Best filibuster ever.

Ordinarily, I’m against the filibuster.  However, Hemant has reported on one by Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers that moves me to make an exception.  This is what Chambers had to say while filibustering a bill that would expand the prison labor program in the state of Nebraska.

Then, while burning up time trying to talk [Sen. Mark] Christensen’s bill to death, Chambers talked about attending a fundamentalist church where, as a child, he claimed children were terrorized and made to feel they were headed for Hell. He called Bible stories “fairy tales” that he outgrew.

Chambers sounded more like a preacher — albeit an unconventional and blasphemous one — than a senator, but he blamed the Legislature for that, too, noting that the body “invites religion into the chamber every morning” with a prayer. He said preachers who enter the legislative chambers are entering “my territory” to “do their damage.” He accused senators of not heeding those preachers’ calls to “do the right thing,” which he said “brings condemnation on you.”

While on the subject of Christianity, Chambers noted that Jesus “looked more like me than you all.” Despite his claims he doesn’t believe in God (though he sued God once), Chambers demonstrated that he knows the Bible (which he derisively calls the “Holly Bibel”) well, telling his fellow senators that you can judge a society by how it treats its children, elderly and enemies.

Finally, Chambers said the Mafia has higher standards than the Catholic Church hierarchy because if their members were “raping children, they’d off them.”

Where can I donate to this guy’s campaign?  It’s so strange…you can have legislators stand up and say we need to take funding away from schools and they are taken seriously and with calm consideration.  A guy gets up and says someone didn’t rise from the dead 2,000 years ago though, and normally his political career would be over.

This guy has brass balls.  Well done, Mr. Chambers.

And take heart: if this guy can get elected (and re-elected, and re-elected, and re-elected…), then we really can start getting non-believers, honest and open non-believers, into politics.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • invivoMark

    Heh, I bet he’s popular among Nebraskans….

    • iknklast

      In fact, the legislature passed a term limit law just to get rid of Ernie. So he sits out a term, then comes roaring back, and is re-elected without too much difficulty (possibly because he’s in Omaha; here where I am, they absolutely loathe him.) Ernie Chambers makes living in Nebraska worthwhile. Everything else…not so much.

  • Makoto

    I’m pretty cool with talking filibusters. It’s the stupid “I say I’ll filibuster, so you need to act like I actually filibustered” filibusters that I hate. If you want to talk a bill to death, be willing to stand up and talk it to death, and follow through. This guy seems to be in that same vein.

    • Amyc

      I think the filibusters you’re meaning are only allowed through the U.S. Senate’s convoluted rules, though I’m not sure how they work in individual states.

    • Andrew Kohler

      I quite agree: whenever I hear about the filibuster, I keep thinking, “Unless you’re going to go all Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, I don’t want to hear about it. Cheaters.”

      Generally, I would have to oppose the statements of Senator Chambers because it’s not elected officials’ business to state their views on religion during legislative business. Then again, each session opens with a prayer, and as the article reports: “He said preachers who enter the legislative chambers are entering ‘my territory’ to ‘do their damage.’” Hey, if one religious viewpoint is already endorsed, it’s only fair that an opposing view get some air time in the chamber. This is what people don’t seem to get when they allow prayer in the public sphere. Actually, it’s more like they think they are entitled to having only THEIR prayers in the public sphere: when a Hindu gave the opening prayer in Congress (I think the House, but maybe it was the Senate), there were screams of protest from the visitors’ gallery. Normally I find those terribly amusing when I see them on C-SPAN, but when I read about this I was just plain disgusted.


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