Gay Teen Who Ripped Out Bible Pages Suspended by Texas School

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A gay teen who was suspended by the Birdville Independent School District in Texas after ripping out pages of his Bible to protest anti-gay bullying got some help from the American Humanist Association this week. The organization sent the school district a formal compliant, charging them with violating the boy’s First Amendment rights. 

According to an article on the Huffington Post, Isaiah Smith, a gay Christian teen, said that fellow students repeatedly told him that "being gay is a sin" and "gays go to hell." So during first period class on Oct. 28, he took out his personal Bible and tore out portions of the notoriously anti-gay Leviticus, saying that he did not believe the Bible should condemn gays. 

Smith was sent to the assistant principal, who first told the boy he could carry the Bible around, but several days later called Smith to his office and reportedly asked him, "How would Muslims feel if a student was tearing up the Qur-an?" The assistant principal confiscated Smith’s Bible and suspended him for three days. 

"This is a clear violation of Isaiah’s First Amendment rights," said Monica Miller, an attorney and legal consultant with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the legal arm of the American Humanist Association.

Written By: Winnie McCroy
continue to source article at edgeboston.com

41 COMMENTS

  1. How about asking him how he feels with those passages in there and being told by other students he is going to hell? Again religious people wanting someone to understand their feeling while they completely ignore the feelings of others.

  2. “How would Muslims feel if a student was tearing up the Qur-an?”

    relevant how?

    I assume the logic here is that in a hypothetical situation someone of a different faith, seeing a different book damaged, might have their feelings hurt. this is the victim of bullies, making a point. presumibly because this actual real person, actually did have his feelings hurt.

    I don’t believe in making rules to protect feelings but if it must be a consideration, surelly what’s real comes before what’s imagined?

    oh wait, this is religion

  3. Leviticus!!!! I’d ask the Assistant Principal how many of the rules detailed in this hateful screed he is actually following???

    What’s this principal’s email address? I found a name, Vice Principal Glenn Serviente.

    Here’s his email address:

    glenn.serviente@birdvilleschools

    I am gonna drop him a line. Maybe you should too.

    • In reply to #5 by crookedshoes:

      Here’s his email address:
      glenn.serviente@birdvilleschools

      I wrote:

      I was shocked at you behaving like an Saudi Mullah punishing Isaiah Smith for defacing his own bible.

      It the USA people are free to do what they want to their property. You seem to think you live in some Muslim country where that freedom does not exist. Why don’t you go live in one? You will feel much more at home.

      Your job is protecting students, not meddling in their freedoms.

      I wrote in the style of right wingers. He is expecting attacks from the left, but not from the right.

  4. Reminds me of the case in Florida (?) in which a professor was raked over the coals for having his students step on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” on it. His point was: it’s just a piece of paper!

    So the bible was the kid’s personal property? Kids are no longer permitted to damage their own possessions? News to me!

  5. The bible is hate literature. It tells people the creator of the universe wants believers to kill gays, or more accurately males who have sex with males.

    It is grandfathered in as acceptable. If somebody wrote a book today saying you should kill all left handed people, this book would not get anywhere near a school library. The bible is just as wicked and just as nuts.

    I have challenged many Christian over this. They say “I personally do not kill gays; I am just as rude as I can get away with. Gays are vermin you know and can’t get into the kingdom of heaven. For gooblegook reason, I ignore those verses.” I say “If you don’t mean them, please take them out. Many people are taking them literally”. “Oh heavens. That would be impossible. You can’t be serious. That is the word of God. We can’t possibly change it.”

    All you would need is the pope to say, “It is god’s job to judge gays, not yours. They are the least of your brethren. Treat them fairly because God will judge you as you judged them.”

  6. BTW, here is a list of rules in Leviticus, in case you’d like to point out the Principal’s shortcomings in an e mail. I count 27 or so that this man is in violation of (or potentially in violation of). That is 36%. So he lives by approx. 64% of the laws in the book!

