The Null Device

Persecution of SubGenii

A judge in the United States has denied a woman custody of her child after seeing photographs of her participating in Church of the SubGenius events; or so she says, anyway:
On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. Kohl has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.
The judge, allegedly a very strict Catholic, became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ — especially the photo where Jesus [Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a "dildo".
His Honor also strongly disapproved of the photos of Mary Magdalen [Rachel Bevilacqua] in a bondage dress and papier maché goat's head. The judge repeatedly asked, "Why a goat? What's so significant about a goat's head?" When Rachel replied, "I just thought the word 'goat' was funny," Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a "pervert," "mentally ill," "lying," and a participant in "sex orgies." The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect "severe mental illness". Rachel has had no contact with Kohl since that day, February 3, 2006.
Various SubGenii, Discordians, pagans and miscellaneous freakonauts are getting involved in mounting an appeal, a process which is expected to cost US$50,000. Some are concerned that, should this judgment be allowed to stand, it may set a precedent denying practitioners of non-traditional lifestyles equality before the law when it comes to child custody.

There is a discussion of this case on Metafilter, with some comments casting doubt on the SubGeniis' account of the case.

There are 2 comments on "Persecution of SubGenii":

Posted by: gjw Wed Feb 22 22:54:12 2006

As I said in the Metafilter thread, I don't quite understand why people are casting doubt on what she claimed the judge said. Maybe I've just been a subgenius too long, but I can't see how lying about this would benefit her case - she's going to throw away $50,000 at the appeal if she has been going around publicly spreading slander about the judge in the meantime.

Posted by: acb Thu Feb 23 00:49:25 2006

From what I gather, she doesn't have $50k; the global SubGenius (and pagan and such) communities have the potential to donate as much. In which case, claims of persecution by right-wing reactionaries would motivate them to get involved.

It could be a case of her deciding that her best chance of prevailing in her case (especially if it is already weak, as some have suggested) is to gather the largest posse the internet can help her get and bring it to bear on her opponent.