Sunday, September 23, 2018

Ban the Banned Books!

If a banned book is banned from a display of banned books, does the universe implode or something? Hopefully we won't have to find out. A library in Maine set up a display of banned books for Banned Books Week, an annual event set up to draw attention to censorship and related issues. But a group of pastors is now trying to get books banned from the display of banned books. Truly, somebody out there has a dizzying intellect.

A group of pastors in Rumford, Maine are attempting to have LGBTQ books banned from the Rumford Public Library’s display of banned books. The library is holding a board meeting today, where the controversy will be discussed. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund support Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community. NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.

The display coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, highlighting books that often draw challenges in schools and libraries. Half of the books on this year’s American Library Association Top 10 Banned Books list tell stories of LGBTQ characters. Books representing a wide variety of experiences and voices allow readers, particularly children, to find connection, safely explore unfamiliar ideas, and broaden their understanding of the world.

The bottom line is this. Public libraries currently cannot discriminate in favor of particular religious beliefs. If these pastors succeed, it will set up a dangerous precedent. Do any of us really want public resources restricted whenever they don't fit the agenda of some small but vocal religious group? It seems to me if these pastors are opposed to these books the obvious thing to do would be to not read them. Preventing people who don't share their beliefs from seeing them is a clear violation of those other religious beliefs - that is, the belief that it's perfectly okay for material like this to be read and displayed.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: