American Atheists’ Pennsylvania State Director Will Desecrate the Koran if ‘Year of Religious Diversity’ Resolution Isn’t Dropped

***Update 3***: American Atheists’ President Dave Silverman issued this statement to me:

AA will not take part in Bible or Koran desecration, although we wish to stress that we have NO respect for so-called ‘holy books’. If Ernest does it, it’s not with our support or under our name.

Well, shit.

You all know how the Pennsylvania House of Representatives declared 2012 to be the “Year of the Bible” (as opposed to all the other years…?)

That was later followed up by the House declaring 2012 the “Year of Religious Diversity.” It was Resolution No. 771 (PDF). Among other things, it says “… these revered books impart great wisdom and beauty to believers and are appreciated and respected by nonbelievers as well.”

Ernest Perce V, the American Atheists Pennsylvania State Director, doesn’t respect those books and he says that if the House doesn’t vote against that latter resolution when it goes back in session in September, he’ll retaliate by… picking on the Islamic holy book:

… he plans to whip, or flog, the Koran in the [Capitol] rotunda at noon on Sept. 24 should the House not agree to nullify the resolution before it reconvenes from summer recess that day.

Jesus H. Christ. How is that a productive way to handle the situation?

Vowing to vote out all the House memberswho supported the resolution? Productive.

Making it known that holy books say a lot of awful things? Possibly productive, though that could backfire.

Desecrating one particular religion’s sacred text? Unproductive… with the added bonus of pissing everybody off.

(For what it’s worth, whipping the Bible wouldn’t be productive, either.)

Perce said he plans to thrash the Koran witha nine-tail whip 85 times and a single whip six times to protest the resolution’s number.

“I am a nonbeliever and for (the House) to assume we respect these books is [asinine],” Perce, a Harrisburg resident, said. “I will let other atheists come with me (to protest). I want Christians to lash the Koran, too.”

If any of you attend that protest, I will personally flog you. (And not in a fun way.)

Here’s the thing: Ernest chose to do this by himself. It’s not like a bunch of atheists voted to say, “Yeah! Let’s flog the Koran! That’ll show everyone!” This is all him. So it’s not like we could stop him from doing what he wants. Furthermore, desecrating a book, symbolic as it is, isn’t a crime. But why on earth would anyone want to go the same route as crazy pastor Terry Jones?

Ernest, as you might recall, has a history of going after Islam:

Just to be clear, there’s plenty of problems with Islam and atheists should address them head on. My issue is that this particular form of activism won’t prove anything to anyone. You’re not enlightening minds. You’re not educating people on what the books say. You’re just trying to make people angry.

American Atheists should not stand for this. Ernest is doing this in his capacity as a State Director. My initial reaction is that Dave Silverman needs to issue some sort of press release saying that AA does not support this method of retaliation and that Ernest is going rogue. If Ernest doesn’t back down, they need to revoke his title.

I’ve asked both men for a response and I’ll provide updates when I hear from them.

***Edit***: This post has been edited for clarity since it initially went up.

***Update 1***: Dave Silverman tells me that he has not given any “ok” to do this under the AA banner. He’s surprised to see this in the press.

***Update 2***: Dave and I spoke about alternative ways to protest this Resolution. I offered a few ideas. He’ll be making some sort of statement soon.

(Thanks to Justin for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.bricewgilbert.blogspot.com Brice Gilbert

    lol what weird and stupid way to respond.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Way to be a dick and I hope they do revoke his title.

  • dearestlouise

    How very strange.

  • scinquiry

    Wow!  This guy is a disgrace to our community.  In that past few years, he has done more harm to our image than any one public representative.  We put all of this effort into gaining acceptance in the public sphere by doing our best to represent ourselves as compassionate, reasonable individuals and he continually tarnishes this image with his vile antics.

    It is because of him (with a few poorly thought out retorts from Silverman himself) that I stopped following AA on my social media accounts.  When are we going to move on from the rhetoric of outright ridicule?  While I won’t go as far as saying some members of our community have become the exact people we revile for their arrogant and close minded fundamentalism, Perce, and those like him are quickly approaching this.

    Frankly, I’m tired of the perpetual feed of news stories about how terrible the fundamentalists are pushing their way of life on us.  Of course there are problems, and we must point them out.  But the way to do this is through charity, compassion and reason.  Volunteer to feed the hungry, help the homeless, read to the elderly, support a secular political campaign or any other charity that you desire.  By acting and doing as opposed to saying will we change the hearts and minds of the public. 

    • Lacourt

      I agree with scinquiry. We should focus on improving our public image. I would add one more thing though.

      We should support the efforts of “Americans United for separation of church and state” and “Freedom From Religion Foundation”. They are using the courts to achieve a goal that would benefit both atheists and moderate religionists. 

      Also we need to be promoting the teaching of science in our schools. 

  • edgar ayala

    I thought that sort of thing was something WBC would do. I recognize his right to do that, I just wouldn’t want to be associated with his actions.

  • Alan Williamson

    It is not hard to think of a better response to this issue.

  • Dan

    Perce’s statement about flogging the Koran reads like something from an Onion article or a Monty Python skit. Aside from the fact that destroying books isn’t really something I think most atheists are comfortable with, the whole idea is just so idiotically humorous. How would any person think this was a good way to be taken seriously?

  • http://twitter.com/EricJWorkman Eric J Workman

    I like pissing people off who deserved to be pissed off.  That being written, there are several ways to go about doing so.  Using facts and logical reasoning is one way to accomplish such a goal, but this does not drive home (well enough) the point that whatever their (religious persons) sky fairy allegedly had authored is of no value to the enlightened.  Demonstrating that some ‘holy’ text is not sacrosanct to everyone helps show that elevating such a text to a higher status (for everyone, by way of the government) is inappropriate.  I’m siding with Mr. Perce on this one, and I hope he includes a bible in his demonstration as well.  WWDD – I think Dawkins would side with Mr. Perce, too.

    • Nick Sabot

      I disagree, I don’t think Dawkins would side with Perce, not that it matters.  This isn’t productive.  At best it’s going to make atheists seem like lunatics, at worst people are going to be injured or die.  How does this accomplish anything?

      • The Other Weirdo

         Unfortunately, we’re not Gandhi dealing with the British. They were tired of centuries of imperialism and were grateful for any reason to pull out. We’re dealing with people who are not shy about  setting the world on fire for the most ludicrous reasons. If you think touchy-feely mamby-pamby tactics are going to get the job done, you’re wrong.

        You’ve got billions of people around the world blithely convinced  that their particular brand of madness, as encapsulated in a particular book, is the most important thing EVAR, and they all throw vicious temper tantrums whenever someone, even from outside the faith, tampers with it.

        They must be made to see that other people are not obligated to hold their views and books with any sort of reverence, that their books, and by extension, their beliefs, will be mocked(sometimes cruelly) whenever they depart from reality.

        These people have already shown a willingness to kill anyone for any reason(Rushdie, that filmmaker) and to go after other people’s kids(that cartoonist). They already feel empowered to kill at any time, and you propose we just shut up about the whole thing? And over what? 1 physical book out of millions printed?

        I don’t necessarily agree with this guy, but only in so far as his plan includes only 1 book. He should do it to every holy book he can find and buys.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

       Seriously?  What Would Dawkins Do?

      Seems that theists are partly right when they say that Dawkins is the “atheist pope.”  I hope you learn to think for yourself instead of deffering to the opinion of authorities.

  • http://twitter.com/uzh77 Steve Barry

    I’m never one to argue for “tone” and that holds here. The Koran contains as much truth and is as revered to me as the Twilight books. i.e. none. However, I ask what is the broader point to this action? What is the goal? If it is to bring attention to the matter it can done without mimicking the barbarism of religion and in turn making AA and atheists in general seem like sensationalist hacks. 

    • The Other Weirdo

      Mimicking the barbarism of religion. Hmm… He makes a point–whatever the point is–by flogging a book. Indonesia makes a point by arresting a man who was beaten by a mob and throwing him in jail for 30 months for being an out-atheist. I don’t get it. What’s being mimicked, exactly?

  • ErinGoPenguin

    Sorry but I disagree. Religion doesn’t get a pass. Politics, nationalism, other isms get roundly dissed, discussed, debated, etc, with no problem but for some reason, religion is supposed to be off limits. We’re taught that we ought to “respect” it. We’re taught that no matter how crazy the belief (talking snakes, magic underwear, unicorns, dragons, fairies, elves, etc) is that the person holds, we must treat it with TLC and/or approach it tenderly when discussing it.

    I disagree. I hold no respect for belief in magic sky daddies (or mommies or elephants or whatever). While I respect a person’s right to hold those beliefs, I do not respect the intellect of those who do. Nor frankly, do I think I should.

    Is this designed to make believers angry? More than likely so. But it’s also designed to give a voice for the frustration, disgust and anger WE have for those of us who do not hold such delusional beliefs.

    • Edmond

      It just seems that there are BETTER voices for frustration, disgust and anger, than this.  We also want our voices to be EFFECTIVE, and this will not be.  It will close people off from listening.

      We don’t have to hold respect for magic or fairy tales, but we SHOULD still hold onto respect for public decorum, and for the processes of civility that allow us to reach the people that we’re trying to reach.  There’s just NO WAY this is going to do that.

      He’s RIGHT to be frustrated, disgusted and angry; we ALL are.  But this will only make the opposition double down. 

      I think we’re making terrific progress in removing the “off-limits” label from religion, and getting it included into discussions with the other isms.  But we need to stick with the dissing, discussing and debating.  You don’t make progress with a brutal, dramatic display like this.  You just make more enemies.

      • scinquiry

         Bingo!

      • Sindigo

        Well said.

    • Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Can we whip some of these atheist pacifists behinds too?

      • Wintermute472002

         Yeah, if there’s anything that proves the righteousness of your cause, it’s beating people who don’t agree with you!

