Sacrilegious Selfies: Pennsylvania Teen Arrested For “Desecrating” Jesus Statue In Sexual Pose

jesusstatueloveincbedfordThere is an interesting case that in Pennsylvania where an unnamed teen is charged with “desecration” of a statue of Jesus in front of the Love in the Name of Christ, a Christian organization in Everett, Pennsylvania. The charge against the 14-year-old raises significant first amendment questions in the alleged desecration of a venerated object. He could be (unlikely) jailed for two jails for insulting a religious statue, something that contravenes free speech and establishment principles as well as vagueness issues. Warning: some viewers may find the picture below disturbing.

“Desecration” is defined in Pennsylvania as “Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise, physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.” What on Earth does “physically mistreating” mean with a statue? The addition of “otherwise” to “defacing, damaging, polluting” adds another element of ambiguity and vagueness.

That fact that this was a religious statue seems to be motivating the charge. It seems unlikely that the teen would have been charged in the same way with a frog or dog statue. None of these excuses his actions, of course. His conduct was obnoxious and disgraceful. Unfortunately, those terms could be in the dictionary under “teenager.”

While there will be pressure to get the teen to plead out, the law appears ripe for an either as applied or facial challenge.


Kudos: Michael Blott

146 thoughts on “Sacrilegious Selfies: Pennsylvania Teen Arrested For “Desecrating” Jesus Statue In Sexual Pose

  1. Tasteless, depraved, and as protected as any other act which could be considered “speach”.

    I am surprised simple Tresspass was not charged instead, although as problematic it does not raise easily defended constitutional issues.

  2. By all means somebody call the ACLU because we sure don ‘t want our teenagers to feel they ought to respect anything. For a follow -up, maybe the little pervert can go and write something dirty on tbe Flight 93 Memorial.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  3. By all means somebody call the ACLU because we sure don ‘t want our teenagers to feel they ought to respect anything

    This from a person who uses a name most think is very offensive to most normal people. Maybe Eva Braun might be a better name to use instead. While the picture is offensive to many, it did not result in any damage other than to some sensibilities. Any charges are absurd and is no business of the state. We are simply following Putin’s lead in this, and it is un-American.

  4. He acted stupidly, i.e. like a teenager. This is behavior for his parents to address. He did not vandalize it, maybe trespass as someone suggested if it was posted but since it is a church property I would think it is open for folks to walk over to the statue.

  5. Dropping deadly explosive bombs on defenseless people is far more offensive. But this young man is easy to arrest and punish. The military industrial complex is a bigger challenge.

  6. Turley, ever the anti-Theist, gets it wrong again. While one could argue that the worthless piece of crap’s right to free speech was violated, one cannot on the face of it, claim that the law in question violates the Establishment Clause just because it was a religious icon that this filth desecrated.

    To claim a violation of the Establishment Clause one would have to show a pattern of unequal enforcement of the law in question that favored one particular religion or a small group of them.

  7. @Squeeky Fromm “Please check the spelling. I am sure you will then admit your error.” Yes, you are clearly rite. Becuz changing the spelling–espeshully in ways that dont affect pronunciashun–totally means that your screenname has NUTHING to do with an infamous person who tried to assassinate a US president.

    Well done, you. You are indeed a clever, incisive individual.

  8. People have been attaching basketballs to the hand of the MLK statue in Charlotte–to make it look like he’s dribbling a ball–for decades. As far as I know the only charges ever brought have been minor ones for vandalism.

    I’m not sure how a “desecration” law is constitutional, whether or not the object is a religious one. On the face of it, it’s a law against offending people, which is ridiculous.

  9. doglover
    Dropping deadly explosive bombs on defenseless people is far more offensive. But this young man is easy to arrest and punish. The military industrial complex is a bigger challenge.
    Wow, that escalated really fast. I mean, really, really quickly.

    I think there’s a middle ground between the depraved acts by this young boy and the military industrial complex.

