LINCOLN, Neb. – Rabid Husker football fans have treated him like a deity after three national championships. And recently they've praised the second coming of him as an athletic director commanding their beloved but beleaguered program.
Now a state senator is flat saying it: Tom Osborne is God.
"Defendant's cover has been blown ... by the simple folk of Nebraska," state Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said in a legal notice he sent to Osborne.
Chambers sued God last month, seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." Chambers filed the lawsuit to make the point that anybody can sue anybody, motivated by a federal lawsuit that has since been thrown out against a state judge who barred the words "rape" and "victim" and others in a sexual assault trial.
But Chambers encountered a snafu in his God lawsuit that he may have expected. How do you serve notice to God that he/she/it has been sued?
Such a notice is normally required before a case can move forward.
Fan response to Osborne's hiring as interim athletic director at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after Steve Pederson was fired solved the mystery for Chambers. As the football program slid downward — the team's record stands at 4-4 this season — so did fan support for Pederson.
Then came Osborne.
"In recent days it came to pass that there has been a type of prostration, adulation, adoration, veneration, thanks-giving, worshipful gushing and heartfelt outpourings of hosannas and hallelujahs throughout the land — appropriate only to one bearing the status, purported traits and powers of Defendant; that is to say, a deity," says the notice.
The Douglas County District Court had not received a copy of the notice as of Thursday afternoon, according to a clerk there. No hearings have been scheduled in the case.
Osborne was not immediately available to comment.
Chambers points to phrases that have been used to celebrate Osborne's return to the UNL athletic kingdom as circumstantial evidence that God indeed is in Nebraska — in the guise of Osborne.
"The headline 'The Legend Returns' smacks of a reference to the 'Second Coming,"' Chambers writes. "'The Doctor is in the House' headline can be taken as a reference to 'The Great Physician.' Portrayals as 'savior' of this and that have been heard during this period ... finally, defendant was proclaimed 'king' of some otherworldly realm — possibly a cryptic play on the theme of 'king of kings. "'