Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Warde Nichols: trying to ban the Bible??

It's actually a little disappointing that the Arizona State Senate's Judiciary Committee killed Rep. Warde Nichols' (R-Home of the Devil Dogs) scheme to revoke the First Amendment (HB2660).

His bill would have cleared the way for lawsuits against people who create or sell dangerous and/or obscene material that inspires someone to commit a crime.

As much as I respect, even revere, the principles of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, I really would have loved to see the squirming of Nichols and the right-wing caucus of the lege when they realized that a certain 'inspirational' book would have been subject to the provisions of its proposed law, with its tales of, among other things, murder (1), genocide (2), rape (3), revenge (4), child molesting (5), biological terrorism (6), and domestic violence (7).

So what is this handbook of perversion, violence, fear and hatred?

{cue up Jeopardy music} :))

...Yup, you guessed it, the book in question is the Bible.

There's some pretty nasty stuff going on there (especially in the Old Testament!), stuff that according to today's community standards is totally unacceptable, even to right-wingers.

And to those who say that the Bible is a "good" book and only inspires "good" acts, let me point out murdered children, assassinated doctors, raped women, molested children (too many to list), an entire Inquisition, etc.

In short, the Bible has material "would substantially assist, encourage or result in another person committing terrorism or a felony offense" (to quote Nichols' bill) and has, in fact, been cited as an inspiration for some of the most heinous crimes in history.

So, under the terms of Nichols' bill, anybody who prints or sells a Bible would be civilly liable for damages for crimes inspired by one or more passages in the Bible.

After the Judiciary Committee vote, Nichols promised to return next year with a new, narrower, bill. Ignoring for the moment that Phil Hettmansperger may have something to say about Nichols' return next year, perhaps Rep. Nichols should take the vote as a sign from God (so to speak) - the Committee protected him from the ire of his base, the radical right among the Republicans in Gilbert.

Thanks to the Skeptics Annotated Bible for the citations and the University of Virginia for the online Bible text -

(1) Genesis 19:24
(2) Genesis 6:7
(3) Genesis 34:2
(4) the rest of Genesis 34
(5) Genesis 19:8
(6) Exodus 9:9
(7) Hosea 2:3


P.S. - the alternate title for this post was "Warde Nichols: Master of Unintended Consequences" :))

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