(Photo: REUTERS/Noor Khamis)
The director of the American Atheists chapter in Pennsylvania is threatening to publicly flog the Quran if the state's House of Representatives does not rescind its new "Year of Religious Diversity" measure before reconvening after summer recess in September.
Ernest Perce of Harrisburg, Pa., says if the House of Representatives refuses to rescind the "Year of Religious Diversity" measure, he will "thrash the Quran with a nine-tail whip 85 times, and a single whip six times" on Sept. 24, when the House reconvenes at the Capitol Rotunda.
The obscure number of floggings is related to the numbers found in HR 771, Perce told PennLive.com
Perce argues that the "Year of Religious Diversity" resolution, passed in early 2012, presents an unconstitutional conflict between church in state because it reads that "these revered books impart great wisdom and beauty to believers and are appreciated and respected by nonbelievers as well."
"I am a nonbeliever and for (the House) to assume we respect these books is asinine," Perce told PennLive.
"I will let other atheists come with me (to protest). I want Christians to lash the Quran, too," he added.
Philly.com reports that it is unclear why Perce has chosen just to target the Quran and no other religious texts, but some critics have suggested that protesting Islam will gain him the most attention.
Previously, controversial pastor Terry Jones of the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., has burned Qurans as a form of protest against Islam.
His 2010 threat to burn a Quran sparked riots in the Middle East and Asia, and his 2011 burning of the Islamic holy book resulted in further riots that left 10 United Nations staff members dead.
Perce has previously gained notoriety when he was involved in a lawsuit after he said he was attacked on Halloween for being dressed as a "Zombie Muhammed."
The judge dropped the case, saying that Perce was mocking the Islamic religion in a very offensive way.
The Blaze reports that although American Atheists is "pleased" to have Perce as their director, they do not condone or sponsor his choice to publicly flog the Quran.
Another similar resolution from early 2012, "The Year of the Bible," is currently being challenged in federal court by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.