        After you finish flogging a book, that is.

    • stop2wonder

      Burning, or in this case, destroying books, is one of the worst forms of censorship.   It’s a direct attack on the freedom of press and religion, also attack an history and diversity.  It makes me sick.    I can’t, and won’t, get on board with any protest that involves destroying books. 

      • NickDB

         ^This x 100000000000000000000000000000000000 it’s not entirely rational, although I could give rational arguments for it. But to me burning books is just not done.

      • Georgina

        Books are regularly destroyed – old library books, damaged/unsold new publications.

        It is only when ALL copies of a book are eradicated – regardless of ownership and against the will of the owners – that it becomes a crime.

        Burning paper is still better than burning people.
         

        • Kodie

           Symbolic destruction of one copy of one book isn’t the same as efficiently reducing overstock. Flags are supposed to be burned as well when they are damaged, it’s not the same as a symbolic statement made when burning a flag – neither whipping one book or burning one flag symbolically destroys the information or the values symbolized by the people who revere the book or the flag or the information or the country.

          I’m not that sentimental about it, but apparently people are and that’s one reason to do it. If people think it makes atheists look like crazy people, not such a fan of it then, but I don’t know why people are so emotional about it, no matter what copy of what book it is. Especially when other copies of it exist, the point is wholly symbolic and not destructive of the book itself, just one physical copy. If in doing so, he destroys something else unintentionally, like the reputation of his organization or atheists in general, he probably wouldn’t want to do that, but the reaction to it from either side is why I still can’t understand people. He’s being violent at a book, why do people get upset for the book?

          If you all think we have to use our civilized words and stuff to get change, then why hasn’t anyone proposed to get this “Year of the Bible” nonsense taken out with all our civilized words so the guy doesn’t have to follow through on his threat to whip a book?

  • PA_Year_of_the_Bible

    The new resolution has not passed yet.  It is in the House State Government Committee.  Whether it will see the light of day is an open question.

  • http://twitter.com/EllenBethWachs EllenBeth Wachs

    Why call for his head on a platter? Isn’t that exactly what happened to another leader recently in response to an incident that wasn’t well received?

    Wouldn’t it be enough for Dave to simply issue the press release disavowing this event?  Or is it that you want Ernest punished?

    How is this different than PZ nailing the communion wafer?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Yes, it would be enough for Dave to issue a statement disavowing this event, which he has done. If Ernest is acting on his own, I don’t approve of it, but he has the right to do it.

      I think PZ made a very good point with the wafer. That message is completely lost in this particular case.

      • http://twitter.com/EllenBethWachs EllenBeth Wachs

        I don’t know that I would have whipped the koran to make my point but I do believe it is to show  lack of reverence of the holy book. I think that comes across quite blatantly whether we agree with the tactic or not.

    • Martin Wagner

      Well, for one thing, PZ’s host nailing was something he did in the privacy of his own home, for the readers of his blog.

      • http://twitter.com/EllenBethWachs EllenBeth Wachs

         Okay, and it got worldwide attention and outrage, didn’t it?  So if Ernest flogs the koran in the privacy of his own home and then blogs about it you are down with that?

    • http://twitter.com/geekexile Brian Fields

       I think the members of American Atheists have a right to be concerned here.  Regardless of the tone argument (And I do think this is an inappropriate way to express displeasure over the resolution), the simple fact is that an organization cannot function if directors of that organization use their title to go “off-message” and claim the full support of the organization before that support exists.

      Even if Dave disavows this event itself, it’s going to become increasingly hard to do so if Ernest keeps doing things like this (And this isn’t the first time he’s gone off-message while using an organization’s name).

      • http://twitter.com/geekexile Brian Fields

        deleted for brevity

      • http://twitter.com/EllenBethWachs EllenBeth Wachs

         I have never said we don’t have the right to criticize him.  I have given him my opinion on this as well. 

        How do you know he used the organization’s name? I think we are well aware of the fact that the press doesn’t always get things right. I am exhibit “A” for that proposition.

        • http://twitter.com/geekexile Brian Fields

           Because I personally know that Ernest uses the organization’s name on nearly every communication.

          Given the blatant and obvious lines of connection in the article, it’s entirely consistent with his personality for me.

    • Gus Snarp

      The Wafer is a Christian symbol, and Christians, as you well know, are a powerful supermajority in the country, while Muslims are a minority often subjected to discrimination that has nothing to do with reason versus religion. PZ also destroyed symbols of Islan and atheism to make the larger point that objects should not be valued over people. Perce is protesting a statement of religious diversity by destroying the holy book of the most hated religion in America, instead of any of the other holy books covered, instead of the Bible, instead of destroying a Bible in response to the original Year of the Bible resolution.

  • Persephonek

    If hid goal is to have a fatwa issued against him he’ll probably succeed. This kind of stuff usually results more in banding the religious together and getting the semi religious to sympathize. There are far better ways to make statements.

  • http://freelance-thinker.com/ Freelance Thinker

    I have to side with those that find this completely unproductive (not to mention damaging in the PR sense). Does he have the right? Of course he does. However, it hardly does any good if our objective is to increase reason in society. Let’s say (for the sake of argument) that such actions do encourage people to drop their adulation for religion or religious texts. We must ask by what factor(s) this is achieved: via understanding reason and logic, or by the effects of ridicule and pressure? The latter do not result in more reasonable people—just those that give into peer pressure.

    That point is somewhat moot anyway, since I highly doubt such actions will have the desired effect. It will just entrench people deeper into their beliefs . . . .

    • Kodie

       I don’t think it’s reasonable to destroy a book or react to the destruction of a book the way people do. The reason for the destruction becomes the emotional reaction. However, if the reaction is not the one intended by the people it intends to drive to such a reaction, then it was ineffective and should probably not be done, not because it’s wrong to destroy a book but because the wrong people take it the wrong way, and to target the right emotions in the right people, to react in the way intended, one has to think of a different way to get the message across.

      Reason and logic – you are supposing everyone reacts with reason and logic. When so many of the wrong people and the right people think the guy is a monster to suggest any such thing, you are dealing with emotion, not reason and logic.

  • Jasmyn

    Last time one of their absurd books was desecrated, people were murdered. I don’t respect their religion, but I don’t see the point in flogging a book that’s unrelatedto the offensive event. This guy is acting like a tool.

    • stojadinovicp

       Yes! Great logic, blame the people who destroyed some paper and thus JUSTIFY the morons who murdered people because of that! AWESOME!

      Seriously? Do you THINK? Ever?

      • Jasmyn

        I’m not justifying them. I was completely appalled that people were killed over an accident. Even if desecrating the book was intentional it would have been a disgusting act. My point is that this guy is well aware of what happened a few months ago and is intentionally not just endangering his own life, but potentially the lives of others to make a point that no one even seems to get. There are productive ways to protest something but throwing a fit and wailing on a book isn’t the best idea. If it’s the year of the bible, why isn’t he attacking that? It’s as though he wants to bring online trolling to the real world.

        • stojadinovicp

          “why isn’t he doing this or that” is a red herring… thanks…

          And yet again you are justifying them by complaining about him and only mentioning them as an expected consequence! Seriously???

          Whatever he is doing to a book IS IRRELEVANT as long as the morons are killing people over it!

          Once we get rid of the MORONS who are willing to KILL for a piece of freaking paper then and only then should anyone complain about him destroying a book.

          But GUESS WHAT, if we didn’t have morons willing to kill over such a thing we would:
          a) NOT have anyone do that to a book because it would be meaningless
          b) NOT have people like you complain about it AT ALL because, again, it would be meaningless

          Therefore, however you look at it, the cause of a problem is NOT him destroying a book but the MORONS who are willing to KILL over it.

          So, PLEASE, stop attacking someone who is NOT doing anything wrong and start criticizing those that ARE.

          It IS that simple!

          • 3lemenope

            I think you have that exactly backwards. So long as people are willing to kill over a book, it is very relevant what one does to that book. If a consequence is predictable, the person acting becomes partly responsible for it. If I, for example, put a gun in a friend’s hand and tell them their spouse is cheating on them, am I not partially responsible for what transpires when the spouse is confronted?

            Being held hostage by the idiocy of others is an unpleasant circumstance, I agree. But it doesn’t mean that because there are idiots willing to kill that the person who does something provocative and stupid at them has clean hands, in view of his or her knowledge of how the idiots will almost certainly react. Especially since that reaction most often is visited upon theretofore uninvolved third parties.

            • stojadinovicp

               ”So long as people are willing to kill over a book, it is very relevant what one does to that book.” – WHAT?

              I am willing to kill you if you open this page ever again. Will you open it?

              Hell, I am willing to kill you if you use any computer, tablet or cellphone ever again. Will you use them?

              “If a consequence is predictable, the person acting becomes partly responsible for it.” – WOW!!! Just WOW! There are simply no words anymore other than WOW!!! This is not even wrong: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

              I have nothing more to say to you. I honestly don’t. Read the link and try to learn something. That’s all one can say anymore…

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                I’m not sure why you seem to think this is a black and white argument. There are lots of different opinions floating around here, with many people agreeing that whipping the Koran is a bad idea. So what makes your opinion so completely right and everyone else so blatantly wrong?
                It’s not like anyone’s saying that the murderer is 75% accountable and Perce is 25% accountable. It’s not like we’re saying he should be tried for murder if anyone is killed. The murderer is completely responsible for their actions, yes. That doesn’t mean that no one else acted foolishly. Knowledge is a powerful thing. You have the knowledge that there are crazy people out there who are willing to kill you, your family, or people of your group if you go out of your way to offend them. So why would you go out of your way to offend them, knowing that you or others could be hurt?
                Of course the murderer is responsible if they get angry and kill someone. Does that mean it’s okay to purposely get them angry, knowing that they’ll try to kill someone?