  10. @jonalan

    So you think JT is wrong in speculating that religious sentiment may be a motivating factor in charging this teen? I think he is spot-on. This particular law has rarely been enforced, and on those occasions in which it has it involved religious symbols. It is not anti-theist behavior to point this out. You think the authorities would have charged the teen – who exercised very poor judgement in this instance – had he done the same with a non-religious statue? I suspect not. The young man should be subject to consequences. But these should not follow from the selective enforcement of a law that almost certainly runs afoul of the free speech clause of the U.S. Constitution.

  11. What I find particularly obnoxious is those who are in favor of doing something to this kid are the same ones who denounce Putin for prosecuting Pussy Riot and throwing them in prison for two years. They need to leave the US and go to Russia where their co-thinkers if you can call them thinkers hold sway.

  12. I found the applicable statute in PA here:

    Where desecration is defined as: “”Desecrate.” Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action. – See more at:

    The first issue is the interesting twist in PA that a ‘misdemeanor’ in the 2nd degree carries with it a potential prison term of 2 years. I always think of the felony/misdemeanor threshold as being 1 year potential loss of liberty.

    Notwithstanding the statute has a clear role in protecting against unwanted vandalism, think Nazis defacing a synagogue with swastikas, potentially even burning crosses on people’s lawns, or, as the statute specifically contemplates, desecration of gravesites.

    Of course, the challenge here is whether or not the statute, as applied, is OVERBROAD such as to infringe on I Amendment rights where there isn’t actually a physical defacement (the article does not note any physical defacement)

  13. I would think that any person taking a photo of a person giving an obscene gesture to that statute could also be prosecuted under this law. Thus I think that the law is WAY overbroad and absurd.

  14. From the photo itself I do not see any damage to the statue. If it is not damaged then what did he do other than defame perhaps a piece of stone. If he broke something then its a different story. I think that the prosecution is facially weak. Some people think that Jesus was bent. This guy is just exercising his First Amendment right to exercise his religion. There are several prongs to the First Amendment and the free speech prong should never be confused with the free exercise prong. And if this guy got his prong up by ambulating with Jesus it is ok. As long as Jesus is not on the cross when he is doing it. Then it would be a prior restraint issue.

  15. The statue is not “vandalized.” When the little a-hole leaves the statue is status quo. I pray to Jesus daily. I have long felt both he and his Father have a sense of humor. That’s why they imbued most of us w/ one. Some must have gotten in the wrong line. The same hold true to common sense. Here’s one thing anyone who truly believes in Jesus will admit. He forgives this doofus.

  16. If he is smart he is going to want to plead out. A jury trial is out of the question, they will hang him.
    There was a case in Britain where some teen peed on a national war memorial. Cannot remember what they finally convicted him of, but he was ripe for hanging for awhile.

  17. If the state wants to risk this matter going to the appellate level and the statute being struck down as being unconstitutionally vague then it will suffer the benefits of doing so. Wasting a lot of time and resources for a predictable outcome, not to mention the possibility of the legislature needing to enact corrective law.

    This is another example of rushing to a criminal prosecution for something that is truly not worth the effort and as a result the situation mushrooms into a large ordeal. It would have just been better to not go down this road.

  18. Oh geee let’s hope the terrible Russians don’t get wind and start all that Pussy Rioting nonsense that we did to them when those talentle$$ slut$ went on the CIA managed rampage in Orthodox Russia’s holiest of holies. Of course that there Rusky “Jesus” would hardly be the same as our Mercan Jesus…or?

  19. If corporations have free speech and religious rights, I would think this guy’s artistic statement would be protected, other than possible trespassing issues.

  20. A non-sequitur, assuming arguendo that the statute were valid as applied, and I don’t believe that inasmuch as I opine that its clearly overbroad, the statute would still apply to this individual’s conduct if he were an agent of a corporation, ie. if the corporation were vicariously liable for his actions, that fact wouldn’t excuse the conduct.

  21. If Christians obeyed the Second Commandment and had not made a graven image of the living Lord we would not be having this conversation.

    I speak as a born-again Christian who loves the Lord Jesus Christ. What the kid did was disrespectful and in poor taste, but it should not be a crime. Believe me, God is big enough to take care of himself, and what he really wants is our faith in Him, not worshipping a statue. I would challenge the law on Establishment Clause and vagueness grounds.

