Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078www.jennifer-roback-morse.com • email: firstname.lastname@example.org • 760/295-9278
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Putting the Bible on Trial
Is the Bible hate speech? Or isBradley Lashawn Fowler a troubledman with a nuisance law suit? Dr.Jennifer Roback Morse looks at thetrends behind this disturbing case.
Bradley Lashawn Fowler, a gay man, claimsthat Christian publishing powerhouses,Zondervan Publishing and Thomas NelsonPublishing infringed his constitutionalrights.Fowler allegesthe companies' bibles'references to homosexuality as a sin madehim an outcast from his family andcontributed to physical discomfort and periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment."According to a local TVstation, "his family's pastor used thatZondervan Bible, and because of it hisfamily considered him a sinner and hesuffered. Now he is asking for an apologyand $60 million, 'to compensate for the past20 years of emotional duress and mentalinstability.'"When I first saw this case, I thought it wasan example of gay activist overreach. But oncloser examination, it looks more like adisturbed guy looking for some combinationof attention and lawsuit winnings. The newsstories make him sound more coherent thanhe sounds on his website.The analysison his website is riddled with
misspellings and illogicalities. Here is averbatim, cut and paste, quotation from hiswebsite, with no changes to his spelling or grammar:"After being raised witha religious background and being taught that being gayor a homosexual was a sin, I learned to keepmy sexual identity hidden. And like so manyother's, who too, feel the same, this state of mind derived from religious up-bringing.That's why I was completely distraught after discovering the term-
was addedto the bible, in 1982, and then removed,in1994 without any consideration to themany victims who committed suicide or were murdered because of their sexual preference of homosexuality."One wag in the blogosphere discovered thatFowler has acriminal recordgoing back tothe 1980's.But the fact that he is neither thesharpest knife in the drawer nor the world'smost respectable plaintiff doesn't make mefeel any better. The court seems prepared totake him seriously. The judge wrote, "Thecourt has some very genuine concerns aboutthe nature and efficacy of these claims."Established, respected publishing houses are being held up for blackmail by theemotional distress of one troubledindividual.It is easy to believe that Bradley Almighty,as he calls himself, was unhappy that peoplearound him regarded homosexual acts assinful. What is not so easy to understand iswhy people in general and homosexuals in particular should be protected from everyinstance of bad feelings. What, if anything,makes the Zondervan and Nelson publishing