    1.  Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God (2:11)
      
    2.  Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)
      
    3.  Eating fat (3:17)
      
    4.  Eating blood (3:17)
      
    5.  Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed (5:1)
      
    6.  Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1)
      
    7.  Touching an unclean animal (5:2)
      
    8.  Carelessly making an oath (5:4)
      
    9.  Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them (6:2)
      
    10. Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3)

    11. Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1)

    12. Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)

    13. Tearing your clothes (10:6)

    14. Drinking alcohol in holy places (10:9)

    15. Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (11:4-7)

    16. Touching the carcass of any of the above (11:8)

    17. Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12)

    18. Eating – or touching the carcass of – eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19)

    19. Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with four legs, unless those legs are jointed (11:20-22)

    20. Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (11:27)

    21. Eating – or touching the carcass of – the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon (11:29)

    22. Eating – or touching the carcass of – any creature which crawls on many legs, or its belly (11:41-42)

    23. Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (12:4)

    24. Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (12:5)

    25. Having sex with your mother (18:7)

    26. Having sex with your father’s wife (18:8)

    27. Having sex with your sister (18:9)

    28. Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)

    29. Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)

    30. Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)

    31. Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14)

    32. Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)

    33. Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)

    34. Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter (18:17)

    35. Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives (18:18)

    36. Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)

    37. Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20)

    38. Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)

    39. Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22)

    40. Having sex with an animal (18:23)

    41. Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4)

    42. Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9)

    43. Picking up grapes that have fallen in your vineyard (19:10)

    44. Stealing (19:11)

    45. Lying (19:11)

    46. Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12)

    47. Defrauding your neighbour (19:13)

    48. Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (19:13)

    49. Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14)

    50. Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich (19:15)

    51. Spreading slander (19:16)

    52. Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life (19:16)

    53. Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18)

    54. Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)

    55. Cross-breeding animals (19:19)

    56. Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19)

    57. Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20)

    58. Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)

    59. Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology) (19:26)

    60. Trimming your beard (19:27)

    61. Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)

    62. Getting tattoos (19:28)

    63. Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29)

    64. Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31)

    65. Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)

    66. Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born” (19:33-34)

    67. Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)

    68. Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death) (20:9)

    69. Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a priest (21:7,13)

    70. Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)

    71. Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day (22:28)

    72. Working on the Sabbath (23:3)

    73. Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)

    74. Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal; killing a person must be punished in kind (24:17-22)

    75. Selling land permanently (25:23)

    76. Selling an Israelite as a slave (25:42)

    • In reply to #9 by crookedshoes:

      BTW, here is a list of rules in Leviticus, in case you’d like to point out the Principal’s shortcomings in an e mail. I count 27 or so that this man is in violation of (or potentially in violation of). That is 36%. So he lives by approx. 64% of the laws in the book!

      Burning any yeast or honey i…

      Have you ever seen this, crookedshoes?

      Snopes.com: Letter to Dr. Laura

      Here is a response to it from the anti-gay hate group Christian Voice, who are sort of the British Westboro Baptist Church.

      (I mention it’s a hate group because since joining this website I’ve inadvertently found myself on hate sites on a number of occasions after innocently clicking on a link, or deliberately sought them out researching some comment I wanted to make, as I did here. I sometimes worry my internet history will have resulted in my coming to the attention of the CIA or MI5 or something. If they are monitoring my internet traffic, can I just say “Hello” and “I’m not a terrorist or white supremacist or anything”.)

      • In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

        I sometimes worry my internet history will have resulted in my coming to the attention of the CIA or MI5 or something. If they are monitoring my internet traffic, can I just say “Hello” and “I’m not a terrorist or anything”.)

        I’m about two steps away, this is just a heads up. Be warned!

      • Katy,
        I have seen and loved the letter to Dr. Laura at Snopes. I had never seen the ridiculous rebuttal at that hate site. I just cannot believe the lengths these folks will extend to keep their hatred alive and justified in their eyes.

        I wanted to scream wile I read it, but I just have to point out that the paragraphs that refer to gays and are quoted and generate all the hate are then subject to change and interpretation, too. If every other example in the letter is explained as no longer binding, why not add one more to the giant pile of “outdated” and “explained away” laws and actually practice the “love of your fellow man” that they pretend is so important?

        Thanks for riling me up!
        In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #9 by crookedshoes:

        BTW, here is a list of rules in Leviticus, in case you’d like to point out the Principal’s shortcomings in an e mail. I count 27 or so that this man is in violation of (or potentially in violation of). That is 36%. So he lives by approx. 64% of the laws in the book…

  7. If you have a Qur’an, and it gets old and you want to dispose of it, there are special rules to dispose of it. I have forgotten what they are, but just tossing it out or burning it is very wicked. Burning it is grounds for murder for fundamentalists. American soldiers forced Muslims to use it as toilet paper knowing they would believe they had sealed their fate with eternal torment, and would be broken.