    Not everything that is immoral has to be a crime.

  22. A part of Benjamin Franklin’s creed says, “That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.”

    And Mahatma Gandhi said, “Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.”

    This young man’s actions while repugnant, should be protected up to the point they violate the unalienable rights of another. Give him a broom and trash barrel and have him walk in front of the last float at the next Christmas parade. Any further punishment will come at the appropriate time.

  23. Sounds like a hate crime to me. No doubt if he did this to synagogue or a mosque, we wouldn’t be discussing “freedom of Speech”.

  24. rcocean, yes we would. It is my understanding his conduct did not involve damage to any property. It may not have even involved trespassing if the area was open by the owners to members of the public. I agree his conduct was disrespectful towards a particular group of people, and if I were his parent he would pay a price for that disrespect. The same price he would pay for similarly disrespectful conduct towards anyone else. However, expressions of disrespect or contempt are protected by the First Amendment against state sanction.

  25. So he’s playing leap frog. It’s usually played by younger children, so he probably couldn’t find anyone his age to play. He found “someone” willing to let him leap.

  26. Is there ever a need, a place or a time for discipline?

    Did the Roman Empire disintegrate from a lack of discipline?

    Would discipline be apropos for America?

    Is there a time when chaos and anarchy are appropriate?

    Oh, I forgot. America endures multiculturalism…oops! I mean “enjoys.”

    Be divided and be conquered.

  27. Well, all one has to do is go down to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle and look at how frequently the statues there are defaced. The statues were offended when dressed up as Elvis Presley, Hawaiian Dancers or Hipsters. Being offended is cause for criminal prosecutions in the minds of too many. If statues could talk would we deface them?

    Here is an example of the horror in Fremont

  28. There is an oversize (in all aspects of the word) male nude in downtown Phoenix. He is regularly given a jersey if one of the local teams makes the playoffs.

  29. I’m not sure this has anything at all to do with freedom of speech. To wit, this Irish Poem:

    Primal Facial???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    When discussing the Founder’s intent,
    Is humping a statue what’s meant- – –
    By Freedom of Speech,
    Or is that over reach???
    Just something a lawyer’d invent.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  30. OK
    So, you can draw pictures of Mohammad, desecrating his image, even in humorous ways in America and not be arrested for posting them but… get caught in a photo of you simulating oral sex with a Jesus statue and you face charges of ‘desecration’ ?

  31. My father told me of how he and his fellow MIT students would put a dress on the statue of Harvard to piss off the Harvard students. I don’t think he should have been charged for criminal mischief if they had been caught. Now the Harvard students would have had a different take on that I am sure.

  32. “His conduct was obnoxious and disgraceful. Unfortunately, those terms could be in the dictionary under “teenager.”

    Truly. While I find his actions distasteful and really pretty stupid, it does seem overkill to charge him with desecration.

    HOWEVER…under the letter of the law “Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise, physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action”. It does seem that he desecrated the statue. If it were a statue of another religious figure, Mohammed (I know… statues….ok a Koran then) or a respected cultural icon such as ML King and the statue was treated like the Cardiff Kook (very funny photos btw) people would be screaming about the outrage to the sensibilities. Is this law is applied equally to all offensive and outrageous actions? Or have they just picked this one instance?

    Perhaps Pennsylvania should reconsider rewording and clarifying their statue and how it affects the statues. :-) And consider the First Amendment was not written to protect our sensibilities.

  33. DBQ, PC people think there is an Amendment SOMEWHERE, that says people, err, certain people, have a right to not of offended. They can kiss my ass right downtown!! And, I’m just warming up.

  34. Leave it up to a bunch of lawyers to make a “federal case” out of a teenager’s stupid, tasteless prank. Discipline should be meted out by his parents. And their response will play a major part in his transition from kid to adult.

