Exactly What Atheists Don’t Need to Be Doing

Oi vey. Here’s a textbook example of stupid bullshit that atheists really should not be doing. Some douchebag from Arizona who actually calls himself “Dark Lord” has been arrested after setting a Bible on fire and then peeing on it outside a homeless mission. The arrest is completely unnecessary and wrong but so is this idiotic and juvenile behavior.

A 22-year-old Arizona man calling himself “Dark Lord” has been arrested for allegedly burning a Bible and urinating on it outside a Christian-oriented homeless shelter in northern Arizona, police said on Friday.

Eric Minerault was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center late on Thursday on suspicion of one count of unlawful symbol burning stemming from the incident at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Prescott police spokesman Lieutenant Ken Morley said in a written statement…

He told officers the mission was selected because he believed it was a place of Christian worship and he was “cursing the Christians,” police said.

Asked why, officers reported that he said because he was the “Dark Lord.”

Okay seriously, feel free to go fuck yourself “Dark Lord.” You are the last thing we need.

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  • seraphymcrash

    Well, I think he’s free to urinate and burn his own bible on his own time on his own property. I think it’s a different case when you set things on fire and urinate on them on a public street. That’s reason right there to arrest him.

  • eric

    “Unlawful symbol burning” seems like it should be unconstitutional – i.e., not unlawful because of the first amendment. If this guy fights that charge on first amendment grounds, I hope he wins.

    However it also seems to me you could make a good law that would cover this sort of thing. Make it a misdemeanor to start an open fire on a public street or park area (outside of permitted zones). And if such a law already exists, just charge him for that and forget about any symbolism surrounding what he’s burning.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “…was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center late on Thursday on suspicion of one count of unlawful symbol burning…”

    Wait, was he burning a symbol unlawfully, or was the symbol he was burning unlawful?

  • http://www.electricminstrel.com Brett McCoy

    What the hell? Outside of a homeless mission? I hope this guy isn’t calling himself an atheist if he believes this kind of thing is placing a curse on Christians. How about you go and start your own homeless kitchen, Eric Minerault, if you want to do something that actually helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1360322113 aaronbaker

    It may have risen (or sunk) to the level of disorderly conduct, so arrest on that ground might have been warranted–but “unlawful symbol burning.” First Amendment, anybody?

    Sweet Jesus, though, what a schmuck!

  • raven

    Quick, get out the excuses card!!!

    1. You can’t prove he was a real xian.

    2. Atheists do it too.

    3. He wasn’t a real xian. (The all time favorite one.)

    Just replace xian with atheist and vice versa.

    Yeah, it was juvenile and pointless. Urinating on the bible was the worst. Anyone over the age of 2 knows you urinate in private in a rest room. In most jurisdictions, public elimination of bodily wastes is a minor crime.

    Although really he sounds like an anti-xian or satanist rather than an atheist. Atheists don’t believe in Dark Powers or the power of curses (“cursing the Christians,” ).

  • John Pieret

    “Unlawful symbol burning”? WTF is that? Burning something on other peoples’ property, yeah that is probably criminal. Urinating in public and/or indecent exposure, sure. Did Arizona or some local jurisdiction really pass a law distinguishing between lawful and unlawful symbol burning? If so, I wonder if they got it right and avoided violating the Constitution.

  • D. C. Sessions

    And people wonder why I’m leaving Arizona after more than sixty years here.

  • lldayo

    I see no where in the article that refers to him as an atheist. There is this:

    Asked why, officers reported that he said because he was the “Dark Lord.” Minerault was clad in black and was wearing a black-and-red robe and a pentagram necklace.

    That seems to indicate a Satanist.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    A 22-year-old Arizona man …

    How did somebody so young fall victim to the arcane revelations of Howard the Duck?

  • Artor

    I don’t think this guy is an atheist, unless he’s identified himself as such. We don’t have many Dark Lords, unless you want to count PZ Myers. He sounds like an anti-theist, or rather, an ex-Xian who is upset at the psychological mess his upbringing has wrought, but hasn’t yet let go of the church.

  • Michael Heath

    “Dark Lord” seems to have missed the point about atheism from at least three perspectives. Does this behavior occur enough to make my post here a, “no true Scotsman”, fallacy?

  • Mr Ed

    13-1708. Unlawful symbol burning; classification

    A. It is unlawful for a person to burn or cause to be burned any symbol not addressed by section 13-1707 on the property of another person without that person’s permission or on a highway or any other public place with the intent to intimidate any person or group of persons. The intent to intimidate may not be inferred solely from the act of burning the symbol, but shall be proven by independent evidence.

    B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

    Section 13-1707 deals with cross burning. Sounds like this just includes other symbols. Sounds like it is intended to stop hate speech or intimidation.

  • Michael Heath

    I now see from other comment posts that Ed’s post is factually incorrect. So, not a, “no true Scotsman”, fallacy.

  • drken

    Unlawful symbol burning? Are setting fires and urinating in public not illegal in Arizona?

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    I don’t think this guy is an atheist, unless he’s identified himself as such.

    I don’t think the self-identification would matter. Words have meaning. If he truly believes he can generate a supernatural curse–that would violate my working definition of an atheist. Maybe others disagree–maybe there are atheists who deny a deity but accept the existence of other supernatural beings and powers–but to me, for such a person atheist is not the right term.

  • sugarfrosted

    @13 that’s what I had assumed.

  • abb3w

    Statute in question appears to be here. Proving “intent to intimidate” may be a bit of a hurdle; this looks more “intent to piss off”.

