Banning books from the public library


Dear Editor:

As a youth I attended Catholic schools and (of course) had daily religion classes. Understandably, the priest read to us from the Bible. Although we didn’t have cell phones and texting back then, pens and paper facilitated the passing around of notes from student to student. During one of those classes, someone passed a note around saying we should scan through the Chapter of Leviticus. There we read about child sacrifice, sex with near relatives, and even people having sex with animals. As a naive 13 year-old, I definitely had never heard about bestiality.

Now, some avowedly Christian groups are demanding the banning of “certain books” in the public library in Warren County and other areas of the country. The definition of the word public is “of or pertaining to the whole”. That means that the public library should not remove books that offend one segment of the population. If I, as a parent, do not want my own child or teen to check out a certain book from the library I am free to instruct my child. Similarly, if my neighbors want to allow that same book into their home that is also their prerogative. By definition a public library serves many different people with a variety of both civil beliefs as well as a variety of religious faiths.

Should the Bible be banned from public libraries? Most of the ban-the-books crowd would respond with an emphatic “No!” They would say that if someone doesn’t want their child reading the Bible then they can instruct their children not to read it.

The funds directed towards public libraries serve the whole public, not just the loudest, the most religious of their faith or even just the majority. As Andrew Carnegie is reported to have said, “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” Please remember that Nazis banned books and then burned them so that Germans could not read anything that Hitler thought citizens should not read.

Patricia Murphy ~ New Market, Va.

••• offers an open forum for the public in its LETTERS section. We encourage letters of local interest by those who live in Page County, Va.; however, we welcome all letters on all subjects from all readers. PVN reserves the right to publish letters at its discretion.




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