PROTESTERS DOUSE BOULDER BOOK ROAST Rocky Mountain News More books were stolen than burned

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PROTESTERS DOUSE BOULDER BOOK ROAST Rocky Mountain News More books were stolen than burned last night at a fundamentalist rally in Boulder that disintegrated into a shouting match between more than 250 supporters and protesters. The Rev. Maurice Gordon, pastor of Denver's Lovingway United Petecostal Church, and the Rev. Philip Day, pastor of Boulder United Pentecostal Church, which hosted the ideological inferno, had planned to burn about 40 books and 22 booklets dealing with mysticism and the occult. However, all but three of the books were pilfered by a throng of poster-carrying, slogan-chanting protesters who swiped the books from a pile on the ground outside the church where Gordon and Day were attempting to speak to the rowdy dissenters. "They stole them right out from under us," Gordon said after a circuslike ceremony. Only Shirley MacLaine's _Out_on_a_Limb_, Sarah Lyddow Morrison's _The_Modern_Witch's_Spellbook_ and Barbara Marx Hubbard's _Happy_ Birthday_Planet_Earth_ were ignited--if only briefly. It wasn't long after Gordon had the books burning in a modified barbecue grill that protesters doused the flames with a fire extinguisher and overturned the smoldering grill. Gordon said he figured there would be a mob at the event but was surprised at the groups unruliness. He said the crowd was giving Boulder a reputation as "a hangout for heathens." And Day said the rowdy crowd characterized the city's "spiritual darkness." The ill-fated book burning characterized the evening, during which legitimate conflicts between right-wing fundamentalism and left-wing liberalism took a back seat to hecklers and the spectacle of white- hooded female zealots who called themselves "The Klanettes." Outfitted in white slacks and sweaters and conehead-style masks, the Klanettes acted as unofficial cheerleaders for the event. While refusing to give their names, one of the Klanettes summed up the group's goal: "Any time there's hatred and bigotry, that's where we'd like to be." Doug Johnson of Denver took the evening's honors for most visible and vocal protester. Armed with an American flag, Johnson heckled Day and Gordon from a distance of about 2 feet. His antics clearly rattled both men, but Johnson said his purpose in attending was not to insult. "I just don't like the constitutional statement they're making here tonight," he said. Jim Nichols of Boulder was one of the few people who didn't take sides. He said the lively exchange of barbs and ideas was healthy, no matter the ideological motivation. "The guy's got a right to do this," Nichols said of the book burning. "This is what the constitution an democracy are all about." Gordon stopped short of calling the event a failure, but added that the actions of the rowdy crowd were in fact a cry for help. Gordon said he and Day would continue to work toward a spiritual awakening of the Denver-area population, but did not cite specific plans. BOULDER HECKLERS MAKE BOOK BURNING TRULY TORRID AFFAIR The Denver Post It was billed as a book burning, but it turned out to be a roast. The Rev. Phil Day's attempt to drive the devil out of Boulder--by burning what he considers Satanic materials--attracted a handful of supporters and an entire flock of hecklers to his north Boulder church. "For God's sake, Phil, get some therapy!" screamed a man in the crowd. "Only bozos burn books!" yelled another. One woman held a sign: "Burning books is easy. Reading them takes intelligence." If Day was troubled by the commotion, he didn't let on. He seemed content to swap insults. "We might be burning some books tonight, but soon, God will be burning you," Day told the crowd of about 200. For nearly two hours, the banter continued. Because of fears that his book-burning party would violate a Boulder ordinance, Day had disguised his effort as a picnic. He assembled hot dogs, hamburgers and marshmallows alongside a Weber grill filled with hot coals. But the crowd had other plans. They doused the coals with water and spilled them on the ground. Still, Day was unflappable. "I'm afraid you're upset because you enjoy the things of the devil," he taunted. Among the "things of the devil" that Day had scheduled for incineration Saturday night were three titles that were pure Boulder: "An Introduction to Yoga," "The Handbook to Higher Consciousness," and "Make ESP Work for You." Day was too busy trading barbs with the crowd to speak with reporters, but his wife expained that those books really are dangerous. "You have to understand what's behind them," Barb Day said. "It wouldn't be clear just from reading the titles." Although she agreed that her husband probably had set himself up for a confrontation, she defended his efforts. "We are not against reading and we are not against thinking," she said. "Everyone should have a right to their own philosophy. But I'm not surprised how this turned out." After Day tired of the routine, he turned center stage over to the Rev. Maurice Gordon of Denver, no stranger himself to unusual events. "If ever there was a city that needs a moral awakening, it is the city of Boulder," Gordon preached. Then he invited the crowd to attend church services. "I assure you, you will be treated better than you treated us." ------------------------------------------------------------------- As a personal aside, I think there is nothing more horrible and disgusting than burning books. I'd even save "Nomads of Gor" and "In Search of Ancient Astronauts." But I might bend my scruples to do as a friend suggested and take a Bible to such an event and toss it on--just to see these geeks jump.


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