    Although, he’s already showing a tendency toward a specific profession…

  35. It was rude and disrespectful. But it was the kind of rude and disrespectful that should result in getting grounded by his parents or writing an essay about respect and humor and how that can both be in the same sentence (and picture). If people wish to insult others beliefs, they should be identified and people can think what they wish about the character of that person. Siccing the law on them gives them a platform, but if the ‘humor’ is merely disseminated, then it gives everyone a look at the character of the person doing it without any reflexive justification of it being a free speech issue. Yes, he said what he thinks and he is a foolish young man who isn’t as funny as he thinks he is. But now he has somehow become the poster boy for free speech? (and OH! that’s what he wants to be remembered for when he is an actual adult and has to find a job or teach his kids manners!)

    It was a stupid arrest. Show the kids face in a billboard doing that. That’s free speech too! Want the father of the woman you want to marry to see what kind of a person you are? How about potential employers? Now, since he is charged and a minor, HE is protected.

  36. Michelle – given the statute they are arresting him under I think they have a case. He is lucky he won’t be labelled for life as a sex offender.

  37. Corporal Canuck – the photo will be shown to the jury. Why shouldn’t I see for myself. The question is not whether I am offended, rather is it against the law. And I think it appears to be against the law.

  38. gary – I have often thought retroactive abortion was a good idea, however, I cannot get anyone to go along with me.:)

  39. Wow, I’m as irreligious as they get, and that offended me. I don’t see how it is a criminal offense, but it sure is beyond bad taste. As for it being a “hate crime” as one suggested, doesn’t it have to injure someone?

  40. @Paul C. Schulte

    I know they are covered if there is any damage. Was this statue damaged in any way? I would argue vigorously for a hate crime if the statue was marred in any way, regardless of the religious affiliation.

  41. I love it We have all lost our sense of humor of what it means to be young and dumb.
    I wounder would the same approach be taken if it was a statue of Lucifer??

    Besides what would Jesus do LOL

  42. Up next:
    Arresting young girls for huliganism wearing balaclava’s singing protest songs from an alter in some American Cathederal…

  43. This shows the difference between an idol and a spiritual teacher. The young man teaches that idols are not gods. They are projections of human ego. If you identify with either the statue or the young man, you create illusory ground and ensnare yourself.

  44. @ Maxcat

    I agree that this should be a non-issue.. BUT….here is the text of the law.

    ““Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise, physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action”

    It doesn’t say that the object has to be damaged. Just physically mistreated. This could mean dressing the statue up, putting make up on it and simulating sexual acts. This would be….according to the law….desecration without actually damaging the item. Just like making offensive pictures of Mohammad is offensive to Muslims, without damaging anything physically. Personally…..I’m for the right to make the cartoons and as offended as I may be about the photo of the statue of Jesus…..I think that he has the right to make the photo. (Dumb as it is)

    If you are going to use this for one object/statue/venerated item…then it needs to be equally applied to all instances.

    The problem is that you are now in a very vague area where the right to express yourself can be suppressed because of people’s “sensibilities”. Our sensibilities do not trump the First Amendment. This is why people can burn the American Flag even though it offends the “sensibilities” of many. Having imaginary oral sex with Jesus is pretty offensive too. Maybe some people’s sensitivity to the Flag is as strong as Christian’s sensitivity to the oral sex with Jesus. Equal justice under the laws. We can’t pick and choose based on what we personally find objectionable. I personally find both objectionable….but….I didn’t write the laws and the courts found that burning the flag is acceptable.

    So…on a law blog… we can agree that this is the wording of the law even though it doesn’t seem to make sense. Perhaps the law needs to be reviewed. Clarified and applied equally. Equal opportunity offensive offenders.

    Also…people just need to lighten up.

  45. DBQ

    All things being equal (or unequal, as some religion’s desecration wouldn’t rise to this level of outrage), I’d go with the First Amendment, unless and until there is actual damage.
    Still, this is, if the law is applied in the gray area where it can be, a great opportunity for community service at several religious orders.

  46. The kid’s actions were rude, immaturre and insensitive, but the statute is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Besides, sensitivities were made to be outraged. If the kid takes a plea, it won’t be based on sound legal advice, but on community pressure.

    In Winter Garden, Florida, a small town near Orlando, the mayor had a resident removed by the police from a city commission meeting several weeks ago. The gentleman’s offense was refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, a despicable act that apparently outraged the mayor’s sensitivities. Most tyranny is local.

