$70 million being asked for emotional distress because homosexuality cast as sin
A homosexual man who has a blog on Sen. Barack Obama's campaign website is suing two major Christian publishers for violating his constitutional rights and causing emotional pain, because the Bible versions they publish refer to homosexuality as a sin.
Bradley LaShawn Fowler, 39, of Canton, Mich., is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and another $10 million from Thomas Nelson Publishing in lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press reported.
Fowler filed his claim against Grand Rapids-based Zondervan Monday, alleging its Bibles' references to homosexuality as a sin have made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment," the paper said.
He filed suit against Tennessee publisher Thomas Nelson in June.
Zondervan says that even if Fowler's claim is credible, he's suing the wrong party. A company spokesman told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids that Zondervan doesn't translate the Bible or own the copyright for any of the translations but relies, instead, on the "scholarly judgment of credible translation committees."
U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. refused Monday to appoint an attorney to represent Fowler in the Thomas Nelson case, saying the court "has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims."
Fowler, who is representing himself in both lawsuits, says in his complaint against Zondervan that the publisher intended to design a religious, sacred document to reflect an individual opinion or a group's conclusion to cause "me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence ... including murder."
Fowler alleges both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, with its King James Bible, manipulated Scripture without informing the public by using the term "homosexuals" in a New Testament passage, 1 Corinthians 6:9.
He told the Grand Rapids TV station in an interview he wants to "compensate for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability."
Zondervan, he contended, is misinterpreting the Bible.
"These are opinions based on the publishers," Fowler said. "And they are being embedded in the religious structure as a way of life."
Fowler's blog on Sen. Barack Obama's campaign website features a post titled "Unleashing America from Injustice," in which he says he "was completely distraught after discovering the term-homosexual-was added to the bible, in 1976, and then removed, in 2001 and 2006, without any consideration to the many victims who committed suicide or were murdered because of their sexual preference of homosexuality."
[The Obama campaign notes the opinions expressed in its community blog section "in no way should be interpreted as endorsed or approved by the campaign."]
On a separate personal blogsite, Fowler features his related book, written under the name "Bradley-Almighty," which, he boasts, contains "astounding research from within the pages of the bible, that will change the face of religion across the globe."
Titled "365 Reason's to Study the Bible," he says his "debut book" takes the reader "on a journey through time, as he shifts swiftly, yet gracefully, through the pages of religious history, slowly exposing hidden secrets bible publishers have fought- feverishly to keep hidden from the general public for centuries. An avalanche of secrets that are keeping millions around the world enslaved today."
Fowler cites his interview with a newspaper called Michigan Front Page in which he said, "Lack of sincerity from bible readers has helped this conspiracy go on this long."
'Engrossed' with Scripture
On his personal blog's "About Me" page, Fowler says that while serving a sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections, he "gained a sincere interest" in the Bible's teachings and, over a 10 year period, "became so engrossed within" the Scriptures, he couldn't do much more than eat and sleep.
In the rambling piece, he says "everything inside of me suddenly became consumed and overwhelmed by something greater than me ... that's when I found God."
Then, in an apparent reference to the complaint in his lawsuit, he says, "Discovering how much the bible has been changed through man's decisions and incorrect interpretations was hard to accept."
His discovery, he says, "proves we all have been strung along, foolishly, lost in the essence of our minds."
Fowler concludes with a description of himself as a "small business owner, part-time college student, member of the Christian Writer's Guild, freelance writer for the Michigan Front Page, and author of two new books."
Fowler, notes a post by JoAnne Thomas on RightPundits.com, explained his complaint on his blog. He writes:
"In 1970, I Corinthians 6:9 read as followed-
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.
In 1982 ,the same scripture read like this-
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites.
In 2001 the same scripture reads like this-
Surely you know that the people who do wrong will not inherit God’s kingdom. Do not be fooled, those who sin sexually, worship idols, take part in adultery, those who are male prostitutes, or men who have sexual relations with other men, those who steal, are greedy, get drunk, lie about others, or rob these people will not inherit God’s kingdom."
*original post from WorldNet Daily, posted 07/09/08