    Americans have a cult of flag worship. In a similar way, old flags must be specially disposed of.

    We tend to laugh at people who confuse a book with a teaching. Here this principal is doing the same thing, effectively complaining a bible had been destroyed with insufficient protocol and reverence.

    It is like a time machine to 1300.

  8. religious prejudice against gays results in the victim being antagonised into making a statement of his self worth by tearing up a few bible pages…. (should have tossed the whole thing)….then the ignorant principle decides to blame him for being a victim by suspending him but not because he was gay….because he ripped up bible pages….religion blames anything but their own inbred, mutant, cloven hooved views…

  9. “Isaiah Smith, a gay Christian teen”…

    It still saddens me how such people exist… the mental hoops they must jump through every day to justify to themselves how they can be both homosexual and belong to a gay-hating religion.

    Tearing the offending pages out of the evil book is just a form of self denial and I feel genuinely sorry for the lad and all those in a similar position – especially those who have to cover up their true natures in order to ‘conform’ to the ‘laws’ of the homophobic god of the desert.

    As for the reaction of his ‘Christian’ classmates, I wouldn’t expect anything else from them to be honest…

    At least he stood up to them, I guess – and good on him for being brave enough to do so.

    • In reply to #17 by Dr Bob:

      It still saddens me how such people exist… the mental hoops they must jump through every day to justify to themselves how they can be both homosexual and belong to a gay-hating religion.

      Please, Christianity has divided and morphed so often over the centuries that they can’t even agree over what the Bible is actually saying, and that’s just the people who have barely touched the book. In the UK alone, Christianity has been redefined by some people as nothing more than “being a good person”. A set of contradictory subdivisions of a religion can accommodate anything, since it’s already a heaped mess.

      • In reply to #33 by Zeuglodon:

        In reply to #17 by Dr Bob:

        It still saddens me how such people exist… the mental hoops they must jump through every day to justify to themselves how they can be both homosexual and belong to a gay-hating religion.

        Please, Christianity has divided and morphed so often over the centuries that they…

        I totally agree – which makes it even more sad when you get one or more of the nutters for Jesus claiming to own and represent the ‘truth’.

        It’s the same with anything subjective that only truly exists inside the warped imagination of the afflicted.

        • In reply to #36 by Dr Bob:

          In reply to #33 by Zeuglodon:

          In reply to #17 by Dr Bob:

          It still saddens me how such people exist… the mental hoops they must jump through every day to justify to themselves how they can be both homosexual and belong to a gay-hating religion.

          Please, Christianity has divided and morphed so oft…

          Yup. The interesting question now is why they feel the need to make it up as they go along. Maybe it’s a badge of identity, or some kind of token proof that one is moral?

  10. On the other hand, a Muslim might be perfectly happy to see a fellow student tear pages out of the Christian bible. But he would want to see the boy punished for being gay… This hypothetical-Muslim standard is certainly complex.

  11. From the OP:

    A gay teen who was suspended by the Birdville Independent School District in Texas after ripping out pages of his Bible to protest [...]

    I’m glad he ripped those terrible pages out. Some of us just rip a few hundred pages more.

  12. Am I the only one who thinks that such behaviour has no place in a school lesson? I would rather someone took a reasoned stand rather than unreasoned provocation in any event, but certainly in school if pupils were allowed to express their opinions as freely as adults can in the public street then it would disrupt schooling.

    I am far from unconvinced the deputy headmaster was improper in his example. Ripping up religious texts is provocative. We all know it shouldn’t be but we all know it is. Younger humans are generally held to be less emotionally reserved than adults, particularly amongst themselves. The upshot being that actions which are provocative (but lawful) in public, may have a much greater effect on order in the classroom than public order. Your fellow pupils are physically much more proximate than the religious nut spewing his rubbish on a Saturday afternoon that you can cross the street to avoid. And you can’t leave the classroom to get away from something you find causing you offence or distress.

    As a fully secular adult, relatively well educated and, I hope, as balanced as any, I would find myself uncomfortable and distracted by someone demonstrably criticising or protesting against my beliefs in circumstances where I do not welcome the debate. But I’m an adult – I can walk away. I would find it highly disruptive if I was in a situation where I could not.

