Last week was Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s tribute to books they get complaints about. Now this observance is essentially bogus. None of the current books they list every year have actually been banned. Complaints are not the same as censorship. Libraries have a certain budget and select what books they want to purchase. The closest thing to censorship would be if librarians refuse to buy, say, conservative books or Christian books because they don’t agree with them and so prevent their patrons from reading them.
Nevertheless, it’s telling to see what books make the “Banned Book” lists, which are sort of a bellwether of the hot button issues from year to year.
Previously, most of the “banned books” raised objections because they contained sex scenes that parents considered unsuitable for children. But this year, five of the ten most “banned” books drew objections because of their religious perspective.
Number 6 on the list is the Bible. Secularists are wanting it to be banned because of its violence, intolerance, and because they think having it in a school or public library violates the separation of church and state.
Of the other titles that draw objections for religious reasons, they aren’t so Christian friendly: one is pro-Islam, one promotes atheism, and the other two deal with LGBT issues and are probably critical of conservative religion. Most of the other titles that raised objections had gay and transgender themes.
But those are the flash points today: LGBT and religion. [Read more…]