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Bible Libel Lawsuit 
11th-Jul-2008 01:01 pm
Jesus Dies On PG.681
Can you sue the Almighty's publishers?
If you can't sue the Lord for libel, what are your options? A Michigan man is about to find out. Bradley LaShawn Fowler, 39, has filed lawsuits in a Michigan federal court against Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing, claiming some editions of the Bibles those companies put out call homosexuality sinful, which has led him to suffer discrimination, emotional pain and mental instability.

"Defendant willfully caused me to endure acts of hate, discrimination, and loss of sleep, appetite, by structuring their New King James Bible to reflect God’s distaste of homosexuals," Fowler wrote in his complaint against Thomas Nelson filed this week.

"By designing this product to promote hate and violence toward homosexuality, because such product is promoted as being the ‘authentic word of God,’ it is a design defect," says Fowler’s lawsuit.

Fowler is seeking $60 million from Zondervan, alleging their Bibles refer to homosexuality as a sin have made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment." He is seeking $10 million from Thomas Nelson.

The suit against Zondervan claims 1982 and 1987 editions of the publisher’s Bible declare homosexuality to be wrong in 1 Corinthians 6:9:"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."

Fowler claims the term was edited out of the 1989 and 1994 editions, but consumers were not informed.

"This misrepresentation is a willful and deliberate tort. Fraudulently imposing a written defamation or libel in order to prevent me from marrying someone of the same sex in this state," his lawsuit states. "This obvious coerced method of mind control and social dictatorship violates the religious [sacred] laws which prevent anyone from adding to the Biblical scriptures or from taking any words away from the text."

Fowler levels similar allegations against Thomas Nelson regarding the company’s earlier versions of the New King James Bible.

The intent of the publisher was to promulgate a point of view to cause "me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence ... including murder," the lawsuit states.

Fowler said the editions of the Bibles he cites have destroyed his relationship with his family who refuses to support him because the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.

What do you think? Should the publishers of Bibles be held accountable for the pain inflicted by what many readers consider to be God’s word?
11th-Jul-2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
This made my day and week, could make my month and will make my decade, if he wins. However, seriously, if you're taking that approach, you'd better bring up how Leviticus says you should kill the faggots.
11th-Jul-2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I should laugh, cry, or shake my head in disbelief.

While I have to admit this guy might have a leg to stand on, it's no different than those publications that promote the hatred of those of differing ethnic or religious backgrounds.

Honestly, this the toughest thing about me being gay; holding on to my religion and trying to justify my homosexuality.

It's a tough call.
11th-Jul-2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
Now I am intrigued - I mean coming across an English-speaking gay man (are you American?) who hasn't become an atheist yet. Why should you "justify" your homosexuality? I am a Christian, and I just accept it as a fact that has nothing to do with religion - am I unconventional or what?
11th-Jul-2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
That is unbelievably funny, and I deeply sympathise with the idea, but I'd have to say I'm against holding publishers liable for the contents of the books they publish.

The contents of that book are the creation, and, therefore, the problem of the author(s), not the publisher; while the publisher did choose to put out and promote the book, the original author(s) were the ones who thought up and/or wrote down the hateful, stupid ideas. If only it were possible to bring that action against the author(s)....

This sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'd hate to live in a world where publishers were afraid to publish something because of possibly being held liable if it annoys, offends, or perturbs someone. <3 freedom of speech :)
11th-Jul-2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
The publishers are responsible for the translations, though.

After all, the source material hasn't changed (in the last several centuries, at least) but they're editing and changing their translations of it.

I'd kind of like to see their shitty translation methods explained in court.

I took a Bible studies class in college (approaching it like literature, not in a devotional sense) and learned that in the earliest available texts, homosexuality is not "an abomination" as current translations read, but merely on the level of eating pork or fucking a woman who's on the rag. It's "unclean."

Not that I give a shit what bronze-age tribesmen have to say about it, anyway.
11th-Jul-2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
> The publishers are responsible for the translations, though.

See, that's the part I didn't know, 'cause I'm not generally given to reading that particular book. I figgered some idiot got hold of it, added a few "thous" and "thees" and a "sodomy will get your face melted clean off by Satan" and then sent it to a publisher. Bad me.

Either way, I've always been a big fan of the "kill them all, and start over with amoebas" theory of social discourse.
11th-Jul-2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
shouldn't he be suing the translators/editors, not the publishers?

we all know it'll never go anywhere with all the fundies infecting the judicial branch, unfortunately...

the bible has ruined a fuckton of lives tho, so a guy can dream...
11th-Jul-2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
I have always said that, if there were no religion, the haters would always find something to back up their hate. I'm not much of a Bible lover, but still this doesn't really hold water for me.
11th-Jul-2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
If this hits the mainstream media, expect CONgress to pass a law exempting publishers of religious texts from legal actions. And just in time for the fall election where everyone can grandstand and decry the sinful homosexuals and their agenda-- just great.
11th-Jul-2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
This is intriguing the bejeezus outta me...
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