                Btw, just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t make everything they say completely ridiculous. 3lemenope’s statement made sense whether you agree with it or not. You’re obviously the one who has trouble arguing in a calm, coherent manner.

                • stojadinovicp

                  Unbelievable…  i don’t “think” it is, it simply IS. I am not responsible for what other people DO, regardless of their threats! They and they alone CHOOSE to do something and they and they alone are responsible for it.

                  As for different opinions, I’m so sick of that pathetic cop-out! I don’t care about opinions, I care about facts. And the fact of the matter IS that I have the right to do whatever the hell I want to to a book that I bought! It is MY property and no one elses.End of story! And no one has the right to throw a fit over what I do with MY property!

                  Is that so difficult a concept to understand???

                  So when a MORON threatens to do something bad because of what some man does with HIS property you people attack the man instead of the moron and moron alone!

                  Unbelievable!

                  “Does that mean it’s okay to purposely get them angry” – YES it does! Because they must learn to live in a civilized society or suffer the consequences of endangering other peoples basic rights!

                  However, the point that you are avoiding is that no one is doing anything to criticize or penalize the morons but all of you are crucifying the man who is not doing anything wrong! Because, whether someone likes it or not, destroying a book you bought is NOT wrong.

                  And again with the pathetic red herring and crap about “disagreeing”! I don’t have a problem with disagreeing but with logical fallacies and nonsensical claims.

                  And as for the “calm, coherent manner” go fuck yourself. Is that calm enough for you? Stay on topic if you can and leave your opinion about my calmness to yourself.

                • OverlappingMagisteria

                   ”no one is doing anything to criticize or penalize the morons but all of
                  you are crucifying the man who is not doing anything wrong!”

                  You’re right. Matt Parker and Trey Stone were criticized and arrested while Jesse Curtis Morton, they guy who threatened them, was ignored.

                  Or was it the other way around…

                  http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/22/south-park-extremist-sentenced

                • Mini

                  Cherry picking, are we?

                  Please tell me how the people who killed an threatened to kill over Rushdies book or Muhammad cartoons were also arrested? And many other examples.

                • OverlappingMagisteria

                   Point taken.

                  Though a lot of the worst violence in those cases is in the Middle East and I agree that they are FAR too lax against the extremists. In the states, not so much.

                • OverlappingMagisteria

                   …though stojadinovicp’s statement was that “no one is doing anything.”  So strictly speaking, one counter example invalidates his hyperbole.Gosh this thread is making me claustrophobic.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  Do you think that right and wrong are absolutes? I don’t. I think there’s quite a gray scale. Destroying your property is not wrong. Killing is wrong. Destroying your property when you know it could anger someone enough to kill is not as wrong as killing the person, but you’re definitely not blameless. When you know other people can get hurt, you cannot make a decision like that lightly.
                  Do you really think everyone here is totally okay with the crazy people that might go out and kill over this? Well we’re not. The reason less discussion is focused on them is that we already know they’re crazy. We know we can’t rationalize with them and say, hey, just be nice you guys. But we can potentially rationalize with the sane person to not provoke the crazy people.
                  And obviously you do have problems with disagreements. You got very angry very fast because people have opinions other than yours. Oh, but that’s alright because your opinions are fact, but other people’s opinions aren’t. The cap locks help with that, I’m sure.

                • stojadinovicp

                  Capitalizing one or two words is not caps lock. It is a replacement for bold. Caps lock would be a whole sentence or a better part of a sentence.

                  You keep making the same mistake over and over again by saying “when you know” because you can not know. You can never KNOW (emphasis) that someone will actually do something just because they said it. But I digress. I explained it below, so it would be rather stupid to repeat it here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/16/american-atheists-pennsylvania-state-director-will-desecrate-the-koran-if-year-of-the-bible-resolution-isnt-dropped/#comment-590428663

                • 3lemenope

                  Perhaps the world is more complicated than you think it is. If that idea troubles you so much that you need to resort to copious exclamation points, randomly cap-screamed words, and insults, then perhaps that indicates something about your beliefs regarding the actual strength of your underlying argument. 

                  This isn’t the first time I’ve argued this point, with people who were much better at making your argument than you seem to be. I wasn’t convinced then either, though at least they gave me some food for thought. If you expect to be taken seriously, you should take a page from them.

                • stojadinovicp

                  It’s actually sad that you discussed it before and still don’t get it.

                  Perhaps that indicates  that i have more faith in humans being logical and being disappointed has a bad affect on me. Something I definitely need to work on, however still irrelevant to the fact that you are wrong.

                  I also find it interesting that you didn’t answer my simple question, the one that basically proves you wrong. I will no repeat it again: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/16/american-atheists-pennsylvania-state-director-will-desecrate-the-koran-if-year-of-the-bible-resolution-isnt-dropped/#comment-590428663

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  We don’t live on the internet…It’s not interesting at all that he hasn’t answered your question yet. It just means he’s been doing other things.

                • stojadinovicp

                  he took the time to answer the one after that, i wouldexpecta chronological approach…

                • 3lemenope

                  Your expectations don’t seem to match reality very often.

                • stojadinovicp

                  Yes. Funny how expecting people to actually be able to think disappoints me every time.

                  You wanna play this game forever or do you wanna try to make an actual argument for a change?

        • Renshia

           “My point is that this guy is well aware of what happened a few months
          ago and is intentionally not just endangering his own life, but
          potentially the lives of others to make a point that no one even seems
          to get. “

          This is the exact reason, this is the right thing to do. We should not have to cower in fear to the crazies, because their crazy. We need to desecrate this crap, because we need to show them we will stand for our rights and not cower in fear because of threats and intimidation.

          It may not be the politically correct way, but one good way to stop a bully is to stand up to them and kick their ass if necessary.  If you want to be bullied, if you want to cower in fear, that’s your right. But we don’t all have to and that’s our right.

          They may not all get it, but some do, and the few, are worth it.

          We have to work at bringing people to reality. We can’t just toddle along thinking everything will work itself out.  Are fucking planet is dying and the main cause is peoples choice to deny reality. We can’t afford to stand around and watch the majority of our population wallow in delusional thinking. This isn’t about just a book, it’s about survival of the human race.

          There is a much bigger picture here than just a stupid book, and a few pissed people.

  • Octoberfurst

      When I first read this article I thought, you’ve got to be kidding me!  Atheists have a hard enough time in this society so it doesn’t help when someone like Ernest Perce does something as stupid and childish as this.  Whipping the Koran in public? Seriously? It makes atheists look like wild-eyed loons.
       Don’t get me wrong–I am all for pointing out the illogic and foolishness in the Koran. But I just think we should do it in a civilized adult manner. Whipping a Koran in public at the State capital just makes us look like crazy a–holes.
       If Perce does this stunt I think he should step down as President of the Pa chapter of American Atheists.  He obviously has a lack of common sense and will only be hurting the Pa chapter.  

    • Guestlista

       Yup. Like PZ Myers should step down from FTB for doing similar but less elaborate things to a Koran…

      • Gus Snarp

        Let’s at least be clear about the obvious differences. First, PZ was not acting as an agent of any organization when he “desecrated” the Koran. FTB did not even exist when he did it, it was formed afterwards with full knowledge of all participants that PZ had performed that act as an individual in the past, while Perce attached the American Atheists name to his action, without consulting anyone, making it look like American Atheists endorsed this. He has a history of doing that.

        PZ also “desecrated” more than a Koran, and did not make the Koran the centerpiece of his action. The centerpiece of his action was actually the communion wafer, a sacred symbol for Catholics and other Christians, the very powerful majority in America, rather than a minority. In addition he destroyed The God Delusion as well. He was very clearly making the point that NONE of these things are sacred, they are all just objects. Perce seems to have singled out the Koran when he could just as well have chosen the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Book of Mormon. Or even all of the above. Indeed, the Bible makes the most sense as a single book since Judaism, Christianity, and Islam pretty much all agree on it up through the story of Abraham. But Perce singled out a minority group’s holy text for abuse. He has a history of singling out Islam as well.

        Finally, I always like to point out one very important reason PZ destroyed the cracker and the associated texts: there was a young college kid who kept a wafer just for kicks, not knowing the shitstorm it would provoke. That kid was getting death threats, punishment by his school, and media scrutiny he was utterly unprepared for and not expecting. By going a step further PZ, a man quite used to Christian death threats and controversy, took the heat off of that kid.

        There’s absolutely no comparison between what PZ did as an act of sacrifice to help a young man in trouble and to ridicule religion in general, and what Perce routinely does to single out and antagonize Muslims.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Agreed. It seems to me like Perce is doing this as a threat to the House, as in, if you don’t do what I want, I will insight the wrath of crazy people!
          Otherwise it doesn’t make sense. If you don’t drop this Year of the Bible thing, I’ll whip a different holy book that you don’t care about.

          Either way, it’s a really stupid point to make. I’d be more in support of this if it was someone in a Muslim country protesting the horrors of Islam. But he’s making a really stupid point in a very dangerous way. Not cool.

        • The Other Weirdo

           Technically speaking, they’re only a minority group in the US. In many parts of the world they’re the overwhelming majority and, oddly enough, given the pictures that I see, they’ve all got satellite dishes that pickup CNN.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    Hey, Ern… Thanks for kicking a hornets’ nest. Like it was easy being an open athiest in this shithole area before or something?!

    If he does this, damn, it might get ugly up in the Keystone State.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Which, in effect, is the entire purpose of the exercise. Or, put another way, if an abortion provider gets murdered, is it his fault for provoking the tender, child-like sensibilities of the murderer, or the murderer’s fault for killing a person?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        Not a good analogy. Abortion is something that happens every day. The doctors doing it recognize that it needs to happen. Even if someone disagrees with it and is horrified by it, they know that killing one abortion doctor won’t stop abortions in the country.

