The Lewis Legacy-Issue 85, Summer 2000
God's Day in Court: All Our Claims
The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
June 1, 2000
by Kathryn Lindskoog
From Words to the Wise (Hope Publishing House, 2000)
I heard about a woman who was suing God because He struck her property with lightning. She said that she didn't expect Him to appear in court to try to defend Himself against the charge, and if the court examined her past life it would find her reputation blameless. I assume that she was contrasting her reputation with God's. However, apparently no summons was served.
Lightning struck again when the David C. Cook Publishing Company published Sylvia Smith's delightful map of Narnia and tried to distribute it to the eager public. An agent of the anonymous international investors who own the C. S. Lewis literary estate threatened to sue and blocked general distribution, claiming that all places in C. S. Lewis's imaginary land are private property under his control. That's very valuable unreal estate.
He had already been protecting it from musicians. Those who have produced excellent original albums that use the words Narnia and Aslan have been forced to withdraw them from the market because those words are said to be copyrighted. It happens that Narnia is an ancient village on the river Narn in Italy, and Aslan is the Turkish word for lion. It would be fun to try to copyright the entire land of Italy and the whole Turkish language just to see what happens.
It seems to me that map companies that make big money selling maps of the real world could be forced to pay perhaps 10% of their profits to God for the privilege of using God's original designs. The 10% could go to God by way of the churches or religious groups of the map companies' choice. I assume God would want it that way.
Of course profit-oriented map companies might resort to rather outdated
"God Is Dead" theology and insist that there is No One to pay. If this goes to court and they win, I may go to court myself and sue for some property coming to me as one of God's legal heirs. (I'll be happy to pay inheritance tax on my share of the estate.) God's will is clearly stated in Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." I will seek to demonstrate to the court that although I am not entirely blameless, like the woman who was suing God for damages, I am indeed meek. That's more than brash blameless people can claim.
Meanwhile, we can be thankful that the USSR never got the idea of starting to collect royalties for its portion of all the maps of the world. One has to admit that for decades the USSR donated an inordinate amount of terrain to capitalistic map makers who live off the fat of the land.
Then there is Lesotho, far younger, smaller, and less famous than Narnia. It is a more recent creation. I'm not sure who controls it, but I'd like to see him go to court and get a token payment from all the atlases that have already used it without permission. That might double its hopes for the future in this greedy and dangerous world.
If I were designing a new country with hopes that it would prosper, I wouldn't name it Lesotho. I would name it Litigious, for clout. I am
fantasizing, of course, but this fantasy is my own property and may not be used by any party for any purpose without my express permission, which I definitely refuse to give.