was not, as I had assumed, an eye witness giving testimony, but the victim herself, it should be a no brainer that she’s allowed to express her lack of consent for the act by using the word “rape” to describe it.

  6. There's no such thing as bad publicity. If his intent was to ridicule the system by bringing attention to a "frivolous" lawsuit I suggest that this has backfired on him. Not only does it bring to light an injustice to a victim of a horrible crime (being raped twice…once literally by a man, once figuratively by a judge) but it makes him look like a tremendous ass.

  7. "If she was not, as I had assumed, an eye witness giving testimony, but the victim herself, it should be a no brainer that she’s allowed to express her lack of consent for the act by using the word “rape” to describe it."

    Yes, it should be a no-brainer, but obviously isn't. Instead, rather than prejudicing the jury against the defendant, the judge was setting up a strong prejudice in his favor. Which is a huge problem when only a fraction of rapes are even reported, and only a fraction of those result in a conviction. I'd have to dig around for the article, but I recall reading a British law expert (using UK, not US, stats on rape) saying that the percentage of rapes that result in conviction is so low that rape is essentially legal there. I'd imagine the situation is similar here. Anecdotally, it absolutely is. Of the women I know who are victims of rape, only one even reported it, and she got the run around from the system for years.

    Sorry, didn't mean to totally hijack this thread, but for something like this, the angry feminist in me comes out in full force!

  8. Having read the comments on the relevant threads on Feministing, A few interesting points popped up though, which are worth considering:

    1. It IS a frivolous lawsuit, because you cannot just sue a judge, as he's immune from ordinary lawsuits to prevent anyone and everyone from suing a judge who ruled against them. Furthermore, the basis for her case is violation of her first ammendment right to free speech. But inside a courtroom, those don't apply, as the judge is the ultimate judge of what's deemed appropriate and what's not inside HIS courtroom.

    So in essence, her lawsuit is frivolous because it's pretty much pointless. Sad, but true.

    2. The term rape is apparently a legal term reserved to describe a specific criminal act. Judges are allowed to ban the use of the term in favor of a description of the crime (which will ultimately be just as graphic and emotional as the word rape I'm sure). Because the word "rape" might be seen as labelling the crime before it's been established this is in fact the crime that took place.

    apparently, judges have, in the past, also barred the use of other terms like "murder" for similar reasons. It's not "murder" until it can be shown that the act was intentional.

    I suppose a lot of this is the result of the legal system hoping to avoid jumping to the wrong conclusions or vigilante justice by trying to look at a horrendous event as unemotional and impartial as possible. And sometimes that emotional detachment rubs victims who've been through this terrible event the wrong way, because for them the whole matter is mostly emotional to begin with.

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