        Whipping the Koran is not very common. Muslims see that and they see an evil person and his “followers” that need to be dealt with. And for Perce, there is no need whatsoever to do it in the first place. It is a stupid point he’s trying to make and no one will be harmed in any way if he doesn’t do it.
        An abortion provider risks his/her life to help women in need. Perce is risking his life and potentially other lives to make a stupid point that he could make much more effectively in other ways if he just thought about it for a few seconds.

        • The Other Weirdo

           You’re making this an emotional issue, while I’m not. The question isn’t whether the abo/pro risks his life for a good cause or bad. The question is whether he is guilty of anything if (s)he gets murdered by an angry staunch anti-abortionist, or whether it’s all on the one with the finger on the trigger.

      • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

        Apples and oranges. Give me an analogy that is actually analogous and we’ll talk. This 1st grade, “Y is like X because I say so thing” is played out.

        • The Other Weirdo

           Really? How’s that, then?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

    Didn’t that rattlesnake handler in Flori-DUH with the 70′s porn mustache almost start WWIII with a similar stunt?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Ernest Perse V is being a very silly man. He’s flogging the wrong book. Here’s what he should do:

    Take a list of all the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who signed the Year of the Bible resolution, and a list of all of those who are planning to sign Resolution No. 771. Staple them down the left edge to copies of the texts of both resolutions, so that it is like a book.

    Then toss this bad, bad book  onto the floor of the Capitol rotunda and shout very unflattering things at it. Yell at it about how hypocritical, insincere, cynical, superstitious, and backward the resolutions, the authors, and the signators are. All the while, shake your finger at it, then spank it with an open hand, then slap it with the back of your hand, then punch it with your fist, then kick it around, then stomp on it several times, still yelling even more unflattering things, perhaps about its lineage and its ancestors. then flog it with a belt, beat it with a baseball bat, spit on it, and finally rip it into little pieces.

    (Make sure it all goes into a proper trash receptacle. One should not litter.)

    So there! That’ll show that bad, bad book. Nyaaahh! That way Ernest Perce V will show everyone how rational, logical, mature, non-superstitious people handle controversies. 

  • Renshia

    These actions do have an effect. Sometimes expressing a little anger and pissing off a few people get others thinking, that maybe, that crap ain’t so sacred, after all.  You all shout about how it has no good effect, how the hell do you know that? You can’t possibly know  for certain how a show of defiance can effect things. How some persecuted person may gather strength and courage to know there are others fighting to.

    Religion is the bane of humanity and an opportunity in which to spit in it’s eye, should be taken at every chance. Religion shouldn’t be given any respect. Delusional thinking should not be rewarded, respected, protected or coddled.

    I think it is stupid to be trying to out whine the religious about how outrages this is.

    One of the greatest lessons I learned in my life started out by me being offended. It was a lesson I needed to learn and I am better off for it. Sometimes offending people, sometimes pushing back is exactly what’s needed.

    I wouldn’t do it this way, I might not like the way he’s trying to get his point across. I defend his right to do it, though. Nobody has the right to not be offended.  Until being religious makes people laughingstocks,  religion will maintain it’s control over humanities future. Which is in pretty crappy condition and not looking very good.

    • stojadinovicp

      “I wouldn’t do it this way, I might not like the way he’s trying to get his point across. I defend his right to do it, though.” – thank you! Exactly my point.

  • Goonies

    Tim Minchin does an excellent little piece in his shows about the Koran and the reverance it is (mistakenly) given.  The audience is practically gripped in fear the whole time he is talking about it waiting for the world to stop. Very funny indeed.

    • NewAtheist

      I adore Tim Minchin! He has another skit where he sings a song about loving Jesus so let’s kill the gays… then he rips on the audience for not following him there

    • stojadinovicp

      LINK PLEASE :) ))

      • Goonies

        I cannot access youtube properly from work, but if you search for ‘Tim Minchin Sacredness’ or ‘Tim Minchin Koran’ you will get the good stuff.
        Enjoy!

        • stojadinovicp

           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYchB7Kxuvs

  • Kevy

    So how do we get flogged in the good way, Hemant? I kid, I kid. indeed I am a bit confused about the goal other than to be provocative.

    • Skizzle

       Trust me, flogging can be done in a very very good way, especially when you aren’t constantly afraid of Jeebus trying to spoil your fun.

      • Kevy

        Oh, I know. I was pretending to proposition our dear brother in arms.

  • Skizzle

    >If any of you attend that protest, I will personally flog you. (And not in a fun way.)

    If we can just find a way to involve Chris Mooney in that little S&M session, then my atheist fantasy will be complete.  For bonus points, get Greta Christina to stand in the corner and call me scum.

    But yeah, this guy is just silly.

  • Rman44

    If he were to do this, of course it is an extreme course of action but if, as a result, he receives death threats or is murdered, that would only serve to show beyond any doubt (as if we weren’t already aware of the situation) that religion is to not be respected. It would show that the Islamic faith is a sickness upon the mind and that its devout followers who are willing to kill are the scum of the earth, and more people should stand up to this tyrannical, remorseless, vile, murderous belief system.

  • sexyheathen

    Important new way to approach this problem:  desecrate several books. 

    The problem is that burning one book appears to single out a particular group and causes public outrage.  To undermine the sacredness of religious texts without singling out a particular group you have to desecrate several books at once so that the message is clear.  Even if it was just a bible AND a koran it would be clear that this is about religion – not about Muslims, not about Christians.

    • NewAtheist

      Was thinking that myself. But in order to really send the message, it can’t be just 1 bible and a koran. It needs to be several bibles (there are several different versions, perhaps 1 of each), and a book of mormon, and a koran, maybe a scientology text if he can get his hands on one, and a manual from the COTFSM.

  • http://stojadinovic.net/ Predrag

    Why is it so difficult for you people to understand the simple fact that
    by attacking this guy you are basically indorsing the religious
    stupidity in which they consider mere books to be magical and “special”?
    Let him destroy the darn thing or do whatever to it. The people need to realize that it is JUST a book and nothing more. You defending it just makes them
    think that even atheists see those books as sacred. You’re the ones
    doing the harm here, not the guy who wants to tear up some meaningless
    paper…

    • NickDB

       To me books are “Sacred” for lack of a better word. Is one particular book sacred – NO.

      But is the idea and medium of passing down, sharing, communicating knowledge and opinions sacred – IMHO YES, and books are those.

      I’ll feel the same way about the internet too. You do not get to destroy other peoples ideas and knowledge, you get to debate it, critize it and try to influence.

      Let’s be honest here, if he was burning a bunch of paper with some black ink spilled on it between 2 pieces of cardboard no one would be getting upset, but a book is more than that.

      • Kodie

         A book symbolizes something, all that you said, but it’s still just a thing. He’s not destroying the medium of collecting thoughts and ideas and principles, and he’s not destroying those principles, whether he destroys the Koran or the Declaration of Independence. It’s not a precious item that holds any power in itself, or a singular item preserved for posterity.

    • Sindigo

      Condemning this guy does not mean endorsing the religious. That’s a false dichotomy. It is simply an acknowledgement that there are better ways to communicate than desecrating people’s sacred texts (however silly the idea of a sacred text may be be) when you know what a blatantly inflammatory and attention-seeking action that is. It does precisely nothing to advance our cause and simply makes us look like arrogant and rabid religion haters. An image that we need to get away from if we want to level the playing field in the political and social arena.

      It’s all well and good to say that it’s “just a book” when the people you’re trying to communicate with believe that a text can be sacred. This action will only serve to further entrench religious people in their views and that’s not good for anyone.

      AA should fire his ass lest they be associated with such a ridiculous action.

      • stojadinovicp

        False dichotomy? Yet you continuously claim that something is wrong when in fact it is not. It is his book and he has the right to do whatever he wants to to it. End of story!

        By attacking him for what some morons might do you are in fact endorsing their sick behavior! You are sending them a message that they are right and that they should kill people when someone destroys a bit of paper!

        As for “how it looks” I really don’t care! What i do care is what is right and what is wrong!

        Destroying a book you bought -> RIGHT!
        Killing people because someone destroyed his own book -> WRONG!

        And that is all there is too it. Talking about what they believe is endorsing their sickness. No. Enough. They need to get the message that they can not and do not have the right to behave that way no matter what crap they believe! And they need to hear this loud and clear.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          But destroying a book when you know other people could get killed because of it is a much bigger deal than simply destroying a book. Not every action is simply right or wrong. Morality does depend on the situation.
          Is laughing wrong? No, of course not! Now imagine you’re in Nazi Germany. You’ve taken Jewish people into your home and you’re hiding under the floor. There is a Nazi soldier searching your home. Out of nowhere and for no reason, you start laughing. Now the soldier knows where everyone is hiding and everyone gets sent off to concentration camps. But it’s not like you did anything wrong. You just laughed. Your friends will be killed, but it’s not like you’re the crazy person doing the killing, so it’s okay. You’re allowed to laugh whenever you want.
          How about if there’s a meth head in the room waving around a gun. You start laughing really loudly for no reason and the meth head tweaks out and shoots people. It’s okay though because you were just laughing.

          Morality isn’t black and white. There are no actions that will always be good or always be bad. Otherwise, we might have them written down in a book somewhere, lol.
          No one’s saying that if people are killed, this guy should be tried for murder. The issue is that he knows that if he does this, he is endangering the lives of others, not just himself. We all agree that if someone kills over this, the killer should be 100% accountable. That being said, it is ideal that no one dies over this in the first place. 

          • stojadinovicp

            So you come up with an example where an action is clearly a communication to the bad guy and therefore assistance and you think that is an appropriate comparison? Do I really have to explain why using something to show the Nazi where people are is different from destroying a book when someone bitched about it on another continent before hand and wants to control your life by threatening to kill if you do something that is, I repeat, NOT wrong?

