Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers is one unique politician. After being the longest-serving senator in the state’s history (serving for 38 years, starting in 1970), he was term-limited out and left office in 2008. This past November, he was eligible to run for office again and took advantage of that opportunity, winning his race fairly comfortably.
Chambers is one of the few non-theistic, high-ranking politicians in the country. He’s also African-American and a powerhouse legislator.
He’s making headlines again for filibustering a bill that would “expand a prison work program.”
How is that news? Well, his filibuster included lots of unrelated remarks about religion:
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.”
After three hours of talking on Wednesday, the Legislature closed up shop for the day. But Chambers is expected to continue where he left off this Monday.
(Thanks to @aksarbent for the link!)