  47. I don’t get the giant leap to assuming it was a hate crime. He’s a teenage boy. As others have pointed out, obnoxious could be part of the definition of teenager, along with thoughtless and disrespectful. Do you really think he gave it any more thought than, “this will be really funny”? Is there is evidence to suggest his intent was hateful?
    If he is being charged merely because it is a religious statue, then the state has no business addressing the issue.
    Here’s something to ponder … if he had posted no photo but instead had gone into the confession box with what he done, what would have been the outcome?

  48. Eileen Ninetynine – have you stopped to think that the process that got the kid to “this would be very funny” is what constitutes the hate crime?

  49. I’m sure god is laughing at this whole farce, and guffaws over what the kid did. There are some mighty big horrors in this world that we should worry about instead. For this little event, humor is the appropriate response, just as the kid intended.

  50. Eileen – personally, I think “The Pi** Christ” constitutes a hate crime but it does seem to fall under protected artistic expression. For this kid to think his act was funny means that he has a total disregard for the religion he is ‘polluting.’ That total disregard constitutes a hate crime in utero. His acting on his total disregard raised it to actual hate crime.

  51. Paul, You’re assuming a fact not in evidence which is why hate crimes are wrong. If I were betting, I would say this kid’s motivation was to disparage Jesus and Christianity. But, he may just have seen a statue of a man ripe for an obscene selfie. I would not even consider a white person yelling “nigger” as they beat a black person or a black person yelling “white honky trash” as being dispositive of a hate crime. In a fit of rage you are going to yell the words most hurtful. Hate crimes are a codification of PC and must be eliminated.

  52. Nobody wants to bring up the ‘homo’ issue huh? Well, if you’re not ‘gay and love Jesus’ it makes it more offensive. But yes, trespass only and ‘Whack his pp!’ (courtesy of Cheech & Chong)

  53. Nick and Eileen – actions speak louder than words. A picture is worth 1000 words. And I said a specific religion, not all religions. We do have at least one commenter on here who hates all religions.

  54. traveling limey – OK, I’ll bite…Other than the totally smarmy pose that the sculptor put Jesus in, that Jesus is definitely a handsome Jewish man, and if he were up for it, I’d start with a kiss and hugs…and see where it went from there. All the religious folk like to pretend that the guy was a sexless prude, but that doesn’t seem very godlike to me. I prefer to think that he would be capable of a relationship with another human being, and would be capable of deep sexual intimacy.

  55. “Is there a difference between disparaging a religion and disparaging people?”

    “of course there is. Goes without saying”

    Then tell me, what says the religion about the matter? Is it offended? Does it feel it has been hated upon?

  56. Nick Spinelli – Well I don’t know the kid’s motivation, but I suspect – having been 14 years old at one time – that his mind was on sex 24/7/365 and it appeared to him that the statue was just asking for it. He couldn’t resist the thrill. He would have done the same sort of thing to a statue of a doG, or George Washington. Being irreverent is nowhere near as serious as being disparaging.

  57. Paul Schulte, I think you are going way overboard here – ascribing malice where only youthful exuberance was present. I see nothing darkly evil in this kid’s humorous stunt. The church where it happened doesn’t even want to press charges; they don’t seem to feel greviously wronged. They probably feel that god is capable of standing up for himself if he wishes. No need for you to try to hurt the kid by bearing false witness. Lighten up, man!

  58. On the surface I’d dismiss it as a typical obnoxious teenage prank. On a deeper level I’d see it as an expression of misogyny.
    If you are trying to snare me into admitting that both incidents would be acts of bigotry, we have already established that acts against people are different than acts against a philosophy.

  59. Eileen – we are talking about your reaction to this young man doing the same thing to a statue of a secular woman, say Rosa Parks?

  60. Eileen Ninetynine – I like your depth of thinking and unrelenting common sense. It is a pleasure to see the quality of your engagement in this issue. My own impulses tend toward the snarky, as I don’t see how this is actually a serious event – other than to Bill Higgins, the Bedford County district attorney who is so anxious to crush this kid in order in furtherance of his political ambitions. In my opinion, Bill HIggins actions are immoral and despicable and abuse of his position. Regarding the prosecution of the kid, a church spokesman said, “It’s really sad. It’s just sad.”