            As for the meth head, where is the correlation between the laughter and him being an idiot and shooting? Can you prove that he would not have shot otherwise?

            But to get back at the issue at hand, WHY isn’t anyone answering my simple question: If i tell you that I will kill people if you EVER go online again, will you do it? (and let’s assume that I have means to know if you do)

            Would you do it? How about if you eat ice cream? Or if you take more than one shower a month? Or if you kiss your partner? Or… ad infinitum.

            Where do you draw the line?

            Today they will kill for a book, what about tomorrow? Maybe they will kill if all western women do not wear burkas? Maybe for premarital sex? Maybe for gay marriage, women driving, who knows what sick people who are willing to kill over a book, a stupid book at that, will come up with in the future!

            Where do you draw the line?Would you all be so willing to attack a woman in a mini skirt if they threaten to kill if women do not wear burkas?

            Would you be willing to attack a gay couple for being open in public if they threaten to kill for that?Where do you draw the line and most importantly WHY?

            I guarantee that you would NOT attack anyone in the examples I just gave, so why do you attack someone who wants to destroy HIS OWN book, HIS property? Why?

            You all keep saying that the reason is “they will kill someone”, so please, answer would you behave the same if they threaten to kill for anything else, like the stuff above that I listed or anything else for that matter.

            Where and why do you draw the line?

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              This was in response to your logic. You were saying that since destroying your own property is okay, than it is okay no matter what other people do in response to your actions.
              So I used laughing as an example. Laughing is usually just fine, but there are times where laughing is not appropriate and certainly cause other people harm. The meth head example is because meth heads are known for being very unstable. In a situation like that, you would want to be as calm as possible for everyone’s protection, so laughing would obviously be a bad idea.

              There is no clear line, but the risks should not outweigh the benefit. If someone living under oppressive Islamic leadership wants to burn the Koran in protest, I support that. It’s a huge risk and they will probably be killed, but it’s for a bigger cause. If someone wants to whip the Koran to make a point that doesn’t make any sense to anyone, I do not support that. He is taunting a violent group of people for *no reason*.
              Also, your examples do not work. Going online, eating ice cream, taking more than one shower per month, etc, are all commonplace, everyday things. It would greatly inconvenience me to comply to your wishes. However, if you request that I not destroy your holy book…yeah, I think I can handle that request. It’s still completely wrong either way if you decide to kill because of my actions, but in the second case, it’s very easy to avoid any deaths.

              You seem to overlook the fact that no one here is okay with Muslims who kill over this stuff. We all find it terrible. But like I said before, we already know we can’t reason with crazy people, so why not try to reason with the sane guy who is trying to provoke the crazy people over something so pointless.

              • stojadinovicp

                Actually, there is a clear line. Both of your examples are singularities, namely, you happen to be in a certain situation for a very short, or suffice it to say limited time. The “request” about the stupid kuran book is infinite, has no limit. The difference there is significant enough to negate your examples.

                As for the commonplace, everyday things, yes, you are correct, there is a difference there but you avoided gay marriage, burkas, gay people being open about it and so on. All the things that can easily be expected to get on the list for those sick people.
                Plus, I used some books to make a book-shelf. My wife hates it because those books are destroyed to become a shelf, other people have the same feeling but I love them and think they are cool. A bunch of my friends loved them as well so I made a few for them as well. What if I used the kuran and posted that on the net? It’s an everyday thing for me now, I make book-shelves out of books for my friends, would attack me the same way if I used the kuran?

                There seem to be two issues here, or I would call them excuses for attacking Ernest. One is that he did something what some radical idiots threatened to kill for and the other is that he has the intention of pissing those same morons off.

                A claim that he is right on both counts and that we are going to loose if we don’t back him up completely!

                Yes, you are right that we can not reason with crazy people but your “solution” is actually making the problem worse because you are simply giving in to their completely sick demands.

                If we are all united in supporting Ernest they would eventually drop the issue because it would become overwhelming for them to retaliate.Were there any threats because of the “Draw Muhammad day”?

                If I remember correctly, Hemant supported it here (correct me if I’m wrong) and I don’t remember any similar outcry against it. Why is that? Because so many people decided to do it and here we have one guy? Isn’t that a logical fallacy? What is the difference between drawing muhammad and destroying kuran? Both make those sick bastards foam around their mouth and both are equally right and for both they are equally wrong to complain about.

                But many people decided to draw muhammad and post it, while here we have just one person.

                • 3lemenope


                  What is the difference between drawing muhammad and destroying kuran?

                  One is a creatively expressive act which is forbidden only by the peripheral traditions of a religion and so cannot reasonably be taken to enjoin people not of that religion, the other is a nihilistic attack against the text that billions of people revere as the word of their God and as such is a direct attack upon something of great sentimental value.

                  It’s approximately the difference between drawing a mean picture of someone’s mom and killing their pets. 

                  If you can’t tell the difference between the two, I’m at a loss as to what to say.

                • stojadinovicp

                  Well, you can be at a loss all you want for I certainly can not accept a comparison between a live pet and a book. I am actually at a loss as to what to say to such an asinine comparison.

                  What if the destruction of a book was a form of artistic expression, then it would be ok? And please don’t tell me that such an act can not be someones art because we all know that it can. Whether we like that or not, it can. Just like the cross in piss was and I didn’t like it, but I would defend his right to make that art, just like I will always support Ernest and his right to destroy some stupid book.

                  I will copy/paste the point you seemed to have missed: “Yes, you are right that we can not reason with crazy people but your “solution” is actually making the problem worse because you are simply giving in to their completely sick demands.”

                • 3lemenope

                  The actual comparison, if you were paying attention, was what those objects mean to the people affected by their destruction. Sentiment, emotional attachment, subjective value. A person who is serious about their religion might come to care about their holy text about as much as a person tends to care about a cherished pet. I know it’s just a huge stumbling block for you that a particular book can mean so much to another person, but it does, and so your not understanding it is emphatically your problem.

                  From the way you contemptuously address the very notion it seems like to you it is illegitimate for anyone to care about anything other than what you personally care about, and value anything other than what you choose to value. I prefer to take people’s actual views into account when trying to understand what is important to them. It’s just a book to you or me, it’s not just a book to them, and that is a morally relevant fact in this here discussion, whether you want it to be or not.

                • stojadinovicp

                  Awesome relativistic BS approach. And what if someone
                  actually cares about the ice cream or the internet or
                  whatever else anyone may think of and then complains if you do anything
                  to it? Again, where do you draw the line? Why is the book more
                  important than something else?

                  It is absolute BS to “consider” anyones views if their views are
                  completely. It is not just a book to me it
                  is just a book, period. There is an objective truth
                  here, whether you want it to be or not. So you can stop with the “to
                  you” attempts because they are meaningless. I don’t care what something
                  is to you if it doesn’t belong to you but belongs to
                  me. Then you are a crazy person.

                  If you want to tell me that some of your books mean
                  so much to you that’s perfectly fine, but we are not talking about
                  your book, we are talking about the book that Ernest
                  owns.

                • stojadinovicp

                  And before I forget, to those billions of people Muhammad is equally sacred, if not more, than the Kuran. Therefore your argument is simply false. And the act behind it, to them again, makes absolutely no difference, both are punishable by death and they take both of those equally seriously and they are equally wrong on both counts.

                  The difference is that you seem not to mind one and you don’t care about the other which is certainly your right, but it is disgusting to attack someone like people have and are attacking Ernest just because “you wouldn’t do it that way”! All of you are trying to take his rights away from him based on an infinitely long and moronic terrorist demand. That is all there is to it.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  The examples I made were not meant to be perfect analogies. They were meant to illustrate that morality depends on the situation. Something that is right in one situation can be a very bad thing in another.
                  I didn’t specifically mention gay marriage, burkas, etc, because I thought I covered that when I explained that I would support this kind of protest if it was protesting a bigger issue.
                  Once again, morality depends on the situation. Just because I don’t support destroying the Koran in this situation doesn’t mean I would never support destroying the Koran. Just because I am okay with giving into their demands by not destroying something sacred to them does not mean I would give into any demands they make.
                  Any situation you give me, I will have a different opinion, *depending on the situation*.
                  I am against it in this situation because he is doing it in an offensive, public way (as in, not just for home decoration purposes), it could inspire violence and people other than himself could get hurt, and (here is the key issue) it is completely pointless.

                • stojadinovicp

                  Interesting how you will take the relativistic BS only up to a point that suits you! Did you ever consider that maybe to Ernest it is not in fact pointless? Did you ever consider that maybe to Ernest it means sooo much to be able to freaking destroy his own book? Did you ever consider that maybe that means more to him than what that book means to those morons who are willing to kill over such crap?

                  How convenient for you to simply assume something and go from there.
                  And also how convenient for you to ignore the fact that this is not a one time thing so that you can “have a different opinion” every time, it is for ever, their threat is forever and will remain such until we stand up against it together!

                  Which, magically, brings us back to my original point: you are endorsing their sick behavior and you are sending them a message that they are right when they threaten us with violence for destroying a stupid book.

            • 3lemenope

              If i tell you that I will kill people if you EVER go online again, will you do it? (and let’s assume that I have means to know if you do)

              There are lots of reasons this question is not on-point. Let’s go through them, shall we?

              First off, comparing an activity like “going online” with desecrating a Qur’an is like juxtaposing apples and bricks. For many people, their livelihood, not to mention communities they are members of, are online. There is an entire rich world of activity that many people enjoy and depend upon. Nobody depends on being able to desecrate a Qur’an; the activity does not support anyone’s livelihood, and does not support the existence of any community. So right off the bat, they aren’t on the same playing field. They aren’t even the same sport. 