    Even if it were not provocative I would still have though it disruptive enough to warrant some kind of intervention. I would have thought in my fairly liberal school, if in class a pupil stood up and for no other reason than for a stunt decided to tear his own books up, it would have lead to some kind of action.

    There is nothing in this story to me that indicates anything other than the school authorities taking action against disruptive behaviour in class. Nothing indicates the school would have acted differently if the child had, for instance, defaced a flag in a similar demonstrative way. If it would have done, then that is different. But it does not seem to me to have any prima facie religious bias, and nor does it unreasonably restrict freedom of speech.

    I deplore the bullying this poor student received, and I would be much more minded to sue the school over that were I him, if the school was contributory or failed in its duties to ensure a reasonable educational environment. I also think that suspension is a bit much – I quiet talking to the chap after school would have been much more sensitive.

    • How long did he endure the bullying before it came to a head? I am a teacher and I will tell you that bullying is often very subtle and hard to detect and very hard to stop. The fact that this young man performed a non violent act that brought full attention to his plight is brilliant. Have you BEEN in a high school in the last 10 years? Some are as chaotic as you can imagine and the halls are swarms of asshole teenagers. You need a little perspective. If he tore the pages out of his math book, he’d have been invisible and the bullying would have continued or intensified.

      The assistant principal has an obligation to help children. Why was this kid pushed to this point on the assistant’s watch? Shame on him. Then when asked to trouble shoot the situation, the assistant principal took the easy road out and shit on the bullied kid some more. Shame on him again. I am always amazed when an adult whose job should be dedication to ALL kids in their charge, drops the ball so selectively. He took the easy way out and that is unforgivable when a child’s life is at stake.

      In reply to #25 by Shrinking_Dogma:

      Am I the only one who thinks that such behaviour has no place in a school lesson? I would rather someone took a reasoned stand rather than unreasoned provocation in any event, but certainly in school if pupils were allowed to express their opinions as freely as adults can in the public street then i…

  13. I am calling for a National rip up your own Bible day. Rip Leviticus right out of the damn silly book in front of people who will get offended. Let’s put it together. Let’s organize the bullied people around the globe. Tear up your holy book (the one you own — no one else’s) Then do the same thing on the same date every year. A holiday celebrating fighting back the right way, with indignation and non-violence. Hit back without hitting anyone.

    First we need a name for our day.
    How about “A day for Isaiah”?

    • Much as I would like to, I think I’ll keep the rotten book intact,so I can bash Christians over the head with it. (figuratively) although a literal bash sounds very tempting, seeing that I just chased off a coupla JWers. In reply to #27 by crookedshoes:

      I am calling for a National rip up your own Bible day. Rip Leviticus right out of the damn silly book in front of people who will get offended. Let’s put it together. Let’s organize the bullied people around the globe. Tear up your holy book (the one you own — no one else’s) Then do the same t…

  14. So during first period class on Oct. 28, he took out his personal Bible and tore out portions of the notoriously anti-gay Leviticus, saying that he did not believe the Bible should condemn gays.

    If if was his own property, its none of their “god-damned” business!
    Stopping bullying however, is the school’s responsibility! Finding some pretext for blaming the victim, is the easy option for incompetent management, – and with a bit of faith-head bias thrown in, is the easy answer for the non-thinker!

    • I agree with you. Book destruction is a crappy thing to do. However, Maybe if you acquire two Bibes (one to keep intact, the other to demonstrate)? Does that mitigate it at all? Most folks who burn a book want the copies of the book eradicated. I do not. I want the shitheads who adhere to the book to sit up and take notice. Their bullying days are limited!

      I even have a Bible in my classroom! We had an initiative a few years back to build in 22 minutes of sustained silent reading (SSR) into our school day. (Teachers refer to SSR as — SIT down SHUT up and READ)…. Anyway, I had the school purchase a rolling book cart and I brought in about 300 of my own books. I labeled them, numbered them, and arranged them on my cart. I affixed a clipboard for borrowers of books to sign those books out and then on my off period, I roll the cart around and offer books to kids.

      One of the books on the cart is the bible. I have a Koran. I have great books, crappy books, books I recommend, books books books. I also have a “private stash” of books in a cabinet that I only lend to certain kids. They are my precious books.

      I have a blank diary that has all the days of the year in it and when all the students are asking each other to sign their yearbooks, I break mine out and ask my favorite kids to sign the page that corresponds to their birthday and to write down something I taught them. It is the most important book I own. At the end of my career, i will have 35 years of birthdays and signatures and anecdotes. It makes me happy.

