Pastors Who Tried to Ban Books in a Banned Book Display Didn’t Fare Well

Margaret Garcia sorts books for shelving in the new Indian Valley Library Collective. Photo Credit: Photo by Jane Braxton Little.

Marking last week’s annual American Library Association Banned Books Week, a public library in Maine set out a display of the usual sinful suspects

By Abby Zimet | Common Dreams/Alternet

Having gotten sidetracked by the sordid saga of Kavanaugh, belated but still gratifying news of a modest victory in grim times: Marking last week’s annual American Library Association Banned Books Week, the public library in Rumford, Maine, a small mill town of about 5,000, set out a display of the usual sinful suspects – To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Farenheit 451, etc. The display also included several LGBTQ-themed, award-winning kids‘ and teens‘ books – Two Boys Kissing, And Tango Makes Three, My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness – to support the week’s goal of celebrating tolerance and freedom. The exhibit, in an adult section on a different floor from the kids‘ section, declared, „Yes, books are dangerous – they contain ideas.“

Cue three pastors not crazy about these „ideas.“ Dan Pearson of the Rumford Baptist Church, Justin Thacker of Praise Assembly of God, and Rev. Nathan March of Parish of the Holy Savior wrote a letter to library trustees objecting to „immodest“ material „promoting homosexuality“ (oddly ignoring the kinky 50 Shades of Grey.) They argued a library should teach „values that contribute to the community,“ not „a far left political view that sees homosexuality as acceptable and to be promoted (over) a conservative and traditional view that sees homosexuality as wrong and to be avoided.“ Such beliefs offend „traditional Biblical Christians“ and probably Muslims if there were any in the 98% white town, the men wrote, ending with a singularly fabulous typo: „We believe that many in this community would be concerned about the book that had the two naked women as being immodest and inappropriate for a pubic setting.“

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