Arizona man arrested for burning, urinating on Bible

PHOENIX Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:43pm EDT

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - A 22-year-old Arizona man calling himself "Dark Lord" has been arrested for allegedly burning a Bible and urinating on it outside a Christian-oriented homeless shelter in northern Arizona, police said on Friday.

Eric Minerault was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center late on Thursday on suspicion of one count of unlawful symbol burning stemming from the incident at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Prescott police spokesman Lieutenant Ken Morley said in a written statement.

Police were called to the scene at about 9 p.m. by a mission representative reporting that someone was burning something on the mission’s front steps, Morley said.

Officers found Minerault standing on the steps, with a burned and wet Bible on the ground near him. He quickly admitted to the act.

 He told officers the mission was selected because he believed it was a place of Christian worship and he was “cursing the Christians,” police said.

Asked why, officers reported that he said because he was the “Dark Lord.” Minerault was clad in black and was wearing a black-and-red robe and a pentagram necklace.

He remained at the detention center on Friday afternoon on the misdemeanor charge, sheriff’s officials said.

 Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said the arrest raises questions as to whether Minerault’s First Amendment freedom of speech rights were violated.

But Pochoda, who was not familiar with the charge cited, said courts have upheld laws that bar symbols like crosses from being burned.

(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott)

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Comments (12)
Leinad wrote:
Dan Pochoda needs to be familiar with charges before commenting. If somebody was burning the Koran and urinating on it there would become an internet viral story with people all over being outraged!

Aug 30, 2014 10:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Folks like this used to be locked up (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”), and the more I think about it, it was probably a good thing for the rest of us! That is, until all those “do-gooders” took it upon themselves to fix these “transgressions”! They managed to get them all turned loose, and that’s where many of the homeless came from. You know the ones, they wander around talking to themselves loudly . . . a lot!

Aug 30, 2014 5:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dr_Jack0040 wrote:
As a Christian, his actions offend me but I don’t think he should be arrested. I am certain we will see an outrage at the violation of his 1st amendment rights and rightly so. On the other hand, I seem to recall an outrage against some idiot preacher that wanted to burn the Koran in Florida. The media was outraged, law enforcement threatened him, the Internet was ablaze denouncing his plan to burn the holy Koran. Here is my point, burning books is so dark ages. Arresting people for burning books is so dark ages. The media giving idiots a forum is modern day stupidity .

Aug 31, 2014 11:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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