  61. Paul C. Schulte – I cannot fathom why you brought Ray Rice’s wife into this discussion. That is a truly awful thing that happened to her, and deserving of condemnation, but it does not seem relevant to this plaster statue controversy. I think we should agree to keep her out of this discussion, OK?

  62. Olly, perhaps that 14-year old kid was taught by those priests, eh? That might explain how he thought it was ok to approach the statue as he did.

  63. 100 posts about a teenage selfie should be all we need to know about the culture we live in. 100 years ago (forget the camera), this boy would be pummeled by any adult within view and then turned over to his parents for round 2. He would then be publicly shamed. He might regain a bit of his dignity back by doing community service.

  64. Eileen – I wish that were my kid. Yeah, I’d be critical of what he did, but then I’d turn around and say, “There’s a bigger issue here, son. I’ll stand behind you 100% if you want to fight this SOB Bill Higgins, and the ACLU will stand with us. This will not be easy on you, but sometimes it’s important to fight. If you take this on, it could be one of the most important things you do in your life. You will be fighting for the very principles that our nation was built upon, and which distinguishes our nation from most of the others in this world. I’d be proud to be with you all the way on this.”

  65. Olly – There are two issues. #1 is what he did, and #2 is the issue of free speech. What he did is trivial, as offensive as it may be to some (or many), but his legal right to do so is now the issue, and that is far from trivial. The concept of freedom of speech is part of the bedrock of our strength as a nation. Cases such as this test our commitment to our Constitution. Far too much blood has been spilt in furtherance of our freedoms to let them now be abandoned to an ambitious district attorney in Everett, PA.

  66. Eileen – Oh yes, how right you are about that. It is a shocking eye-opener to go back to the newspapers published during the time that our Constitution and Bill of Rights were being hammered out. The fierce determination of the framers of those documents to separate church and state is astonishing. (Off the subject…the debate about militias and the right to bear arms that took place at that time clarifies the 2nd Amendment as none of our current discussions ever can. We have totally twisted the meaning of that amendment.)

  67. Olly, our survival depends upon evolution. Sadly, we are not catching on quickly enough. To throw our hands in the air and say humanity doesn’t evolve is part of the problem.

    Also, just because it doesn’t evolve, doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t.

  68. Olly – I don’t know how old you are. I’m 67, and when I look at kids and young adults now, I think I see significant changes in human nature. So many of the things I’ve dreamed of since I was five years old have started to come to pass. I am so much encouraged by how those kids see others, how they see the world and their place in it, and how they interpret tradition. I wish I could live yet another lifetime to see what transpires over the next 70 years or so.

  69. Eileen, Olly and Paul, it’s been a privilege to talk this morning and to have our disagreements and agreements. I have to step away now. My best to you all.

  70. Eileen – you still have not answered how you would react if this kid was doing that to a statue of a secular woman, say Rosa Parks.

  71. Eileen – historically history does not have to be re-written to make this a Christian nation, it has always been a majority Christian nation.

  72. umm yes, I did. You still have not answered this

    “Is there a difference between disparaging a religion and disparaging people?”

    “of course there is. Goes without saying”

    Then tell me, what says the religion about the matter? Is it offended? Does it feel it has been hated upon?

  73. Eileen – you did not answer the question, you reframed it and then answered that one.

    The answer to your second question is that the religion does not have to say anything. The act is covered by the criminal law of the state. So the state takes over. However, just as people speak for corporations and governments, there are also those who speak for religions. It would depend on the particular religion and the person speaking for them.

  74. Eileen and Tomchi,
    History has proven the fatal mistake for every culture is in equating advances in society as also advances in human nature. Every one of us is one natural disaster away from exposing our natural instincts. And every politician is one election cycle away from corruptibility.

  75. Olly – isn’t Pelosi the one who said we have to pass it to find out what’s in it? And what is her degree in?

  76. Olly – just found out. Her degree is in political science. Of course she can tell the end of Western civilization.

  77. Nancy all leathered up! Meooow! I bet she whipped Maher in the dressing room and did a whole dominatrix routine on that smarmy hypocritical midget.