              Now, nobody is saying, so far as I can tell, that the people who kill over a book are not in any way fully responsible for their act. Murder is murder. Nobody is arguing, either, that a person who wishes to desecrate a Qur’an that they possess doesn’t or shouldn’t have the legal right to do with it what they wish. A person certainly has the legal right to burn every book they own if they so choose. In light of that, the only real question before us is what moral obligations does the person who intends to desecrate have, if any. You’ve been arguing rather strenuously that they don’t. It’s a simple matter of property, you say, destroying a book is no big deal. Your argument hinges on the simple (and I think, incredibly mistaken) assumption that there is no possible moral dimension to destroying one’s own property. We’ll get to why a few paragraphs down.

              Now, those being the parameters of the discussion, and your claims therein (as best as I can tell, anyway), your Internet question seems kind of besides the point. I understand that your concern is a slippery slope sort of escalation, where if yesterday the heckler’s veto stopped us from burning a Qur’an, what will tomorrow bring? But it’s a silly point primarily because burning a Qur’an is an activity quite unlike all the others you listed in one important respect. It has no intrinsic value. As I said earlier, destroying Qur’ans doesn’t make a person’s livelihood and can’t create a community. Nobody’s life will be ruined, nobody’s days shortened, by them refraining from burning a Qur’an. It has only one value dimension, which is extrinsic; it is a symbolic expression that is extremely good at pissing off people half a world away. That is all it is good for. All the other behaviors you list are for some positive, intrinsic end. Even the ice cream brings pleasure to the person who eats it, and eating it doesn’t in itself piss anyone else off to the point where they might murder someone (which is the other reason your hypo is extremely silly; you’re comparing activities that either nobody has a problem with or has a large amount of intrinsic value with an act which has neither status).

              A major part you seem to be missing from this equation (and one serious reason why your so-called killer “simple question” is not simple) is that I live in a society that has rules and mechanisms to enforce those rules. If you live in the US and make such a threat, I can avail myself of the legal system to neutralize your threat with a decent amount of confidence. Even if you were to successfully carry out your threat, it is likely that you would be prosecuted in our fine justice system. The asshats in Afghanistan who get bent out of shape about a desecrated Qur’an have no such recourse. They have no rational belief that if someone destroys something of value to them (like the Qur’an is, and whether you or I think it is silly to care so much about a book is irrelevant; they do care), that there will ever be any address to their complaint. A feeling of relative powerlessness is what drives calls to violence; if you can’t get restitution through official structures, people will use cruder methods. That’s why we have courts and such to begin with. This asymmetry of means makes the moral landscape a bit more complex, not to mention the fact that we’ve been setting a few Muslim countries on fire from air for a good while now. Perhaps there might be a different level of fraught when an American from a position of safety and impunity antagonizes someone as opposed to it being up-close-and-personal?

              Coming back to your property point for a second, there’s an economics concept called externality which is apropos for explaining why I think your intuitions are wrong. An externality, in economics terms, is simply a cost or a benefit incurred by an act to an uninvolved third party. Most acts and transactions have externalities, but they tend to be small. Occasionally, though, they aren’t small. Say you want to burn trash and refuse on your property. Hey, it’s your property, right? But the fumes are carried by wind out of your property onto the sidewalk, and it triggers an asthma attack in a bystander. That bystander has just suffered a cost, an externality of your purely private act. Pollution is a classic major externality. Most regulations of property and  market that are actually beneficial tend to be oriented towards controlling externalities so that these negative third-party effects can be minimized. To apply the concept, while destroying your very own copy of a Qur’an may be a purely private act, when it is publicized it carries with it massive externalities. In light of that, just because you can do it doesn’t mean the costs aren’t real, aren’t borne (mostly by other people), and aren’t your fault. That the actual consequence of your act is carried out by another does not diminish in any way the responsibility that both of you bear. You never answered my point; if I put a gun in a distraught person’s hand and point them at a target that is causing them stress, do I bear no responsibility for what follows? That seems to be what your argument boils down to. That, to me, seems morally obtuse.

              And to answer your ridiculous hypothetical question, yes. If you threatened to kill random people unless I didn’t go online, and I was reasonably certain you had both the means and the intent to carry out your threat successfully, I wouldn’t go online. For the simple reason that going online is a luxury which is not worth anyone else’s life to have. Would you, just to “make a point”? How so very brave of you.

              • stojadinovicp

                Fine, the one example you took, the internet one is not easily comparable, although I thought the point that I was trying to make was clear. But, apparently it wasn’t which is why I extended to other more comparable examples, like the one with my book-shelf: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/16/american-atheists-pennsylvania-state-director-will-desecrate-the-koran-if-year-of-the-bible-resolution-isnt-dropped/#comment-590487088

                However, yes, I would keep going online, I would keep making my book-shelf and whatever else. I am not willing to give up my freedom because some morons are morons. And the society of which you speak of is responsible for providing us with the possibility to keep our freedom and not bow down to moronic demands. Remember the “we do not negotiate with terrorists” policy?

                And no, I do not believe that you would simply never go online ever again. Sorry, but I will never believe that even if you do write it. The reason you wrote that you wouldn’t is because you believe that your justice system would catch me eventually and then you would be free to continue. The point here is exactly the opposite, their threat is eternal and as long as we comply we are justifying their stupid demands.

                FYI, I do not live but I visit several times a year a country where I get threats almost weekly. All because I dared to say that I am an atheist and that religion is wrong. I do not live in the US where I can count on the legal system to take care of these problems for me. The legal system in my country turned me flat down.

                As for “what will tomorrow bring?”, it is anything but a silly point because they are already attacking activities that we take for granted, like forcing women to wear burkas, not drive, killing gays and so on. It is perfectly conceivable that tomorrow they will wheaten to kill if our women do not wear burkas for example, or if they continue to drive, vote and so on. Saying that those things are more important is a silly point because, even though they are, they are still our freedom and our right, just as is the right of Ernest to destroy his book. Either we protect our rights, united, or we will loose them one by one. Someone will always find a reason why some freedom is better to be lost than for those morons to kill someone. And, while that is, in itself, a valid point it becomes invalid when the threat is continuous and eternal, when their stupid beliefs keep impeding our rights and liberties for ever.

                As for the smoke example, I am sorry but what the heck are you talking about? Sending dangerous smoke over the fence is in no way a private act of destroying your own property. If I tear up the koran and throw it in the trash, what have I done wrong and whom have I affected? You basically wasted a huge paragraph to prove something that makes no sense for this particular discussion.

                To answer your gun handing question I do not know but I would probably say yes, you do bear some responsibility, but, again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the problem at hand because you are using a singularity and comparing it to a continuous demand, a continuous blackmail. Which is the main reason why I used the examples I used above, the point was on a continuous demand and not on the activity it was against. But all the points you and a few others made fall appart in the book-shelf example. It is my common activity, and it destroys a book, let’s say kuran every time and I post pictures of that online.

                Now you will probably try to change the subject towards the intent where my intent in building a book-shelf is not to offend someone while Ernest intends to piss morons off, but I already addressed that point here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/16/american-atheists-pennsylvania-state-director-will-desecrate-the-koran-if-year-of-the-bible-resolution-isnt-dropped/#comment-590487088

                • 3lemenope


                  And no, I do not believe that you would simply never go online ever again. Sorry, but I will never believe that even if you do write it. 

                  I am acting in good faith and answering your questions honestly.  If you believe otherwise, then there is nothing that can be gained by continuing this discussion. 

                • stojadinovicp

                  I believe that you are deluded, besides also being wrong, I do not believe that you are dishonest.

                  Thanks for ignoring my book-shelf example and my point about the society and its responsibility to protect our freedom.

                • 3lemenope

                  But, uh, you did call me a liar. Pretty point-blank. I even pulled the quote out for you to point out why this conversation had become pointless. You asked your “killer” question. I answered it in a way you didn’t like. You turned around and disbelieved the sincerity of the answer. Seriously, dude, done with this. We don’t agree, and unlike most people I don’t agree with you aren’t particularly a pleasure to discuss with.

                • stojadinovicp

                  You may want to learn how to read.

                  I write: “I do not believe that you are dishonest” and your response to that is “you did call me a liar“.

              • Christinatrin

                 I think stoja is confused. He keeps trying to make the point that a Quran is simply a book- and a copy of one at that- but refuses to acknowledge that a book, or any other object can have large sentimental, cultural, etc. value attatched to it (much like the USA flag, dare I say it) UNLESS those attaching the value are idiotic deranged terrorist groups.

                Let’s say Perce was burning a large wooden cross… or the USA flag… instead of a Quran:

                Is he within his rights of free speech to do so? In America, YES. No one argues that.

                If he is the grand poobah of the American Atheist Association, and he declares this title while committing this action, does he represent only himself? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

                Are the members of the association and those affiliated with that association within their rights to condemn his actions if they do not represent the message these people are trying to convey? EFFIN YES.

                Does this mean they are all terrorist lovin’ bags of poo if they condemn him? NO, WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM

                The catch here is, the concept of RIGHTS GRANTED BY COUNTRY and WHAT IS THE MORALLY RIGHT THING TO DO are two *completely* different things. Stoja clings to his argument much like an internet troll might, whether or not it holds water.

