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Focus on the Family and the Banning of Books

I really should have been paying more attention to Banned Books Week, but I’m afraid I’ve been a bit busy with my own reading. (By that I mean both college books and my ever-expanding list of RSS feeds, which is now on the verge of gaining sentience and deliberately breaking the internet in a desperate bid to end its tortured existence.) I’ve had just enough time to keep up with the latest developments in what I will grudgingly refer to as ‘the culture wars’. Luckily, said wars and Banned Books Week have dovetailed rather unexpectedly: Focus on the Family is against the free proliferation of controversial books, apparently.

Focus on the Family is encouraging donations of books to neighborhood and school libraries: books that communicate a Christian and socially conservative perspective on hot-button issues such as homosexuality and abortion. The effort coincides with the ALA’s annual twisting of the First Amendment, as it showcases books to which parents have objected — and which libraries have generally not pulled from shelves.

“Every year, the ALA and other liberal groups use this trumped-up event to intimidate and basically silence concerned parents,” said Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action. “The truth is, parents have every right and responsibility to object to their kids receiving sexually explicit and pro-gay literature without their permission, especially in a school setting.”

The ALA claims that Banned Books Week is all about celebrating “availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints.”

Cushman said it’s time for families to turn the tables and challenge the ALA to honor its own principles.

“You can do this most effectively by simply going to your local public library, or a school library,” she said, “and donating books that communicate your family’s perspective on those issues.”

Their strategy for turning back the tide of bias strikes me as rather odd – they don’t support what the libraries are doing, so they’re going to donate more books to those same libraries? Hey, be my guest! Libraries, especially small ones and especially small school ones, need as many books as they can get their hands on. I’m of the opinion that making a book available is never a bad thing, regardless of its content.

And yes, that includes the books on this list (PDF link), as obnoxious as most of them are. (Someone I Love Is Gay is really badly written – I pity whatever unsuspecting library-goer picks that one up.) I don’t know, maybe this is just an American issue? I’ve been in small-town libraries here that carry the The Holocaust Industry, for crying out loud. If that’s not offering both sides of the story, I don’t know what is.

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