    That said, this idiot’s shenanigans do not seem a helpful sort.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m surprised indecent exposure wasn’t included in the charges, unless he was able to pee on it without exposing his penis?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    How else was he supposed to put it out, Mister Smartypants?

  • Who Cares

    He can be an atheist. The definition does not exclude a belief in magic. He isn’t a skeptic though.

    The gear he was wearing doesn’t indicate a satanic per se, the pentagram has been a potent magic symbol since the middle ages (ironically due to a connection with the christian faith). The satanists version would be an inverted version.

    Same thing about symbolism can be said about the clothing, black and (dark) red being associated with pain, death, wounds and other such phenomena which should empower the curse (if there was such a thing as magic that is).

    And again symbolism by burning what is an item of power for the people you want to curse.

    Just leaves me wondering what kind of curse he wanted to levy against them, incontinence?

  • Kevin Kehres

    Well, here’s hoping there’s a psych eval in his immediate future.

  • Chiroptera

    …a Christian-oriented homeless shelter….

    Good thing he’s an atheist. If he were one of today’s US conservative Christians, he would have set fire to and urinated on a homeless person.

  • Taz

    Why are people assuming this guy is an atheist? Neither “curses” nor “dark lord” seems to indicate that.

  • John Pieret

    Mr. Ed @ 13:

    on the property of another person without that person’s permission or on a highway or any other public place with the intent to intimidate any person or group of persons. The intent to intimidate may not be inferred solely from the act of burning the symbol, but shall be proven by independent evidence.

    Outlawing burning something on someone else’s property without permission is clearly constitutional. Not allowing the burning of a symbol in a public place is veering toward the line but requiring separate evidence of an intent to intimidate helps. But there could be constitutional problems in cases around the edges and, of course, abuse of the law by local officials.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Chiroptera, that’s why it’s only illegal to do that to a symbol — homeless losers are fair game.

  • tomh


    You are the last thing we need.

    This is rather puzzling. Is there a list of things “we” need? And what do we need them for? To make Christians like us? Who cares? As for the gentleman who was arrested, some people like to burn flags, some burn Bibles. Personally, I’m in favor of both. If he broke laws, he’s probably prepared to face the consequences. But to sneer at him because he’s somehow making “us” look bad seems a bit pretentious.

  • busterggi

    From his description the “Dark Lord” isn’t an atheist. Probably a Roman Catholic or some other non-Protestant heretic.

  • Kevin Kehres

    People…think “burning cross on a n*****’s lawn.”

    That’s why it’s illegal.

  • Loqi

    Interestingly, this guy seems to fit the fundamentalist trope of atheists believing in god but being angry at him. Hence the belief in curses and that inverting or destroying Christian symbols has some supernatural power.

    WTF is with doing this outside a homeless shelter? There are plenty of Christian groups out there doing harm; leave the ones doing good the fuck alone.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    I suspect that this guy is an “atheist” simply because he’s out to piss people off and that’s “edgy” and “different” now. Sadly, there are quite a few people out there who feel that way. FtB has seen the fallout of that kind of attitude before.

  • A Masked Avenger



    I haven’t looked into it, just to keep it fair: I’m betting this is their attempt to do an end-run around the unconstitutionality of laws against flag-burning. “On private property without permission” and “on public property with intent to harass,” covers pretty much everything except your own front yard.

  • sugarfrosted

    @32, You seem to have misread. It’s to intimidate, not to harass.

  • sugarfrosted
  • sugarfrosted

    The Supreme court also says the ban is constitutional: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_v._Black

    (sorry for the triple post).

  • jamessweet

    Yeah, like sugarfrosted said, I’m pretty sure the “unlawful symbol burning” is an attempt to make it illegal for the Klan to burn crosses out in front of people’s houses.

    My knee-jerk reaction to “unlawful symbol burning” was to be similarly troubled, but it may actually make some sense now that I think about it, depending on how narrowly tailored the law is. And if I’m right, this is exactly the kind of case where it ought to apply:

    It’s already illegal (and pretty much everybody thinks it should be) to accost someone and make a credible threat of violence against them. You can’t walk up to someone on the street, and say “I’m gonna stab you in the face if you don’t get outta this neighborhood,” and then later claim First Amendment protection.

    But what if, by long cultural tradition, it’s been established that taking one’s hat off and putting it back on upside-down is a warning to somebody to get outta this neighborhood, lest they get stabbed in the face? Now you can threaten people all day long, and say, “Hey, how I choose to wear my clothes is protected by the First Amendment!” That would be a problem.

    I would say that, particularly in the absence of any coherent political message, standing outside a Christian homeless shelter and pissing on and burning a Bible pretty clearly constitutes an implied threat. It’s probably right and good that there is a statute that allows someone to be prosecuted for that kind of behavior.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Arresting this guy for public urination and/or fire-hazard makes perfect sense — but “unlawful symbol burning?” That’s bullshit, and surely unconstitutional, as eric said.

    Also, does the article even mention atheism? Calling yourself a “dark lord” doesn’t make you an atheist — atheists don’t even believe in “dark lords,” let alone call themselves that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    Dark Lord is an Atheist monicker? Sounds religious to me…

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Meh, the guy’s 22, cut him some slack. Prescott can be a pretty conservative part of Az, and depending on whether he’s a local, or a transplant, he may have had a reason (not necessarily good, by most standards) to do what he did. Or he might have just been doing it for the shock value. Frankly, burning a bible and peeing on it is less offensive than many anti-choice protests and what the Phelps gang does.