        • NewAtheist

          stojadinovicp, can you please give examples of ways that we can:
          A) defend Ernest’s right to destroy his own personal property
          B) condemn the “morons” who would kill over “bit[s] of paper”
          C) send a clear, convincing message that this legislation is wrong
          D) without harming the cause and appearance of atheism and atheists

          • stojadinovicp

            a) is easy, just don’t attack him and if you don’t like the act of destroying books, like I actually don’t, just say that and always add that it is still his right and that no one has the right to do anything because Ernest decided to destroy his own property

            b) also easy, just say it, say that no one has the right to threaten or kill anyone because someone did something they don’t agree with or don’t like

            c) honestly, no idea… off the top of my head, ask for 2013 to be the year of reason and secularism and then 2014 to be the year of the kuran and so on… just an idea…

            d) i am being accused of harming the cause of atheism and atheists in my home country almost daily, so i might not be the one to give advice on that ;) but suffice it to say that i disagree because there is no cause of atheism, there is a cause of secularism, of scientific education, reason, but not atheism… I’m with Harris on that one, it should not even be a word ;)

            basically, i strongly believe that if you promote what is logical you can not hurt, let’s call it our, cause… worrying about what people who believe in fairytales think or want is the way to hurt our cause… they are used to being respected for whatever crap they believe in, they are used to being allowed to claim and say and do whatever they want and hide behind “that’s my faith” and they are used to us being silent and backing down whenever word faith is said and it simply has to stop…

            • http://twitter.com/geekexile Brian Fields

               Are you saying that we don’t have a free-speech right to criticize someone if we don’t think they are behaving appropriately?  That’s an interesting standpoint.

              • stojadinovicp

                Seriously? You’re gonna try the straw man, here? RLY?

                Please show me where I EVER said you don’t have the right to be wrong? PLEASE.

        • Sindigo

          Yes, a false dichotomy. To condemn Perce’s actions does not mean endorsing anything else. That’s ridiculous.

          The problem is not that he is desecrating a book. It’s that he is purposely insulting people. That is not a civilised way to behave. And it’s not good saying, “well, they don’t behave in a civilised way either”. Those are the debating tactics of the school yard and do us no favours at all.Besides, if you don’t care “how it looks” then why are you even having this conversation?

          “ They need to get the message that they can not and do not have the right to behave that way no matter what crap they believe! And they need to hear this loud and clear.”

          And you think that this is the way to do it? Grow up and pull you head out of your ass. Perce is doing this to be infalmmatory. He could have used any religious text to make his childish and pointless gesture but he chose the Quran because it would cause the most offence. If you can’t see that then you’re either being deliberately obtuse or unwittingly naive and neither option does you any favours.

          • stojadinovicp

            Yes, condemning Perce’s actions is completely different from muslim fanatics condemning Perce’s actions. I see your point… You wanna try again, maybe?

            Yes, condescending man, I do think that it is a way to do it. Please show me how your reasoning with these morons has worked so far? The reason it is inflammatory is because they are morons, not because the act is in any way actually inflammatory. It’s a book. Heck, it’s his book. And if you can’t see that then you’re either being deliberately obtuse or unwittingly naive and neither option does you any favors.

            • Sindigo

              I literally have no idea what you’re getting at in that first paragraph. Which point of mine do you see?

              Flogging a book in public. That’s what you think is finally going to get through to a group of people who have been raised from birth to believe that Allah is great. If only it were that easy to change people’s minds. 

              If this issue really boils down to whether or not he has the right to destroy a copy of a book that he owns (hint: it doesn’t) then why choose that one? Why not Lord of the Rings?

              And yes, I am being condescending but it’s difficult not to when I seem to be arguing with, what I assume is a grown-ass man who is defending the actions of a spoilt brat regardless of the fact that they are being carried out by a similar grown-ass man.

              • stojadinovicp

                First paragraph = sarcasm. C’mon now…

                Flogging a book in public by you or me or Perce alone, hell no it will not make a difference.

                But a massive show of disrespect for it (not necessarily destroying them ’cause that’s a waste of paper, but just showing disrespect that it deserves) yes. And also showing full support to Perce and support for his right do destroy his own book instead of attacking him, yes! I actually do.

                Look at what happened for “draw muhammad day”. To them drawing muhammad is equally wrong to destroying the kuran, yet when it was massively done, puf, nothing. We won because we stood together and defended our right to freaking draw something. And yes, i believe the same should be done with the kuran or any other demand they may have in the future.

                Why not Lord of the Rings?” – heck, i would kill him if he destroyed that one. (yes, it’s a fucking joke) There is no why not, he can and if he wants to he should. This question of yours is just a red herring. Who cares what book he chose is the main point. And no one should care because it’s his book. End of story.

                I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but he has the right to do it. And, furthermore, when morons threaten to kill over such a stupid act, we must support him and not attack him because, for the millionth time, by attacking him we are supporting the moron killers. We are sending them a message that they are right and he is wrong. We are sending them a message that we agree and that he should not do that. It simply gives them the incentive to continue.

                Yes, you are being condescending, so now please tell me what i should be when I seem to be arguing with, what i assume is a grown-ass man who is indirectly supporting the threats of crazy radical morons regardless of the fact that they are threatening to kill people over someone elses stupid book?

                • Sindigo

                  This is going to be my last comment as we’re dying of column death and you’re failing to grasp the fact that condemning Perce’s actions is not the same as supporting terrorism. 

                  And, for the record, non-Arabs drawing Muhammed is not the same, not even to a devout Muslim as flogging a Quran in public.

                  As far as I am concerned, it comes down to this: what will Perce’s action achieve?

                  Will it convince anyone that the Muslim faith is false? No.

                  Will it strike a blow for secularism? No.

                  Will anyone die or be injured because of it? Almost certainly not.

                  Will it give the religious another reason to regard us as intolerant assholes? Yes.

                  Will it needlessly insult a huge amount of people with who we could be having meaningful, worthwhile dialogue thereby further entrenching their views and potentially harming any possibility for mutual understanding? Yes, several hundreds of thousands of times, yes.

                  So why bother?

                  And for the record, I disagree with you about Lord of the Rings as well. I hate that book.

                • stojadinovicp

                  And 
                  and you’re failing to grasp the fact that condemning Perce’s actions is the same as supporting terrorism.  The difference is that I have explained why it is and you just keep repeating that it isn’t without any explanation.

                  I don’t care what he wants to achieve, why the hell should I care??? What I do care about is whether this action warrants killing people for it. It doesn’t. You agree that it doesn’t yet you stay on the side of those who want to kill for that by condemning it just like they do. The only difference is that you will not kill anyone and they will, but you are both condemning the same action. Therefore, you are supporting their sick behavior indirectly.

                • Christinatrin

                   Let me sum this up, boys and girls- 

                  stoja: “If you condemn Perce you support terrorism” (which, by the way, sounds like Bush’s famous line “If you are not with us, you are against us.” a TEXTBOOK false dichotomy…)

                  Sindingo: “What you just said is a false dichotomy, and the message we are sending by condemning Perce is rather that we disagree with his methods, which target  ordinary, non-radical Muslims as well as radical terrorists in one fell swoop- thereby sending the message that Perce is in fact insensitive, bigoted, and on the whole illogical.”

                  stoja: “Nope! I’m going to completely miss your point and declare that if you do not agree with Perce, you agree with terrorists. Neener neener.”

                • stojadinovicp

                  Nicely child. Apparently lying goes for funny around here… I never said “you support terrorism”, learn to read, please.

    • NewAtheist

      Interesting food for thought, Predrag. Thanks for the POV.

      • stojadinovicp

        YW. I apologize for being a bit too passionate about the issue.

  • Georgina

    Ernest Perce V is just taking advantage of the absolute cowardice of some politicians.
    Would there be all this fuss if someone wanted to burn a copy (copy!) of Shakespeare?

    this is actually quite clever, they can:
    a)  buckle under out of fear of muslims retaliation,
    b) condemn him but admit that he owns the copy and can do what he likes with it
    c)  put political pressure – again out 0f fear – flouting the constitution and disgracing themselves.

    Fascinating, I wonder what they will decide …

  • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

    You don’t have to beat, whip, tear, or burn holy books in order to highlight they don’t deserve respect.  All you have to do is read them.

    • Renshia

       And yet, millions, possibly billions do read them, or parts of them and willingly trade their lives for the story. Someone who is  prone to critical thought will see it, but there are many people that are willing to be led around like sheep. It is for those who need a little shock therapy these gestures are meant for.

      Obviously, reading them ain’t enough, or there wouldn’t be all these nutters running around. I am sure this will be one of many gestures needed to bring religion to it’s knees. If only one or two begins to use their brains because of this gesture, then damn-it, it’s worth it.

      For those who get there shit in a not, Let’s hope they get constipation.

      • Christinatrin

         First of all, ‘for those who get THEIR shit in a KNOT’ is the correct version of that sentence.

         Secondly, let us do a thought experiment-  you are in a burning building and there are 20 puppies in front of you. If you scream at them, 2 will cower in fear and crawl towards you but the other 18, frightened, will run further into the building and perish. However, if you call to them sweetly, or coax them with food, all will survive. You saying ‘if only one or two begins to use their brains because of this gesture, then damn-it, it’s worth it’ is a BIT like saying ‘well at least screaming saved two of them’. You’re alienating many more than you’d ever educate in this situation.

        Think for a minute here. Jeez.

      • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

        I do not think the symbolic action will reach any of the moderates – it just makes atheists look just as bad as the religious fundamental nut bags we are fighting.  If anything, it cements the moderates position that extremes on either end are dangerous and irrational – which is exactly what we are not.  We will never reach the rabid crazies who have buried themselves deep in delusion, but we can point out the violent, sexist, racist, tribal, superstitious, blood thirty, divisive, and discriminatory nonsense which easily repels then from that end of the spectrum and toward our own position.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      Maybe that’s what he should do.  Read select passages in the rotunda, and ask passersby if they respect and appreciate them.

      • Kodie

        Apropos of nothinghttp://kickassapp.com/ allows you to use an “Asteroids”-like pointer to shoot at web pages you are looking at.

  • http://profiles.google.com/julielada Julie Lada

    Is anyone else greatly amused by how specific he is about how many times he’ll beat the book with what flog/whip? He may as well he advertising to the world that he’s a Dom. I don’t know of anyone else that owns a singletail. I don’t envy that book, by the way. That’s a seriously fucking evil whip!

  • The Other Weirdo

    I dunno. In Indonesia a guy gets beaten and jailed for being an atheist, or in the words of one article, for theological confusion and having no one to discuss atheism with. But we’re freaking out over  desecrating a book that lead to this guy’s jail time? Seriously?

