On September 17th, a group of atheists called "The Backyard Skeptics" got together on a Santa Monica pier and tore up photocopied pages containing hateful, discriminatory verses from the Bible. They didn't burn books, which I guess is a good thing, although in today's society that gesture has lost any practical value and is purely symbolic. They didn't shout hateful messages at passersby. They engaged in voluntary dialogue with some, and were shouted at by others.
According to Brad Hirshfield of the Washington Post, this constituted an insult to and abuse of people of faith. I would have to say that while the term 'insult' may be warranted, a claim of 'abuse' is really not justifiable by the scale and nature of the actual event.
Ben Cathey from Athenspatch.com feels that there should have been a public outcry over this, as there was when Pastor Terry Jones burned the Koran. While Jones was essentially just exercising his right to free speech in an attempt to call attention to a situation he felt was wrong, which he certainly did, in so doing he put the lives of innocent people at risk. That is something that warrants public outcry. The Backyard Skeptics ripped up some photocopied pages of questionable scripture. No lives were put in danger. Again, there's an issue of scale and severity here that Cathey seems to be missing. He also says, "It’s doubly ironic that the [Christians] have not staged massive protests of their own." Cathey attributes this to the generally accepting nature of Christians, saying, "the Christian record for tolerance of non-Christian behavior is absolutely astounding." Oh, I would have to agree. Now, if The Backyard Skeptics had been peddling something really objectionable, like science, or gay rights or something, there might have been trouble.