You may have seen news stories celebrating the so-called “Forbidden Book Week” over the past few days. For virtuous school staff and media activists, it’s the best time of the year.
Several organizations promote this media-friendly pseudo-event. For example:
“In celebration of Banned Books Week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is partnering with the Drag Queen Story Hour to give families everywhere a chance to celebrate LGBTQ+ stories and spread a message of inclusion and acceptance for all,” says HRC . Some of the LGBTQ+ themed books are about “transgender” children.
The American Library Association somberly warns that “at a time of intense political polarization, librarians across the states are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books.”
The First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City hosted a “Reading of Banned Books” event on Sunday. The church’s senior minister went so far as to read passages from the most “banned” book of the 2021-22 school year, Gender Queer.
Left of center, PEN America, while reluctantly acknowledging that “parents and guardians should be partners with educators in their children’s education,” insists that “public schools are inherently dependent on expertise, ethics and discretion by educational professionals to make decisions.” Indeed, “today’s political rhetoric of ‘parental rights’ is armed in too many places to undermine, intimidate, and deter the practices of these professionals.” (Note the use of Snicker citations when you talk about parenting rights.)
The National Education Association complains that “four out of ten banned books contained LGBTQ+ characters or themes.”
In short, the thought is that “all books should be in the library,” as First Lady Jill Biden bluntly states. “All books. This is America. We don’t ban books.”
“Forbidden” books? Not exactly
It turns out that Ms. Biden may have inadvertently been telling the truth when she said, “We don’t ban books.” Because, as theologian and seminary president Albert Mohler points out, the entire premise of “Forbidden Book Week” is based on a lie . In PEN America’s own definition (“What is a book ban?”), ban does not necessarily mean ban. “If a parent complains about a book and it’s put on a higher or lower shelf in the library, for example,” says Mohler, “it can be claimed that it’s now a banned book.”
“They had to redefine what it means when a book is ‘banned,'” he says. “And that’s intellectually dishonest.” Unlike in repressive regimes like North Korea (where possession of a fragment of the New Testament is a capital offense) or China or Iran, in the United States “there is no honest problem of lack of access to pretty much everything what everyone wants See, everyone wants to hear, everyone wants to read.”
Bipartisan Agreement: Gender Queer Is pornography
Let’s now turn to the most “banned” book of the 2021/22 school year: Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Maybe you’ve heard about it.
On July 26, 2022, the Twitter account LibsOfTikTok reported that Tulsa Public Schools “makes the illustrated books ‘Gender Queer’ and ‘Flamer’ available to students in many of its schools. Both books contain sexually explicit and pornographic content.”
“This is gross,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, a Republican. said the next day. “It must end!”
“This is inappropriate, sexually explicit material,” said Democrat Joy Hofmeister, superintendent of public education for the state of Oklahoma. “This is pornography that doesn’t belong in any public school library.” (Hofmeister is no dummy. She doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of such an ad.)
Indeed, as Amy Haywood noted in a recent article, “for books like Gender QueerI am unable to reproduce the images depicted in the book for this item as I would be subject to legal penalties.”
“Pros” try to screw parents
US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said of pornography, “I know it when I see it.” Similarly, Oklahoma parents know what they know. Despite this, some educators, teachers’ unions, leaders of the religious left, and activists (whether named or not) incredibly believe they can poison parents. Consider:
So says the American Library Association Gender Queer was “banned, challenged and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content and deemed to contain sexually explicit imagery.” considered to have.
PEN America says Gender Queer “Has been labeled ‘obscene and pornographic.'” been named pornographic.
Former Norman schoolteacher Summer Boismier who provided access Gender Queer sharing a QR code linked to a library with her students, she told Education Week that Oklahoma’s “Secretary of Education had put some YA titles online, including Gender Queer and Flamer, and associated those titles with obscenity and pornography. ” Associate them with pornography.
In a 1,566-word editorial masquerading as a news article, Journal Record reporter Janice Francis-Smith defended Boismier against the “false allegation surrounding ‘pornographic’ material.” False accusation.
who will you believe
As in many states, Oklahoma law makes it a crime to “cause any child to view obscene materials.” Is this a “ban” on books? Not really. Oklahoma adults, including teachers and school librarians, are permitted to possess, access, or create obscene materials. But like cigarettes, you cannot pass them to children.
Proponents of pornography in schools often hide behind classics like Killing a mockingbird or Tom Sawyer. These are great works worth reading, but nobody puts them in elementary school curricula. Does that mean they are “banned” in elementary schools?
Behind the book ban claims are adults eager to use children as pawns for their sexual ideologies and fetishes.
PEN America wants us to trust the “ethics” and “discretion” of education professionals. But if some of these professionals can’t even pass the simple Potter Stewart test, should parents trust them? Parents should never be intimidated by their supposed betters, the “experts” and “professionals” asking them: Who will you believe, me or your own lying eyes?