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Gay Texas Teen Suspended From School For Tearing Out Bible Pages from Leviticus

Isaiah Smith, an out gay student in Texas's Birdville Independent School District was suspended for ripping pages from his personal Bible during a first period class. The action, which took place on October 28th, was meant to be a protest against the invocation of theology in condemning homosexuality. Smith, a Christian, does not believe that the oft-cited biblical verses in Leviticus, hurled at him by classmates and political leaders alike, have anything to say against his sexual orientation. 

Now, The American Humanist Association has gotten involved, penning a letter to the school district arguing for Smith's first amendment rights to trump the suspension.

Isaiah smithHuffPost reports:

...Smith was subsequently sent to the assistant principal's office, who told him that though he could continue carrying around the ripped Bible, he shouldn't tear out any more pages.

However, on Wednesday the assistant principal reportedly called him into his office again to reprimand him for carrying the torn book and asked, "How would Muslims feel if a student was tearing up the Qur-an?” He was then suspended for three days and had his Bible confiscated, according to the letter.


“This is a clear violation of Isaiah’s First Amendment rights,” said Monica Miller, an attorney and legal consultant with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the legal arm of the American Humanist Association. “The only explanation for this kind of punishment is that it was religiously motivated, because he expressed different beliefs on the Bible than those held by school officials. There’s no legal basis for that kind of reaction.”

The American Humanist Association has argued that all students should either have no right to carry religious texts, or have the right to carry torn (or intact) versions of the texts of their choice. There are threats of a lawsuit should the appropriate action, including removing the suspension from Smith's record, not be carried out.

Photo via Isaiah Smith Campaign Facebook page.

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  1. See. I iterate, Isn't Religious Freedom an oxymoron?

    Posted by: SFRowGuy | Nov 5, 2013 7:43:29 PM

  2. Religion is poison. "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings" It's your choice.

    Posted by: Geoff | Nov 5, 2013 7:45:37 PM

  3. I understand Texas is a backwards, ignorant hillbilly state that hates personal freedom unless you are a RWNJ gun-nut white male, but what justification do you idiots have suspending this kid when he damaged his PERSONAL bible?

    Posted by: mmike1969 | Nov 5, 2013 7:48:46 PM

  4. Nothin lak sum good ol Texas bigotry to briten up the day!

    Posted by: Michael | Nov 5, 2013 7:51:46 PM

  5. "How would Muslims feel if a student was tearing up the Qur-an?” - Maybe these school officials should instead ask themselves for once in their hateful lives, "How do gays feel when being demonized and attacked relentlessly all around the world by enemies who are so serious, so numerous, and so resistant to remedy?"

    Unfortunately, I think anti-gays are missing the part of the brain that allows one to put themselves in someone else's shoes.

    They're also so infected with anti-gay memes that they deserved a spot on the "Invasion of the Brain Snatchers" special by The Nature of Things.

    Posted by: BlueRingedOctopus | Nov 5, 2013 7:53:01 PM

  6. The school is wrong in every aspect of this matter. If the Bible belongs to the student personally, he can both carry it with him and remove pages as he wishes. These are free exercise matters and they are protected under the First Amendment. Furthermore, confiscating the Bible, is improper. It is not a weapon and does not endanger the safety or well-being of the school and it's occupants. Had it been a Bible in the school library, or any other book in the school library, I would feel differently. That someone is offended by his actions is immaterial.

