Christian Group Wants Library Book Burned

Posted: June 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

From Examiner.com:

Controversy has been swirling for some months now in Wisconsin. Apparently, a library in West Bend has struck a nerve by including books like one by author Francesca Lia Block in its youth section. What’s so bad about the book? That depends entirely on your perspective.

Some say there is absolutely nothing wrong with the book. Others disagree. The book, Baby Be-Bop, is a story about a boy named Dirk, who is gay.

As reported by Laura Miller on Salon.com (and brought to my attention by Hemant Mehta, aka the Friendly Atheist), a group called West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries approached the library back in February to get them to remove a list “of recommended titles about gay and lesbian issues for young people” from their Web site. They also “demanded” that the library move the books from their youth section to their adult section.

The reason the group wanted the library to comply with their request was “‘to protect children from accessing them without their parents’ knowledge and supervision.'” Among the listed titles was Block’s Baby Be-Bop. They library did not immediately comply.

Another group, called West Bend Parents for Free Speech formed as the opposition to West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries. The new group made their presence known when, on June 3rd, a public hearing on the issue was held. Two petitions were presented – one from each group. There were 700 signatures from the Christian side of the issue and 1,000 signatures for the Free Speech side.

Statements were considered at the hearing as well. In the end, the library board voted unanimously to leave the books as they were. This vote has not put an end to the debate. In fact, it seems the decision just added fuel to the fire.

A new group, Christian Civil Liberties Union, has taken it upon themselves to file suit against the library. According to the report, the group hopes to have Baby Be-Bop deemed “hate speech.” They claim that the book is “‘explicitly vulgar, racial [sic] and anti-Christian.'” They will not be happy to just have the book removed from the library all together – they want it “publicly burned.”

According to the book’s author, the book, which is 112 pages, is “‘a very sweet, simple, coming-of-age story about a young man’s discovery that he’s gay.'” She further said that the book is in no way racist and she is distressed by the allegation. One of the things cited in the charge is that the author uses the word “nigger” in her book. In response she said, “‘Obviously I use those words, including “faggot,” which is also in the book, to expose racism and homophobia, not promote it.'” She went on to say, “It’s a tiny little book but they want to burn it like a witch.”

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