  78. So what will it take to bring back the lost art of critical-thinking?

    ““Emergency” is not used here in the usual sense of a threat of an imminent attack or of an impending economic crisis. It refers instead to the dangerous character of the opposition and to the possibility that the opposition might win power.”

  79. I am so outraged by his arrest that I am using the picture my profile image on Facebook to show my support for his Free Speech rights.

    The teenager was arrested after someone complained to the district attorney’s office (who filed the charges) and forwarded them to the state police in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Bill Higgins, the Bedford County district attorney, is exploiting this incident claiming it is an “Attack on Christianity”.

    Not only is this a gross waste of taxpayer’s money, it violates the youth’s right to his own freedom of religion and free speech because they are persecuting him for having and expressing beliefs that merely differ from theirs.

    Establishment Clause*
    The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from interfering with individual religious beliefs. The government cannot enact laws aiding any religion or establishing an official state religion. The courts have interpreted the Establishment Clause to accomplish the separation of church and state on both the national and state levels of government. The authors of the First Amendment drafted the Establishment Clause to address the problem of government sponsorship and support of religious activity. *from The Free Dictionary

  80. John – I’m with you 100% on this. Others would prefer to spend taxpayer money to carry out the prosecution, trampling his freedom of expression; and then spend another $70,000 of taxpayer money to house him in a detention facility for two years. Bill Higgins should be removed from his position for stepping on this boy for his own political gain.

  81. Everyone in this country that things in our society and communities have gotten so much worse over the last two decades. The more “accepting” we are all TOLD to become, the more un-religious the country becomes the worse our murder rates are, rapes have risen astronomically, more children are abused, more stupid crimes and violence are committed. People HATE Jesus, hate “Bible Thumpers” but no one can factually deny the fact that the more Christian values have been pushed out, the worse things become.
    That picture is nasty. No matter WHO the statue is of. It is innappropriate for any person of any age to take and or show. Period. Get a grip people and draw a line. Have SOme kind of standard.

  82. Dita Logos, no one need be accepting of this conduct. It may warrant a social or parental response. The First Amendment generally does not permit the state to punish individuals merely for expressing contempt or disrespect in a public setting. The answer to ugly speech is more speech, not criminal charges.

  83. Dita Logos – Ummm….you are actually the “factual denier”. Your claims are false. I checked. Quoting Wikipedia’s entry, “Since the 1990s…,crime in the United States has declined steeply.” Using their national crime statistics (which only go to 2012) during the period from 1992 to 2012, murder dropped by 49.5% and forcible Rape dropped by 37.2%​. Violent crime in general dropped 49&. I don’t have child abuse rates. If those drops in crime can be attributed to the decline in Christian values, then I would say we need LESS Christian values rather than more, wouldn’t you? (It is likely they have nothing to do with Christian values.) Criminal behavior and the concealment of criminal activity is carried on by individuals of all religious stripes – including the leaders of mega-churches, Mark Driscoll been a recent example. While some Christians may claim moral behavior, I think they are a bit full of themselves. They are certainly no better than us non-Christians and non-believers who are committed to living our lives ethically and morally.

  84. Dita Logos – …And furthermore…For your Sunday-school assignment – and yes perhaps it is still necessary to go to Sunday school as your age – perhaps you should bone up on the concept of “bearing false witness”. As a Christian, you are obligated to check your “facts” before claiming truth. That’s actually how I learned to be a non-believer. I came home from Sunday school every week and asked my Mom about things that I was being taught that I didn’t think were right, based on my child’s view of morality and ethics. She became alarmed at what I was being taught in Sunday school and took all of us seven kids out of it. Instead, she encouraged us to learn, understand and evaluate – to make our own choices. Religious dogma does not allow a questioning intellect, and that is simply and inarguably wrong – perhaps even evil, as it promotes the fanaticism that causes evil of great proportions.

  85. Dota Logos – At the risk of starting a round of dueling bible quotes, I’ll put this out, though with the disclaimer that I personally do not ascribe to the authority of the bible….
    Proverbs 6:16-19:
    There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

  86. Tomchi – as a Christian you are NOT obligated to check your facts before claiming truth. Pelosi, Reid and Obama all stand witness to what I say.

