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Austin Cline

Christians Shut Down "Dress-Up Jesus" Site

By April 1, 2004

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Do you remember the "Dress-Up Jesus" I reported on a few days ago? Well, Urban Outfitters gave in to public pressure and stopped carrying it. Even worse, though, is that a conservative Christian protest group (LaptopLobbyist.com) has gotten the web site taken down as well.

The Washington Times reports:

Members of LaptopLobbyist.com, which describes itself as "America's first and foremost online conservative community," sent thousands of faxes denouncing the "Jesus Dress Up" site, according to Chris Carmouche, executive director of LaptopLobbyist.com. ... Mr. Carmouche said his organization's members sent faxes denouncing the Jesus Dress Up site and magnets to the corporate parent of the site's host, as well as to the chief executive at trendy retailer Urban Outfitters Inc., which sells the magnets.
Charles Wheelus, president of Pick Internet Solutions Inc., the Boca Raton, Fla., parent company of the business that hosted the Jesus Dress Up site, said he was unaware that such content existed on his network until LaptopLobbyist.com notified him. "I am as appalled as you. I find the content of these sites to be obscene and offending," Mr. Wheelus wrote in a letter to LaptopLobbyist.com.

The site was being hosted for free, so there isn't much that can be done. I do hope that "Normal Bob Smith" manages to find a new hosting company - one with a bit more backbone and a bit more respect for the existence of different points of view. If blasphemous sites can be taken down that easily, then this site won't last long.

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Comments
January 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm
(1) Adam Clark says:

Try to keep your opinion out of the article :) . The site was a horrible, horrible thing. Good thing it was taken down!

January 18, 2008 at 6:47 am
(2) Austin Cline says:

Try to keep your opinion out of the article :) .

Why?

The site was a horrible, horrible thing.

Why?

Good thing it was taken down!

It wasn’t taken down permanently.

March 3, 2008 at 12:01 am
(3) nikki dee says:

@ #1…

You’re not that bright. That Bill of Rights protects even people who don’t agree with you. Normal Bob Smith is allow to operate a site that ridicules religions all he wants. Start censuring the internet and all those religious sites need to go to, so you don’t offend the people smart enough not to far for that crap. Oh and I visit the site on a regular and it could not have been down very long cause I’m still able to get to it. The owner of normalbobsmith.com could effectively sue and win in court against a company impeding on his first amendment rights, especially if there is nothing in the terms prohibiting such a site.

September 18, 2008 at 11:11 am
(4) Charles Wheelus says:

Hi,

My name is Charles Wheelus and yes, I am the person who had the site taken down. For those who haven’t taken the time to understand what really happened; there is no free speech or censorship issue here. This was a site not being paid for and I choose to have it removed.

If anyone one wants to express his opinions, they have every right to do so (in the U.S.A. anyway).

As a owner of a private business, wholly owned by ME I can choose to serve or deny any customer, for any reason or no reason whatsoever…..the freedom goes both ways.

I respect others rights to speak what they wish and to reap the benefits or consequences of what they say.

Others must also respect my right not to associate in any way with them if I so choose.

“Normal Bob Smith” would have no cause of action against me in court. Your statement that “could effective sue and win in court” is simply not correct.

We had no agreement.

He never paid me.

He had no legal right to be hosted on my network.

-Charles

July 16, 2009 at 5:39 am
(5) shane says:

the site that was taken down is back up agian and so it should be. it is a hilarious site. keep up the great work.

November 11, 2010 at 12:20 pm
(6) Daniel says:

@Charles Wheelus

“He had no legal right to be hosted on my network.”

You what? Unless he hacked your systems, you gave him the codes and the disk space to host his content.
If his content did not breach any terms of use or laws, a take-down could be contested in court and have you forced to put it back up.

In any case, you (legally) provided free hosting, and if it is in your terms of service to terminate any hosting on any grounds at any time even when hosting legal (though to you morally questionable) content, then yes, it is your right to pull the plug, but claiming that he had no legal right to be hosted, that is a huge heap of bull…

Also, it shows that any other site you host could also be arbitrarily taken down if you do not agree with its contents, what ever those contents are… and that *is* a form of censure, even if it is censure only within your own company and hurting your own partners. It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad, and I hope that you have added that to your hosting terms of service…

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