"a good old-fashioned book-burning."

Fire department bars book-burning:

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) -- A church's plan for an old-fashioned book-burning has been thwarted by city and county fire codes.

Preachers and congregations throughout American history have built bonfires and tossed in books and other materials they believed offended God. The Rev. Scott Breedlove, pastor of The Jesus Church, wanted to rekindle that tradition in a July 28 ceremony where books, CDs, videos and clothing would have been thrown into the flames.

Not so fast, city officials said.

"We don't want a situation where people are burning rubbish as a recreational fire," said Brad Brenneman, the fire department's district chief.

Linn County won't go for a fire outside city limits, either. Officials said the county's air quality division prohibits the transporting of materials from the city to the county for burning.

Breedlove said a city fire inspector suggested shredding the offending material, but Breedlove said that wouldn't seem biblical. "I joked with the guy that St. Paul never had to worry about fire codes," Breedlove said.

The new plan calls for members of the church to throw materials into garbage cans and then light candles to symbolically "burn" the material.

Tags: ,

19 Responses:

  1. brad says:

    The new plan calls for members of the church to throw materials into garbage cans and then light candles to symbolically "burn" the material.

    Hahahhahaha. I so want to be there to make fun of that.

  2. filthymonkey says:

    The new plan calls for members of the church to throw materials into garbage cans and then light candles to symbolically "burn" the material.

    Fucking losers. That's retarded.

  3. I want the list of things they "burn" put into an Amazon.com "buy" list. I bet there's some good reading/listening in there...

  4. lars_larsen says:

    Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.

    Alfred Whitney
    Essays on Education

  5. I'm no biblical scholar, but to my knowledge the only things St. Paul ever burned were christians.

  6. 33mhz says:

    You know who else isn't cool about fire safety? SATAN.

  7. crasch says:

    Hahahahaha. Although I think the pastor is a dangerous nut, I'm on his side in this case. Symbolically burning objects has a long tradition as a method of expressing strong objections -- burning flags, burning leaders in effigy, burning books etc. Automobiles, industrial processes, fireplaces, and illicit leaf/trash burning put far more pollution into the air than a few book burnings. I think they're just using the law to shut down the expression of an unpopular opinion.

    • belgand says:

      Burning a book has always seemed quite different to burning a flag or effigy. In that case you're making a purely symbolic statement. There's not any real harm done to the object of scorn. When you burn books though the idea is typically more towards censorship. You're trying to diretly destroy something that you dislike.

      • crasch says:

        If they planned to burn other people's books, you'd have a point. But they're planning to burn books they bought with their own money, right? If so, what business is it of ours if they "directly want to destroy something that [they] dislike." I, for one, want the freedom to burn a copy of "Mein Kampf" or "It Takes A Village" or "The Way Things Out To Be" without being harassed by selective enforcement of environmental regulations.

        • valacosa says:

          Instead of burning "Mein Kampf", read it. The book stands as testimony to how insane Hitler really was.

          I loathe censorship, even with books like this. One of my good (anti-nazi) friends had a school project on Hitler, and used it as a reference. We could literally flip to any page in the book and find anti-semitic ravings. I remember one time we found a sentence that went something like, "Anyone who picks up a Jewish newspaper and doesn't find himself slandered hasn't made effective use of the previous day."

          The thing is just pages and pages of crap like that. Do the powers that be have so little credit in us that they think people would be turned into Nazis by reading the book? It had quite the opposite effect on us.

          I think the saddest thing is, if we were Americans, my friend would have probably ended up on some damned list because he even borrowed "Mein Kampf", assuming it was in a library at all.

          I guess my position on book burning and censorship in general can be summed up like so:
          "A child who is protected from all controversial ideas is as vulnerable as a child who is protected from every germ. The infection, when it comes - and it will come - may overwhelm the system, be it the immune system or the belief system."
          - Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres

          • crasch says:

            Hey, I agree with you--I loathe censorship. Which is why I'm pissed that the pastor was prevented from burning his books. Burning stuff has a long history as a powerful form of expression. Why do you think that American Congresscritters want to pass a constitutional ban on flag-burning? Because burning flags expresses strong disapproval of the policies of the government, as represented by flags.

            As I understand it, the pastor planned to burn books he and his sympathizers bought and paid for with their own money. Therefore, if they want to burn them, that's their right--it's not censorship. It would only be censorship if they planned to burn other people's books without their permission. However, preventing them from burning their own books is censorship. just as it would be a form of censorship to prevent women from burning their bra's, or protestors from burning flags.

            • valacosa says:

              I would argue there is a difference - by burning a flag or effigy, that's just symbolic. Burning a book, on the other hand - historicly, that was done to prevent the spread of information. (I guess the modern day equivalent would be blocking websites) That's the difference: a flag may embody an entity, but it doesn't contain an idea, in words. One is meme assassination, one is not.

              I don't think they should have been stopped from burning books they bought themselves (as long as they didn't buy so many as to prevent those who actually wanted the books from obtaining them), but I think it speaks volumes they were willing to burn books in the first place. Who would want to associate themselves in any way with the zealots of old?

              I really, really hate The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum, but I'm not going to burn that book. I'm going to let it exist so I have proof when I tell people how crappy it is.

              • crasch says:

                Who would want to associate themselves in any way with the zealots of old?

                Oh yeah, I agree -- the pastor is an evil little fascist. I have no sympathy to his ideas. But a lot of people find many of my passions repugnant too. I wouldn't want someone to have the power to prevent me from expressing them.

                ...that's just symbolic.

                Aren't letters just symbols too? Why should words enjoy a privileged position with respect to other forms of symbolic expression? What about other forms of symbolic expression such pictures, movies, music, sculpture, dance, etc? If the books were arranged into piles spelling out "God lives!" before being burned would that make a difference to you?

    • ammonoid says:

      I don't really understand your point of view. Since when is banning a book burning censorship? Or is book burning the new, improved, method of radical free expression?

      Its like, ironic and stuff. And kinda funny, IMHO.

      • crasch says:

        Burning stuff has a long history as a powerful form of expression. Why do you think that American Congresscritters want to pass a constitutional ban on flag-burning? Because burning a nation's flag expresses strong disapproval of the government's policies represented by the flag. Similarly, burning books sends the powerful visual message "These books are bad, bad, bad, and should be destroyed." You and I may find the message repulsive, but that does not change the fact that the message exists.

        The pastor planned to burn books he and his sympathizers bought and paid for with their own money. Preventing them from burning their own books is censorship. just as it would be a form of censorship to prevent women from burning their bra's, or protestors from burning flags. I may strongly disagree with the reasons people want to burn such symbols, but I wholeheartedly support their right to do so.

  8. jabberwokky says:

    I've never quite understood what was so wrong about private book burnings. If I want to burn a flag, an effigy of Ashcroft, a pile of "Are you there God, It's me, Margaret"... it's a protest for what you believe in. More power to you.

    If anything, I'm far more disturbed by them shutting them down. I'm not going to tell you you can't protest, and the government shutting down a bookburning is censorship most vile.

    • 33mhz says:

      If they allowed any private fireworks shows in the city or the county this past 4th, I'd say that the group has a great case on their hands. Otherwise, they just have to suck it up and either go outside the county completely, or teach their congregation about the simple godly joy of chucking shit into an industrial strength shredder or a large tub of strong acid.