  87. Actually Paul, being fact challenged is conditioned only on one’s faith in themselves. Any connection with Christianity is merely by coincidence.

  88. Paul, I guess we know what side of the political spectrum you’ve chosen to be in. LOL. A better statement of my position would be that we are ALL obligated to check our facts. Whether or not we correctly state those facts is a different story. Furthermore, some facts are pretty hard-boiled, as in 1+1=2, and other “facts” are up for interpretation, as in the half-empty or half-full glass. Finally, it also depends on linguistics. The language we speak in imparts different meaning to our statements because the language is built from certain linguistic assumptions. Let’s look at what happens if we speak in the C++ computer language. For example, examine this bit of simple C++ computer coding: If x=1, and we apply the incremental operator ++ to perform the operation y=++x, then y becomes 2 and x becomes 2. If we then perform the operation y=x++, then y remains 2, but x is now 3, so from a mathematical standpoint y should have intuitively become 3, though it remains unchanged . For the non-coding person, this looks like some sort of confusing math, but for the programmer, these are just easy-to-understand computer instructions. Things that are “true” from one perspective, may not be true from another perspective. A person may speak honestly from the standpoint of their considered understanding of the facts, whereas another person may take the same facts and come to a different summation because their interpretation – the intellectual language they use – conflicts with that used by the first person. That applies to all of the opinions we have as individuals – and to a lot of politics as well.

  89. Tomchi – my side of the political spectrum is independent. In the last two Presidential elections I voted for Mickey Mouse, who would have made a much better President. I had just read an article on Obama’s top ten lies before responding to your post.

  90. Mickey Mouse, huh, Paul! Kodo’s to that, tho I think I would write in Ron Paul myself, who I don’t consider Republican. (in actions & viewpoint he’s Independant or Libertarian).

  91. Charlie-

    So Christianity is the poison that made this little punk act like a homosexual.To deface not JUST a statue! But disrespected people like me who would fight & die for what that Man did,what that God did! I am not one who is a sheep…I AM LION!!!

    I am of the warriors He spoke of,I am of the House of Issachar/Judah! We are here to bring the reckoning on those who attack His! The ones who are beheading followers in Yehshua the Messiah Christ by Islamic extremist,Chinese military,North Korea,Burhma,Cambodia,the Phillipines,Sudanese & other African Jihadist.We are going to stop Satan’s New World Order! We are here to stop the masters & the creators of this worldly demise.The ones who are of Lucifer’s bloodlines of Cain-Genesis 3:15.The illuminati!

    The Lord’s death,justice & vengeance is coming on all of you who don’t believe or have not accepted Him! You people on this planet have had plenty of time.Now you all attack the greatest people on earth that would take you in,love you,give you a home, clothes & food if you asked.The Lord is coming,the signs have been in the sky like He said such as the blood moons.Everything written in the Bible has came true! Run,hide all you want but you can’t hide from truth! Most of all,you can’t run from Him! The Lord will find you & every knee WILL BOW! And confess He is the Lord!

  92. And Miley Cyrus – that’s okay? rubbing her almost naked butt on against a man’s crotch with millions of teens watching? Yet this teen gets arrested for making a political and societal statement. There’s nothing lewd about this teen’s post – He didn’t expose himself. He didn’t deface anything. His statement is CHRISTIANITY has too much power in politics. It’s obviously true.

  93. So if I stand in front of an abortion clinic with a picture of a dead fetus (a lil distasteful) should I be charged criminaly too. I mean I’m sure that is gonna be offensive to some people. Look our jails already have way to many people in them who shouldnt be there. He didnt steal anything from anyone, he didnt physically harm anyone, and he didnt damage anyones property, I for one can sleep peacefully even with this kid on the street. Go find a rapist or murderer please and stop wasting OUR money on stupid crap like this. Im pretty sure there is noone who would want to whip out there checkbook and pay for this kids prosicution

  94. cetude – exactly how do you know what statement this young man was making? If he was making a statement at all.

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