Banned Books Week

Turns out I don’t like blogging on Mondays. This week you’ll get posts Tuesday through Saturday and they’re going to be a bit eclectic (which is a bit normal, right?)

By the way it’s

oct-blog-banned-books

I read about this a little bit last week when I read the phrase being thrown around some book blogs I follow. ALA’s website (click on the picture) has a whole section devoted year round to explaining Banned Books Week and the importance of fighting Censorship.

  The parts I found most interesting were the lists of books that have been suggested for ban. You can look back at pretty much any time period to see what books have been censored and why. The Harry Potter series, unsurprisingly, tops the list for most of the early 2000s. The Banned Classic Literature section is interesting, as well, and shines some light on why the public high school system still forces kids to read outdated red-scare literature.

  For the past few years I’ve been slowly developing my political worldview. Most of the time I feel far too apathetic about the political climate to actually care about the things going on. Occasionally something comes along that sort of riles me up… This is not really one of those things. However, censorship is something that I’ve spent a lot of time pondering.

  Earlier in my youth I suffered much anguish over secular music. I felt guilty every time I listened to the radio. I snuck purchases of boy band CDs and kept them hidden. Most of my musical taste took forever to develop because I was pretty much completely afraid that secular music would cause God’s wrath to pour out on me. Ron Luce had a lot to do with this. Luckily for me when I was about 17 years old a plethora of bands made the move to “crossover”. You may have heard of these bands – Anberlin, Underoath, Switchfoot, and RelientK. Because of these bands and several of my more musically aware friends I found discovered even more bands that were making “positive” if not overtly Christian music.

  And then I learned about something we call “discernment”. It took a few years. I started really practicing discernment when it came to music at about 19. Now, at 24 I know what I like to listen to. I know what music is going to negatively affect my outlook on life, I know what music elevates ideals that I do not wish to promulgate, and I stay away from it. No more anguish.

  That’s something vital about learning how to discern what is good from what is not. The tricky part is determining when this responsibility is appropriately given to a child. Obviously it should be handled in incremental steps. You don’t hand a two year old the remote and hope that by sheer luck they won’t end up on the porn channels for the next 16 years. I believe these incremental steps should be taken with the parents. Which is why I don’t agree with governmental censorship.

  Don’t get me wrong, there are things in my brain that I wish weren’t there from stories I’ve read and movies I’ve seen and music I’ve heard. It’s the hot stove conundrum. It’s human nature that we are most often drawn to the things someone in authority tells us are not allowed. In my limited experience those contraband things sought out do cause the most hurt.

  I don’t agree with banning books. I do agree with making choices. It’s a tricky thing, but important.

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