    Posted by: revchicoucc | Nov 5, 2013 8:09:56 PM

  7. LOL! This Texas size/based train wreck is gonna be fun to watch!

    Posted by: AdamTh | Nov 5, 2013 8:19:31 PM

  8. Illegal

    Posted by: Sean | Nov 5, 2013 8:35:03 PM

  9. I hope this young man gets a good lawyer and sues the school for a simple public apology

    Posted by: MarkBoston | Nov 5, 2013 8:40:18 PM

  10. @MarkBoston: a simple apology is not enough. The school should also compensate him for a loss to his education, including any long term effects on his earning potential.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 5, 2013 8:54:56 PM

  11. As usual you fools in Towleroad don't know what you're talking about. Institutions like schools, the army, the jails and courts all have the legitimate right to control and regulate individual behavior. The school suspended this little jerk because the other students were so offended that it seemed likely to cause trouble. Neither would he be allowed to tear-up a bible (or any other book)while sitting in a courtroom. For that matter, he's not allowed to masturbate in public, either. We don't have UNLIMITED FREEDOM in America. We're not supposed to.

    Posted by: Ernst Rhoem's Ghost | Nov 5, 2013 9:22:17 PM

  12. Clearly, his mistake was failing to shove the book of fairy tales up his Vice Principal's tailpipe.

    Posted by: FFS | Nov 5, 2013 9:30:05 PM

  13. If its HIS Bible, shouldn't he be able to rip out pages from it? I don't see what people are objecting to. Are they against book mutilation in general, or only Bible mutilation? The book didn't belong to the school.

    Posted by: Mary | Nov 5, 2013 10:03:37 PM


    How did you connect the illegality of public masturbation to this young man tearing pages out of his personal bible?

    That must have taken alot of mental gymnastics to connect those two.

    Posted by: jsb | Nov 5, 2013 10:10:40 PM

  15. When I was in 10th grade in NC we had a section on the bible. My parents had to buy me one and I promptly covered it with snoopy contact paper. My teacher was pissed as hell but since my Mom was a teacher there also she did not try anything. It was my little way of making it a joke.

    Posted by: Lane | Nov 5, 2013 10:49:30 PM

  16. He didn't get struck down dead by a bolt of lightening?

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Nov 5, 2013 10:51:24 PM

  17. Thomas Jefferson would have been expelled from this school since he famously edited the Bible by excising the passages with which he disagreed.

    As for Ernst Rhoem's Ghost, don't feed the troll.

    Posted by: nolaramie | Nov 5, 2013 11:48:49 PM

  18. Any time I find a Gideon's Bible in a motel room I do exactly the same thing.

    Got the idea from Sir Ian MacKellen.

    Posted by: KevinVt | Nov 6, 2013 3:35:08 AM

  19. If anybody brought a Koran into that school, there would be an outcry live you've never heard before. Who are they kidding?

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 6, 2013 7:53:50 AM

  20. If the government under the first amendment is not to endorse any one religion, then his suspension for "editing" of the bible is the state punishing someone for expressing his religious belief. On the other hand, because of compulsory education, students shouldn't have to be forced to sit in a class and endure a political argument. That should include his or any other person in the school.

    Posted by: Armando | Nov 6, 2013 8:24:42 AM

  21. This is the very sort of bullying that must be eradicated from our schools - a difficult task when it starts with the principle.

    If anyone needs suspension, it's the principle. He should be relieved of his position.

    Posted by: Mitch | Nov 6, 2013 9:47:09 AM

  22. Also, suspensions are at the digression of school leaders, it sounds like nobody took anything too far.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Nov 6, 2013 9:58:58 AM

  23. Jeeves! Fetch me my fainting couch and clutching pearls (the new ones); I feel an attack of the vapors coming on!

    Never mind; it was just Ernst Rhoem's Ghost. All stink and steam, no substance.

    Posted by: Acronym Jim | Nov 6, 2013 10:49:18 AM

  24. @GEOFF Wonderfully said. May I quote you? That was as succinct and spot-on an assessment of religion as I have ever read.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Nov 6, 2013 11:14:35 AM

  25. High school students who would walk around with a Bible wouldn't be cheered by their fellow students they'd be laughed at. It's as if none of you ever went to high school in the city. He was suspended for disruption. You're buying into this guy's desperate grab for attention. Please research. The world has changed since the 1960s. It's ok to come outside.

    Posted by: Stan Schulz | Nov 6, 2013 12:48:02 PM

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