      In reply to #32 by Katy Cordeth:

      I have to say I’m not a fan of book destruction as a form of political protest. How does it make you any different from these guys, or this dimwit?

      Hows ’bout we leave acts of thuggery to the thugs.

      • In reply to #34 by crookedshoes:

        I agree with you. Book destruction is a crappy thing to do. However, Maybe if you acquire two Bibles (one to keep intact, the other to demonstrate)? Does that mitigate it at all?

        I can’t speak for others, but don’t we put better written magazines, catalogues, and junk-mail in the recycling or rubbish bins, all the time?

        As for bibles, we have a couple of small pocket size ones for reference, but I cleared out some great big clumsy “family bibles” out of an attic on to a bonfire years ago!

      • In reply to #34 by crookedshoes:

        I agree with you. Book destruction is a crappy thing to do. However, Maybe if you acquire two Bibes (one to keep intact, the other to demonstrate)? Does that mitigate it at all?

        I wouldn’t have thought so. People who have been prosecuted for illegally downloading music have tried, without success, to offer the defense that what they took is still technically there so they haven’t actually stolen anything. I think the principle here is sort of the same. The nature of the act itself, be it larcenous or vandalous, isn’t altered just because there are plenty of copies remaining; in the second instance, you’re still symbolically destroying ideas rather than confronting them head-on and using your intellect to negate their power. I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is if your tactics are the same as those employed by the Third Reich or the guy I previously mentioned whose mustache is probably more intelligent than the rest of him, you may be on shaky moral ground.

        …I even have a Bible in my classroom! We had an initiative a few years back to build in 22 minutes of sustained silent reading (SSR) into our school day. (Teachers refer to SSR as — SIT down SHUT up and READ)…. Anyway, I had the school purchase a rolling book cart and I brought in about 300 of my own books. I labeled them, numbered them, and arranged them on my cart. I affixed a clipboard for borrowers of books to sign those books out and then on my off period, I roll the cart around and offer books to kids.

        One of the books on the cart is the bible. I have a Koran. I have great books, crappy books, books I recommend, books books books. I also have a “private stash” of books in a cabinet that I only lend to certain kids. They are my precious books.

        Oh dear. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but the last part of this sounded faintly sinister. “Private stash”? There was a teacher at my boarding school who lost his job because he liked to show his own private stash of “art pamphlets” to some of us girls. :)

        I am glad you don’t have the almost talismanic reverence, even if it’s disdainful, some non-believers display for religious books and other paraphernalia. It puzzles me when atheists complain about having found a Gideon Bible when checking in to a hotel room, as though its mere presence will have some sort of deleterious effect on them. I think they secretly fear that a night spent sleeping with their head only inches from it will result in them waking up converted and wanting to spread the good word; that this is how the Gideon people recruit new members. You go to sleep a successful, go-getting professional and the next day you have an overwhelming urge to spend the rest of your life going around hotels putting these tomes onto nightstands.

        Same thing with crucifixes. Who cares if a stewardess on your flight is wearing one of these trinkets over her uniform? She’s not flying the aircraft, you don’t have to worry about her level of intelligence. If you notice the pilot wearing one, that’s when you should become concerned. Besides, if the plane does plummet into the ocean and there are sharks sniffing around while you’re in the water awaiting rescue, you can, you know, sort of… nudge her in their direction so they leave everyone else alone. It is because of God’s will that you’re in this predicament, and for all we know he monkeyed with the engines or fuel line just so he could have this lady for a sunbeam. I’d say we’re on safer moral territory here than we were with the book-burning thing.

        I have a blank diary that has all the days of the year in it and when all the students are asking each other to sign their yearbooks, I break mine out and ask my favorite kids to sign the page that corresponds to their birthday and to write down something I taught them. It is the most important book I own. At the end of my career, i will have 35 years of birthdays and signatures and anecdotes. It makes me happy.

        I can tell. Whenever you talk about your work in your comments, your love for what you do shines through. You posted something a while back in which you mentioned an autistic, very religious student you were fond of and expressed a desire to share a pint or two with him one day. I found it quite moving.

        Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

        Confucius

        • In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

          I wouldn’t have thought so. People who have been prosecuted for illegally downloading music have tried, without success, to offer the defense that what they took is still technically there so they haven’t actually stolen anything. I think the principle here is sort of the same. The nature of the act itself, be it larcenous or vandalous, isn’t altered just because there are plenty of copies remaining; in the second instance, you’re still symbolically destroying ideas rather than confronting them head-on and using your intellect to negate their power. I honestly don’t know

          No, that’s totally wrong. The Intellectual Property laws are completely different for electronic and hard copy books. Many people (including me) think that is a serious flaw in US law and that they should be the same but right now they aren’t. But in any case you absolutely DO have the right to do whatever you want with a book after you purchase it. You can tear it up, deface it, or use it as toilet paper and no one can legally touch you even if it’s the Koran.

          The reason this kid is in trouble is because of the additional rules that his school has defined for how the bible must be treated. Or also possibly the book wasn’t his, but I am absolutely certain in the US a private citizen can do what they want with a hard copy book once they purchase it.

          It’s why the authorities can’t easily prosecute the pastor who burns Korans. He legally has the right to do that. They have to go after him for other reasons, i.e., by doing it so publicly he is (they claim) trying to provoke violence or inciting hate speech. Although hate speech is also one of those things that is difficult to prosecute or make illegal in the US due to the first amendment as well.

          My position is that for once I agree with the absolutist interpretation of the constitution. People should be able to deface flags or books as protest. Note that there is a big difference between saying they have the legal right to do it and thinking it’s a good idea. I definitely think they have and should have the right, I think it’s a poor form of protest, whether you are defacing a US flag, a Koran, or a bible I always think there are more intelligent ways to make your point.

          • In reply to #39 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

            No, that’s totally wrong. The Intellectual Property laws are completely different for electronic and hard copy books. Many people (including me) think that is a serious flaw in US law and that they should be the same but right now they aren’t. But in any case you absolutely DO have the right to do whatever you want with a book after you purchase it. You can tear it up, deface it, or use it as toilet paper and no one can legally touch you even if it’s the Koran.

            Sorry, CC, I was speaking more about the moral problems associated with destroying a book one doesn’t happen to approve of in order to make a political statement.

            We’ve discussed the legal ramifications before, you and I, on a thread concerning the mustachioed muppet, as A4D might call him.

            I ended up linking to this bit of Wikipedianry:

            …The preserving of the integrity of the work bars the work from alteration, distortion, mutilation. Anything else that may detract from the artist’s relationship with the work even after it leaves the artist’s possession or ownership may bring these moral rights into play.

            You responded thusly:

            But all that stuff about defamation, etc. is talking about the work as an abstract entity not about actual physical instances of the work…

            …once you buy an actual physical copy of the book you can do what you like with the actual physical book, at least in US law.

            I’ll once again have to defer to your greater knowledge of copyright law, even though it seemed to me that Wiki was talking about physically harming books. I’ll give you alteration and distortion, but can one intellectually mutilate the contents of a book?

            Edit: I agree completely with this:

            My position is that for once I agree with the absolutist interpretation of the constitution. People should be able to deface flags or books as protest. Note that there is a big difference between saying they have the legal right to do it and thinking it’s a good idea. I definitely think they have and should have the right, I think it’s a poor form of protest, whether you are defacing a US flag, a Koran, or a bible I always think there are more intelligent ways to make your point.

        • Your post is great. I found myself smiling and nodding as i read through it. Your opening paragraph is true and you clearly state it.

          My private book stash is full of Chuck Palaniuk, Salmon Rushdie, Richard Dawkins, and an awesome book called “Apathy and other small victories” that is the funniest thing I have ever read. They are not on the book cart because I do not want to lose them so I have to trust the student will bring it back, so I have to trust the student!

          As for what your art teacher was “sharing”; talk about sinister! HA.

          Your last paragraph was very nice of you. Thank you for the kind words. An update on the autistic boy: He e-mailed me right before his 21st birthday and he and his dad met me at a local pub for a pint (or two). He is at University studying Botany because he sees studying “God’s creation” as his way of worshipping and it gives him purpose and direction. He is a very special kid.

          In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #34 by crookedshoes:

          I agree with you. Book destruction is a crappy thing to do. However, Maybe if you acquire two Bibes (one to keep intact, the other to demonstrate)? Does that mitigate it at all?

          I wouldn’t have thought so. People who have been prosecuted for illegally downloading m…

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