U.S. charges God with Sabotage
The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee today charged God (aka “Mother Nature”) with sabotage for “an unanticipated and completely capricious weather event” that disrupted nuclear weapons production operations at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The indictment, released on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, charges that God “did interfere with and obstruct the national defense of the United States, specifically the building and grounds of the Y12 National Security Complex, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2155(a), 2151 and 2.”
Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Theodore said, “We regret bringing this action against Almighty God, who is quite popular here in Tennessee, but justice demands that all beings are treated equally under the law. On December 4, 2012, this office issued a similar indictment charging three anti-nuclear protesters under the same statute for what was, essentially, the same thing. They caused Y12 to be shut down for some time. If we charge one, we have to charge everyone.”
The indictment singles out God rather than other divine entities who may have been charged, said Theodore, “only because we have legal language relating to Acts of God, which this surely was. We couldn’t find case law that establishes the existence of other entities in the United States, so our options were limited.”
The specific action for which God is being charged is the surprise snowstorm which struck East Tennessee on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, dumping as much as four inches of snow across the area, and disrupting operations at the bomb plant in Oak Ridge where the United States manufactures thermonuclear cores for the W76 warhead.
According to reports in Atomic City Underground blog in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, B&W Y12 spokeswoman Ellen Boatner confirmed the disruption in plant operations. “’Just got word that we are delayed until 10:00a.m.’ Boatner said via email.”
Theodore noted the Tuesday storm, which also disrupted Theodore’s efforts to send an 83-year-old nun and her two peace activist colleagues to prison for years, was completely unanticipated. He said the US Attorney’s office received a complaint from Y12 officials around 4:00pm Tuesday afternoon. “They said, ‘We feel God snuck this one in on us, and we were unable to prepare,’” reported Theodore. “That’s what makes it a charge-able offense.”
General Rodney Johnson, head janitor and manager of emergency operations at Y12, said, “When we can see them coming, Y12 can prepare—open the taps and leave the water running, ice the roads, that sort of thing. But this one was supposed to hit the coast, and suddenly here we are, hundreds of miles inland, socked in.”
Theodore acknowledged the difficulty in making a case against God. “I’m not going to stand here and pretend we have much of a chance of putting God in prison for this,” he said. “But it’s important for the law to be applied consistently. And we are seeking restitution, probably from the Catholic church, for the cost of the delays.”
Asked if God could truly be held responsible for the disruption to operations at Y12 when they were, in fact, due to Y12’s lack of preparedness, General Johnson said, “Look, it’s the same as the Plowshares thing. They only did what they did because we were unprepared. Our security equipment didn’t work, our guards were asleep at the console, and we ignored our own alarms. That was totally our fault; we nailed them anyways. We’re getting $53,000 from them and they’re indigent—just think what we can get from the Catholic Church. They have billions. It might even make up for the Award Fee money we lost after that plowshares thing.”
Archbishop Alberto Renato, spokesman for the Holy See, said the Vatican is likely to take a wait-and-see approach. “I suppose we may end up on the hook for this,” he said. “The only way to avoid it would be to show remorse. But frankly, our complete opposition to nuclear weapons is a matter of long-standing record. That work at Y12 is an offense to God, so we couldn’t be happier to hear God shut it down. If they’re looking for contrition from us, they’re barking up the wrong steeple. We’d be glad to see that place shut down completely, or at least transformed into some other line of work. Maybe they could take bombs apart instead of building them.”
Greg Boertje-Obed, member of the Transform Now Plowshares action, was reached in Blount County jail where he awaits sentencing on February 18, for the July 28, 2012 action at Y12. Asked for comment about the government’s attempt to put God in prison, he chuckled softly. “They’re way too late,” he said. “God’s already here; in every face I encounter, guards and inmates alike.”