Book Burni…errr…Banning

Does this image make you uncomfortable?
It should.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Saturday Sermon and my regular posts have slowed down a bit. That’s due to my own laziness, I guess. I am also reading an interesting book about the cultural shift that lead to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. I will be writing or podcasting about that at some point.

As you can tell by the title, I am looking back in history to a time when authoritarian leaders and the ignorant people who followed them want to remove what they saw as controversial ideas from the public square. This is something that doesn’t happen anymore and we should be…what? You mean…? Oh crap.

Scratch that above paragraph, it turns out that some state school boards around the country have decided to remove ban books from their schools’ libraries in hopes of “cancelling” those ideas, apparently. The one that has garnered the most press lately is Maus by Art Spiegelman, the first and only graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature. It is the story of the Holocaust as told by the author’s father in comic strip form. The Tennessee school board banned it because of “unnecessary use of profanity and nudity”. Unnecessary profanity about the fucking Holocaust? The most profane event in history? Had I been in that meeting in Tennessee, I would have some very necessary profanity for the school board.

There are many other books on the list that deal with racism, LGBTQ+ subjects, religions other than Christianity, and other topics that make governments “uncomfortable”. Honestly, that’s how I know a book or movie or music is doing something right. People need to be made uncomfortable and to see things from the perspectives that they can’t seem to tolerate. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Do you know which book makes me uncomfortable? The Bible, and yet I am reading it. I’m not only reading it, but I am reading with the goal of understanding it and the people who put it on a pedestal over other humans’ lives the best that I can. So far I’m failing. How anyone can read the flood narrative and say, “Oh, yeah, I can understand why God drowned all of the men, women, and children (including babies) as well all of the animals minus the few that a 600 year-old man and his family took on a boat.” That’s just sick. These are the same people who look at the rest of Exodus and see it as somehow moral when it spends more time talking about how to treat slaves and how to properly worship a deity than it does anything of value.

My advice for everyone, whether you agree with this book banning or not, go read those books. Every time you see that a book is being considered for banning, seek it out and read it. Make yourself uncomfortable, and put yourself into the subject matter. Do not embrace the “cancel culture” of these holier-than-thou school boards who can’t see past the cover of their precious bibles which I would guess many of them have never read.

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