Hard On The Bible
At its core, of course, the Bible is a book: pages, signatures, binding, page numbers and paragraphs, leather and gold leaf on the spine. Sir Ian's Gideons are some of the shoddiest books on the market, but they endure, despite page-ripping revisionists. Book lovers are often ready to condemn the cutting or destruction of a book, despite the beauty of the art produced, but this urge for intactness isn't connected to censorship. There's something sacred about the structure of a book itself. A long time ago, a company I worked for was pitched a book-binding machine for doing proposals. The main selling point was that people may throw away some spiral- or comb-bound photocopies, but when it has a hard cover and a spine, it's a book, so it goes on the shelf. It was a strong point: nobody throws away a book.
The Bible, therefore, gets a double-dose of sacredness: its format and its function are all beyond the nature of an inert inanimate object. Of the events above, two of the three aren't exactly censorship. Sir Ian, sadly, is the promoter of censorship: his intent is to alter and remove offending content. While I agree with Ian's take on the offending passage, he is behaving no better than the mystery Tennessee marker-wielder. The other two, however, do result in removal one or more books from circulation, but their intent is different: they are trying to make a point, which is a First Amendment issue. The book-burning church's point, however, is to express their view that some books are unworthy of existing; they've crossed the Nazi line into expressing their intent to purge the world of certain thoughts, which may not be censorship directly, but their intent is clear and downright anti-intellectual. I sympathize with Sir Ian's intent, I refuse to accept the Bible-burning church's intent, but the poor New Zealand student whose art was excluded from her portfolio gets my utter support. Her controversial act was one of creation, and artistic expression. Destroying a book for the purpose of art, despite making me cringe at the demise of a poor unsuspecting tome, is a worthy form of free-speech communication. Tearing out unacceptable pages and burning unacceptable editions are destructive acts, resulting in a lesser form than it started with. Hanahiva Rose, in the act of damaging the book, created art, so she deserves a break, no matter what book she used.