Book burning?
March 26, 2001 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Book burning? Are we doomed to stay in the dark ages forever?
posted by gdavis (24 comments total)
While I don't condone book burning in the least, I would like to point out that this was really more an act of confirmation of faith among the parishioners at this church. They did not ask for the books, CDs, etc. to be banned - they were simply burning possessions from their own lives which they felt were not in keeping with their faith.

I do, however, feel sorry for any children who may have had their books or music taken away from them by overzealous parents in the name of religion. I personally feel that children should not have the choice of religion forced upon them, and really should not even have to make that choice until they fully understand it. I don't know a lot of faiths that truly do this - the ba'hai faith is one that comes to mind. As I understand it, children are not even allowed to fully participate until they reach a certain age and are able to make that cognizant decision of their own free will.

That said, no, the book burning was probably not the best thing to do, but make sure you really read the article first.
posted by starvingartist at 10:46 AM on March 26, 2001

35 people in suburban Pittsburgh burn their own books at a private meeting, and that makes you think we're still in the dark ages?
posted by pixelpony at 10:47 AM on March 26, 2001

People still live in Pittsburgh? We are still in the dark ages.
posted by OneBallJay at 10:59 AM on March 26, 2001

"We believe in the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the First Commandment and Second Commandment."

Amazing...what the hell does the 2nd Amendment have to do with this. This guy is just an asshole.
posted by jpoulos at 11:01 AM on March 26, 2001

The good news they are keeping to themselves. The better news is they are probably not on the web and we shouldn't have a rash of virus that say "Thou shalt not surf for filth" and replace your files with the bible as your operating system.
posted by headlemur at 11:08 AM on March 26, 2001

I think it may just be a figure of speech - you know, parallel between one and two, government and religion, faith and freedom. I think it's awfully brusque to make a snap judgment like that and say the guy's an asshole. And anyway, how do you know that that's the correct quote? Is ABC News more scrupulous about context than any other media source? Jeez, slow down, Tex!
posted by starvingartist at 11:10 AM on March 26, 2001

BTW, I looked up the 10 commandments on Yahoo, and 1 and 2 are the ones about loving no God but the Christian God and not having any graven images before Him, which is what a great deal of this burning thing is really about. That's where the parallel is, I think. They're not infringing on anyone's rights, they're just trying to make their faith fit in with their American lives.
posted by starvingartist at 11:13 AM on March 26, 2001

When I was in eighth grade, our math teacher held a ceremony where we could bring any item that we felt we placed above God in our lives, douse them with gasoline, and watch them burn. (I went to a private school) This was right after a week-long 'crusade' they held in the gym. I didn't go, but a friend told me there were some copies of Michael Jackon's "Thriller," a couple of AD&D texts, and a few Playboys. Looks like these folks are doing something similar and are just getting more publicity. The difference is that they're objecting to the content in the burned items, not to the effect the items have on their relationship with God.

And jpoulos, I think what they're saying is "we believe in freedom in America and the bill of rights, but for our personal lives, the Ten Commandments take precedence."
posted by OneBallJay at 11:34 AM on March 26, 2001

Perhaps if they read a few books that were a little better than Harry Potter, they'd move up the scale a bit.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 12:01 PM on March 26, 2001

i wonder if any kids borrowed playboys from their dads to burn that never quite made it to the gasoline doused stage?

this is the same old "silly weirdo christian conservatives" argument--pops up around here a lot. Definately not a freedom of speech issue, just as long as they leave the library alone.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:02 PM on March 26, 2001

burning books is kind of alarming, it's often a prelude to violence, don't underestimate the effect of this on ppl minds, I cant recall who once said "people burning books often end up burning people", this as been verified many times trough history....
posted by kush at 12:18 PM on March 26, 2001

[From the article]: "We did it in the open so that people would ask why," Bender said, adding that the church has not asked that any of the material they burned be banned from bookstores or libraries, and that even among the congregation there was no pressure to participate.

Sheesh, big whoop. In essence, it was a PR gambit, one that appears to be paying off. They're hardly storming the Library of Congress.
posted by Skot at 12:22 PM on March 26, 2001

I can't understand why this even qualifies as "news" anymore. They aren't advocating some mass censorship, just engaging in some (rather public, granted) behavior that they feel benefits or improves their lives--and frankly, they're using their First Amendment rights (it is free expression). Dark Ages? Hardly. That being said, I also don't understand the need for book/video/CD burnings--it's been done so often and hardly raises an eyebrow. Must've been a slow news day in Pittsburgh.
posted by petra at 2:56 PM on March 26, 2001

I sure wish that someone would have tossed Britney Pears in the fire.
posted by a3matrix at 3:16 PM on March 26, 2001

Amazing...what the hell does the 2nd Amendment have to do with this.

Clearly it's a warning. We're armed, so don't try to stop us! Or more likely, they have the typical American's understanding of the Bill of Rights and thought freedom of speech and religion were somehow separate amendments.
Or maybe they just think fire is a weapon. Ready, Aim, Fire!
posted by willnot at 3:17 PM on March 26, 2001

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:5 & 6 (KJV)

that's my problem with what they're doing.
posted by tolkhan at 4:10 PM on March 26, 2001

In my neck of the woods we use shredders and recycle bins so when we are doing the lord's work we are also protecting His environment.
posted by Postroad at 6:43 PM on March 26, 2001

Perhaps if they read a few books that were a little better than Harry Potter

What? Harry Potter rocks! Elitist! :)
posted by daveadams at 8:51 PM on March 26, 2001

Insane Christians burn TimeWarner content news at 11:00.

Probably see a few more stories like this before the movie comes out.
posted by valintin23 at 9:16 PM on March 26, 2001

Ha ha! Funny mad American Christians!
posted by Mocata at 3:41 AM on March 27, 2001

tolkhan's comment is too limited in context. an integral part of early Christian practice was public preaching (cf many instances in the book of Acts - Peter, Stephen, Paul). public proclamation is part of the package (for Peter and Paul and other alliterative p-words. hit 'preview', then 'post'. :-)

(can a smiley close parentheses?)
posted by Sean Meade at 7:25 AM on March 27, 2001

"We did it in the open so that people would ask why."

they were doing it for attention, which is what i believe Matthew 6:4-6 denounces. it's one thing to proselytize. it's quite another to perform public acts to show others how righteous you are.
posted by tolkhan at 8:51 AM on March 27, 2001

they were doing it for attention, yes. but were they doing it to draw attention to supposed righteousness or to proselytize? i don't think we can tell. and i think the latter could be okay (though i don't like open burning for pollution reasons).
posted by Sean Meade at 9:03 AM on March 27, 2001

going into a bar with pamphlets on the evils of liquor and how Jesus can save you from the bottle would be ok. standing on a street corner or knocking on doors to discuss God with people would be ok (if annoying).

when you proselytize, you're trying to convert.

when you build a bonfire, wanting people to see what you're doing, you're calling for people to see how you're a "Good Christian" (or other faith, as required). it's not about bringing others or yourself closer to God.
posted by tolkhan at 12:27 PM on March 27, 2001

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