Alex Blaze

Is this activism?

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 26, 2007 4:34 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Charles Merrill, Koran, performance art

Charles Merrill, a really, really rich white gay guy (his late wife was the daughter of one of the Johnsons of Johnson & Johnson and he's the cousin of the Merrill in Merrill Lynch), burned a rare copy of the Koran given to his late wife by the King of Jordan.

Charles Merrill, the artist who recently edited the Holy Bible with a black marker and pair of scissors, has lately burned a rare Islamic Holy Book, The Koran, valued at $60,000.00, in an undisclosed Chicago location. "The purpose of editing and burning Abrahamic Holy Books is to eliminate homophobic hate," Merrill stated. "Both ancient books are terrorist manuals." [...]

"Airplanes are flown into buildings because of words, and hate crimes against gays," Merrill said.

9/11 and Matthew Shepard's murder are the same thing? What?

I just have to point it out: a very rich Westerner burning a Holy book that's important to hundreds of millions of people of color who live in countries that have been colonized, demonized, and brutalized by Western nations for centuries doesn't seem all that much like any sort of social justice activism I know. He may think that atheism is the response to all the world's ills, but does he stop to give any credit to rationalism for its role in developing modern homophobia? Well, he doesn't, and if you ask me this man is doing worse for the image of gay rights activists than any Speedo-clad boy on a Pride float ever will.

I suppose it's all OK when you're just looking to offend. He also protested a federal tax law that didn't let him exclude $500,000 in capital gains by not filing taxes, which actually ended up costing him more money in taxes being withheld, which he paid.

So he's protesting paying too high of taxes by... paying even more taxes? Yeppers.

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Jen Jorczak | July 26, 2007 6:39 PM

Alex, I'm with you. As an activist and as a book lover, that move makes no sense. I'm no theologian, but as far as I know neither the bible nor the koran are intrinsically homophobic--there are just homophobic *interpretations* of certain passages. Burning books = censorship, period. When you think critically and logically, you can learn things even from a book you don't agree with.

Activism, no. Blatant attempt at self-publicity? Yes. As evidenced by the press release he sent to us about this very stunt!

It's nutcases like him who give activists a bad reputation.

beergoggles | July 27, 2007 9:40 AM

Jen, both the bible and the koran are homophobic. Sure, you can be a cafeteria christian or moslem and pick and choose which passages to hold dear, but to deny the existance of passages that condemn gays in those books is denialism of George Bush's magnitude.

And the book burner is an idiot to think destroying historical books will have any effect on anyone's religious outlook considering you can get copies of either book for free and they are so prevalently printed. What a total attention whore.