An atheist group says it will tear pages out of a Bible on southern California’s Huntington Pier.
A Christian preacher who often preaches on the beach noted that they chose not to desecrate a Koran — since Christians forgive those who intentionally offend them.
The “Backyard Skeptics,” a group that has put up pro-atheism billboards throughout California’s Orange County, say they want to point out what they call immoral acts in the Bible, reports Jaimee Lynn Fletcher for the Orange County Register newspaper.
They said they would tear out pages of the Bible at the Huntington Beach pier to point out what they say is immorality in the book upon which Christians base their faith and doctrines.
The Backyard Skeptics declared they would rip out pages with specific passages of the Bible that they say portray immoral biblical law, organizers say. The event will be carried on live, streaming video, they said.
“We’re not there to burn the Bible or desecrate,” said Bruce Gleason, director of the group. “There are plenty verses in the Bible that if you did any of those things today, you’d be thrown in jail immediately.”
Group members said they would rip out verses in the Bible such as Deuteronomy 22: 14-31, which tells those living under the pre-Christian Mosaic law that if a man finds his wife not to be a virgin, the community can stone her; or a later verse in the same chapter the Backyard Skeptics say can be interpreted to say that virgins who are raped will be forced to marry their rapist.
Ray Comfort, who often open-air preaches in Huntington Beach and has an evangelical ministry television show with actor Kirk Cameron, told Fletcher that he and the group’s leader are “friendly enemies” who often discuss religion.
“I would seriously like to supply them with a Koran and maybe something Hindu,” he said. “If he wants to make a statement about God, he should spread it around a little and not pick on Christians.”
Comfort added he believes Backyard Skeptics targets Christianity because Christians are taught to “love their enemies.”
Gleason says the demonstration is based loosely on Thomas Jefferson’s Bible – an 86-page book that omits huge chunks of the New Testament, according the Religion News Service. Jefferson’s Bible, which the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is restoring, chronicles Jesus’ life but leaves out the Resurrection and all miracles the Bible says Jesus performed.
“We want to make this a better world for secular and humanistic values,” Gleason said told the Register‘s Fletcher. “We don’t believe prayer works. We don’t believe religion adds anything except a sense of false hope.”