  • eonL5

    It’s the whipping part that seems just silly to me. Not just silly, comical and embarrassing for the one doing it. I’d rather see the these “holy” books having their pages used to draw other imaginary things with crayons, nice bright fun drawings to brighten someone’s day. Like unicorns and werewolves and such. Maybe then pass out the pages for suitable display as artwork, like under magnets on people’s fridges. “Here, this is how important these verses are. Live long and prosper.”

  • BruceGobert

    Hey, just like PZ Myers did with a Koran!!! I guess that everyone who has said:

     
    “lol what weird and stupid way to respond”, ”
    Way to be a dick and I hope they do revoke his title.”, “Wow!  This guy is a disgrace to our community. ”
    I
    thought that sort of thing was something WBC would do. I recognize his
    right to do that, I just wouldn’t want to be associated with his
    actions.” …

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    As long as ridicule, mocking, and contempt are standard operating procedures among the leadership and members of this social movement, you will continue to attract individuals such as Mr. Perce.  As long as the sense of superiority and elitism of this movement continues, the image of atheism will remain in poor standing. Rather than challenging the unjust notion that atheists are unfeeling, immoral people, you will unwittingly reinforce these notions. You are walking down the path of becoming the living image of your oppressors. The spirit that is hardened by oppression can all too easily reproduces violence in a different form. Choose a different approach and perhaps, this very human tendency can be avoided…

    • Kodie

       Why is thrashing a book more violent than any other irreverent act? The fact that people revere something that isn’t true is cause to mock it, but we still have to be sensitive and inhibited mockers. Too much crying about nothing makes the point.

  • Tainda

    *yawn* Another batshit militant.  I throw them in the same boat as the militant bible/koran thumpers.

    Their “holy” books mean absolutely squat to me.  I realize they mean a lot to the thumpers but flogging a book isn’t going to get anything done.

    Save the pleasurepain for people that will actually appreciate it :D

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Many people are making the comparison to PZ’s desecration of a communion wafer and asking why it was OK for PZ but not for Ernest. Here’s the difference:

    The purpose of PZ’s desecration was to send the message that nothing is sacred. He did this by taking something supposedly sacred and treating it with the respect it deserves: none. (He also tossed in a few pages of “The God Delusion” for good measure.)

    The purpose of Ernest’s stunt is to protest the “Year of Religious Diversity” resolution. He is doing this by doing something incredibly far removed from the resolution. How exactly does flogging a Qur’an show contempt for the resolution? How does getting Islamic fundamentalists mad at you in any way lead to Pennsylvania reversing it’s decision.

    The connection between the protest and the purpose of the protests is vague to non-existent and what most people will see is just a crazy guy who hates Islam. His ultimatum to the state makes no sense: “Repleal the resolution or I will do something to offend fundamentalists and make them hate me.” Why should the state care or have any sympathy for him?

    If he wanted to do a demonstration to express our right to destroy Qur’ans or to make a point that people do not have to respect other religions (a la “Draw Muhammad Day”), then he’d be on the right track. Wit this demonstration he just looks like a loon.

    PS: I absolutely DO condemn the fanatics that will no doubt call for his death if Ernest follows through wit this. Their actions are MUCH worse than a kook whipping a book. I just prefer that our side is not represented by kooks.

    • Dan

       I agree with you, and Perce’s action is also different just from a visual point of view. Like I posted earlier, flogging the Koran with a 9 tail whip sounds like something from a Monty Python skit, it doesn’t even deserve to be taken seriously.

      If PZ had publicly tickled the communion wafer until it crumbled that would be more like Perce’s action. It’s just idiotic and juvilile behavior. (And I’m not a big fan of PZ, so it’s not like that’s why I’m diferentiating the actions).

  • turbodally

    Instead of imitating the very people we despise by burning books, perhaps he should lead a presentation reading various “pleasant” passages of the koran that tells unbelievers what they’ll experience, and what a sadistic piece of work Allah is. In my view, THIS is how you’re meant to pwn religious books.

  • Gus Snarp

    There are few comments here suggesting that Perce may not have intentionally associated this with AA, the media may be responsible for that. Certainly the story linked above does it’s level best to make both Perce and AA look bad, displaying the terribly ill though “Obey your Masters” billboard and linking directly to the AA website. It not only makes AA, but also all atheists, look like hateful bigots like Perce. But is it at all likely that they just dredged this up and wrote the story in a vacuum? Or did Perce send them a press release? And knowing how the media tend to respond to the slew of press releases they get every day from every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a story to flog, is it not exceedingly likely that the only way he got their attention was by putting that press release on AA letterhead? I’d like an answer to that question. And yes, I’d like to see Perce replaced. There’s nothing wrong with criticizing Islam, but there’s something very wrong with singling Islam out among all other religions because of personal hatred and fear, which I think is very much what Perce is doing. Even if that’ s not intentional, that’s the message he sends. Whether due to hate or incompetence, he’s doing a terrible job of representing American Atheists.

    • http://twitter.com/geekexile Brian Fields

       I know Ernest personally.  He uses his title on nearly every communication with the public.  I doubt they had to sleuth it out of anything.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave them the headline.

  • Scott Rhoades

    Ernest has a long history and a reputation for such antics. I know him personally and it seems as if his only goal is to piss off believers and tally up death threats as if they were a score of how great an atheist he is (this is something that people who know him hear from his own mouth). If that is his only goal then he is doing great but it doesn’t do much for the movement.

    • http://twitter.com/EllenBethWachs EllenBeth Wachs

      What is this fallacious argument called “Argument from Acquaintance” 

      Why don’t you ask what the goal is before making assumptions.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Let’s save the Muslims some time and money and show our tolerance for their religion, after he has done his deed, let’s pull him out of the building and bind his hands and feet, then stone him, then drag his dead body through the streets, then hang his corpse from a tree and light it on fire.

    Oh I forget we’re American Atheists we don’t act like those people, we just sit around and talk about how bad things are “outside of the wire.”

    10,000 years of religious condoned persecution of non-believers and what do we do when one guy tries to make a point…more talk.

    But then there’s Alexander Aan   “When Alexander arrived at work at the Dharmasraya Development Planning Board the next day a group of men, many of them also civil servants, attacked and beat him before police arrived and took him into protective custody. Police are now holding him until his trial for blasphemy is completed, although authorities moved Alexander from his local prison after he was badly beaten by a group of inmates who knew about his case.”

    “and Muslim extremists have called for Aan to be beheaded.”

    Yea that’s right He’s Not An American Atheist! If he had been, people would’ve just pressed the like button on his facebook page and that would have been the end of it.

    I’m glad I’m an American Atheist, because I’ll never have to go through Alexanders ordeal.

  • sexyheathen

    Another approach to the situation:

    Print out a copy of the Koran yourself and then desecrate the printed pages in some way.  You would then be clearly making a statement about the futility of getting upset over the destruction of “sacred” texts while not making it about a particular group of people.

    I can imagine somebody making a computer virus that prints out pages of the Koran automatically.  This is illegal, of course, but I’m curious to see what would happen to the printed pages if this tactic was used in a predominately Muslim country.

  • Noelle

    My kid brother’s in Afghanistan with the Army. His choice and what not. But I prefer he not be killed because some Pennsylvania idiot flogs a book. If he wants to flog a book, can someone get him some Jane Austin or Bronte sisters works instead? This should only inflame English teachers. If he would like to flog one of my old science or medical texts, he is also welcome. I can get more updated info on the Internet and I not attached to the books. They probably will cost a little to mail out there, but I’ll send them if he likes.

  • http://twitter.com/bEx_x3d BeximusPrime

    The fact that he has invited Christians to flog the book as well is rather telling. Singling out the Koran shows it to be more of an Islamphobic/racist gesture thinly veiled under the guise of atheism. Don’t desecrate books, eviscerate ideas.

  • Goonies

    I mentioned a Tim Minchin Koran piece yesterday and evidently people would like to see it (who wouldn’t!) I cannot access youtube properly from work, but if you search for ‘Tim Minchin Sacredness’ or ‘Tim Minchin Koran’ you will get the good stuff.

    Enjoy!

  • Christinatrin

    It occurs to me, although I am not really a psychologist, that Mr. Perce has a few internalized issues that shape his outlook on the world in an unhealthy way. “I’m more worried that if I stay silent that the energy and emotion within me will be worse to me than being attacked or even death threats!” Look at this sentence. The atrocities committed in the name of religion, and most prominently Islam in the past few years have indeed been angering- but to transform this anger into counterproductive and divisive outbursts is completely asinine.

    Here is a chance to prove what the atheist community purports to be good at- challenging an illogical authority on the grounds that it is harmful to society (and particularly the atheist community) Allowing Perce to maintain his position in the face of these recent statements and actions will be viewed, to many, as condoning his methods. If our ultimate goal is to bring lost people to reason and enlightenment, to build a society based on empirical fact, educated morals, and an unending curiosity in the real world around us, this man has become contrary to that goal.

  • Chris McLaughlin

    No matter how you cut it, the Holy Qur’an is just a book. A really opprobrious one, in fact. That atheists are getting uppity about one of their own whipping it boggles my mind. Yes, I understand that there are billions of people who find whipping a Qur’an to be a personal insult, but IT’S NOT! IT’S A BOOK BEING WHIPPED. Instead of (just) throwing Perce under the bus, maybe we atheists should also be emphasizing the fact that people (even atheists and Humanists) are giving WAY too much respect to a book that is so undeserving of it.

  • Funk

    Don’t worry. He’s all talk. He doesn’t have the balls to do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000596167269 Janice Rael

    If American Atheists Inc wants to distance itself from this stupid “flogging,” AA should remove Ernest Perce as its PA representative. If AA keeps Perce, it is an implicit endorsement of his antics. Period.