Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Banned books week
September 30, 2009
I, like many my age, grew up on The Catcher in the Rye. We read it because it was banned.
This is banned books week.
Those who ban books think they know what is best for others. They think they have the right to prescribe certain behaviors.
One example: Some who would discriminate against committed gay couples and their families want to ban and tango makes three.
To me, many of Judy Blume's books illustrate why banned books are desperately needed. She often speaks to (and for) young people who are left out. She communicates in a way politically correct writing cannot.
But I feel like I'm preaching to the choir. I was probably more effective working in the frustrating arena of the church. Some people (and denominations) ban books in the name of God. Some discriminate against gays (the way a few people were born to be) in the name of God. And and some rail against different doctrines or other world religions in the name of God.
One reason I wrote The Body in the Record Room (and am still writing such books), is that I see God as much more tolerant than many churches and Christians do. There is certainly evil in the world, but ascribing evil to the ordinary differences between individuals is a sin.
I can decide for myself what to be, what to believe, and what to read.
I grew up with people other people threw away. I know there is great value in the thrown away. Wanting to throw away books which portray love between committed gay couples or within gay families, for example, does abuse to what God has created us to be.
So banning books is a symptom of a much greater sin--judging, dismissing, sometimes even killing people. (Remember the Holocaust?)
It is trite to say, but every week should be a week when we fight against the righteous folks who would ban books.