Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block is a book about a young boy who is gay. It was written 15 years ago, but it’s back in the news. Why?
A group called West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries was offended that the local library posted a list of gay-friendly books for young people on its website.
Then they demanded that the books be moved from the youth section of the library and placed with the adult collection, “to protect children from accessing them without their parents’ knowledge and supervision.”
What a horrible idea — trying to limit a child’s curiosity by making parents a filter of everything they read. That’s a hallmark of fundamentalist-religion-based thinking.
Thankfully, the library board has decided to keep those books right where they belong — in the young adult section.
It gets worse. Apparently conservative Christian groups have contests to see who can out-crazy the other.
You want to move the book? Screw you! We want to burn the book!:
Now an outfit called the Christian Civil Liberties Union has gotten in on the act, suing the library for, according to the West Bend Daily News, “damaging” the “mental and emotional well-being” of several individuals by displaying “Baby Be-Bop” in the library. Since attempts to label the novel as “pornographic” have failed, the (somewhat shadowy) CCLU hopes to brand it as hate speech, in part because it contains the word “nigger.” The complainants, described as “elderly” by the newspaper, claim that Block’s novel is “explicitly vulgar, racial [sic] and anti-Christian.” They want the library’s copy not only removed but publicly burned.
- Given the religious climate we’re in these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these Christian “watchdogs” burned the library to the ground. And then the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries will most certainly say they had nothing to do with it. Right…
- Of course, this will all backfire. Censorship will only turn the more intelligent kids away from Christianity and onto the books the adults don’t want them to read.
- Burning the library books is illegal. It’s not your property. It’s the same reason you can’t walk into a gas station and burn the nudie magazines. Not your stuff. You want to burn your own property? Fine. Don’t ruin property that’s not yours. You don’t see any of us coming into your church and burning the Bibles.
- This is the type of “solution” you only see conservative Christians pursue: if a subject is too uncomfortable to discuss, let’s ban everyone else from dealing with it. Forget focusing on my family — I want to control yours. It’s pathetic and weak.
- Why not let the kids read the book and then discuss it with them? Or is talking to your kids too difficult for you? Go do it: tell them exactly why their kids should never accept gay people like the characters in the book do — because we know Jesus hates the gays.
- And why are they going after the book now? They ignored it for the past fifteen years… clearly, it wasn’t a problem when it first came out.
- How many of these Christians do you think have read the “offending” books, do you think? The more vocal they are, the less likely they are to know what they’re even talking about.
- I hope Block’s publishers send a box of her books to every library and school in the area. Get some positive publicity and generate attention for the book.
- And the Christian Civil Liberties Union? Are you shitting me? Do they even know what “civil liberties” are?!
- Where are the Christian groups in the area who oppose censorship? Why are their voices not being heard? Why are they not heard in the media? Are they absent or are journalists ignoring them?
- Also, if you want to burn offensive books, religious ones would be high on the list. But (I hope) you wouldn’t ever see atheists burning the Bible — we don’t believe in that sort of censorship.
- The website for the Christians who want to move the book has the subtitle “A Place Where Wisconsinites Can Come Out to Play!” Somehow, they missed the obvious joke in that…
(Thanks to Alan for the link!)