Article 43

 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 43 - Banning The Bible

image: book burning

A Texas school board rejects ‘In God We Trust’ signs in Arabic… The signs had the right message, as required by law. One stated “In God We Trust” over a rainbow background. Another was in Arabic. But the Carroll school district in North Texas rejected the signs, saying it already has enough for its buildings.
- Texas school board rejects “In God We Trust” signs in Arabic

Texas School Bans the Bible
Keller ISD has pulled all versions of the Bible from school shelves in a recent purge to remove LGBTQ books and other ‘controversial’ titles.

By Matthew Gault
Vice
August 17, 2022

A Texas school district has pulled all versions of the Bible and the graphic novel version of Anne Franks Diary from its library shelves ahead of the start of the school year. The ban happened in Keller, Texas - a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with a population just under 40,000.

On August 16, the day before school started, Jennifer Price, Keller ISDs executive director of curriculum and instruction sent an email to the school district’s principals: Attached is a list of all books that were challenged last year. By the end of today, I need all books pulled from the library and classrooms,” Price said. Once this has been completed, please email me a confirmation. We need to ensure this action is taken by the end of the day. I apologize for the late request.”

The list of CURRENTLY CHALLENGED WORKS is 41 books long and includes “The Bible (All Versions),” Anne Frank’s Diary (The Graphic Adaptation), So Youre Being Publicly Shamed, several LGBT touchstones like Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, and classics like Toni Morisson’s The Bluest Eye.

Later that day, Keller ISD released a statement on its website. “Keller ISD’s Board of Trustees approved policies EFA (Local) and EFB (Local) at its August 8, 2022, Special Meeting. These policies relate to the acquisition and review of instructional materials and library books. Right now, Keller ISDҒs administration is asking our campus staff and librarians to review books that were challenged last year to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy,” the statement said. “All of the books included in Tuesdays email have been included on Keller ISD’s Book Challenge list over the past year. Books that meet the new guidelines will be returned to the libraries as soon as it is confirmed they comply with the new policy.”

Essentially, in this case, books were challenged, then reviewed in a closed-door committee vetting process. The books survived that review, but then were further challenged; the district decided to pull all books on the challenged list for the time being.

Bryce Nienman, Keller ISD’s spokesman, told the Dallas Morning News that Keller’s school trustees recently approved a new policy that would reconsider every book that had already survived a ban. The new policy came after Texas state officials launched an official investigation into Keller ISD over sexually explicit books in its library. Parents and teachers met in secret for months, reviewing the books and making decisions about what could stay and what could go. Participants had to sign CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS.

Laney Hawes, a Keller ISD parent who sounded the alarm about the book ban on Twitter, talked about her experience in some of these meetings. “These books went through the official district established challenge committee process, she said. “But because they all passed the committee process, our extreme Christian nationalist school board decided the process was ‘rigged.’ Sound familiar? I served on the committee for The Diary of Anne Frank Graphic Novel. The person who challenged the book didn’t even show up to defend their position. But now the book is pulled.”

Much of the current wave of book banning in the United States is being FUELED BY GROUPS LIKE MOMS FOR LIBERTY that are explicitly Conservative and Christian, so it’s ironic that the district has included The Bible in its list of banned titles. It’s a book for which there is at least a plausible argument for banning, considering the Constitutionally enshrined, but poorly enforced, separation of church and state.

Book bannings in schools and libraries have become increasingly common in America. The targets are typically books that deal with LGBTQ THEMES, books that deal with sex in any way shape or form, and books about the Holocaust. Librarians and administrators have also REPORTED RECEIVING THREATS and discrimination after setting up displays featuring LGBTQ books, and right-wing extremist groups have DISRUPTED multiple Pride-themed events in libraries across the US.

SOURCE

Book Banning Is a Slippery Slope to Fascism

Texas Republicans, having worked up hysteria around so-called critical race theoryӔ being taught in schools (its not), have moved on to the next culture-wars issue: banning books from schools that they claim are pornographic or present history or society in ways that makes them feel uncomfortable. This is nothing new; Americans have been banning books since before there was a United States. But book bans must always be opposed by people who believe in freedom of speech and expression, and support public education.

I first read English author George OrwellҒs 1984 in my public high school, probably in 1981. It absolutely terrified me. More than anything, the notion that an all-powerful State could not only control your actions but even your thoughts, to the point that rebellion was impossible, was terrifying to contemplate. Should I, as a high school student, been permitted to read it? It did make me very uncomfortable. Should 1984 therefore be banned?

Absolutely not. 1984 should be required reading for all high school students. And yet, since its publication by Orwell in 1949, it has been banned many times for social and political themes and for sexual content. It has also been challenged for being “pro-communism,” even though Orwell modeled his State and Big Brother on both fascist and Communist governments of his time.

Along with the typical complaints about “pornographic” books, this latest wave of conservatives banning books is remarkable for their anger towards books by and about people of color, or by and about LGBTQ, especially trans people. Texas State Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican, released a list of about 850 books that he wanted to ban from school libraries. He claimed the books make students feel “discomfort” because of their content about race and sexuality.  An analysis of Krauses list by The Dallas Morning News found that of the first 100 titles listed, 97 were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors. A common complaint is that these books will make children think about changing themselves, or teaches them ғcritical race theory.

School libraries aren’t the only place where conservatives are seeking to ban books. Some public libraries in cities and counties in Texas are seeing numerous book challenges from local residents, often with the stated goal of trying to protect our children. Late last year, Llano County Community Library was forced to shut down for several days to enable librarians to conduct a thorough review of every childrens book in the library, at the behest of the Llano County Commissioners Court. Local public libraries in Victoria, Irving and Tyler are facing book challenges from local residents seeking to have children’s books removed. And Granbury ISD, in Hood County, removed 125 books from the high school library after Rep. Krause spoke with Hood County Judge Ron Massingill.

Libraries, and especially school libraries, need to be places where students can go and find stories about people who look or feel like them. They need to be places where students can safely explore their world, which for many students is a baffling place full of change, new feelings, and sometimes danger. Our children are actually pretty resilient, and typically wont read books that make them feel too uncomfortable or that present ideas that are too advanced for them.

But if the books that they need to find aren’t available, they will look elsewhere, potentially somewhere less safe than their school or community library. Are all books appropriate for all ages? No, of course not, but we need to trust our librarians to make those choices, not politicians with partisan goals in mind, like Republican Rep. Matt Krause and Hood County Judge Massengill. Parents always have the right to tell their children what not to read, but they do not have the right to decide what is appropriate for all children to read. That path indeed leads to the slippery slope in which more and more books are determined to be “inappropriate” and book bonfires come back into vogue. As a Granbury High School student memorably stated, in comments to the Granbury ISD Board of Trustees, No government - and public school is an extension of government - has ever banned books, and banned information from its public, and been remembered in history as the “good guys.”

SOURCE

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Posted by Elvis on 08/19/22 •
Section Dying America • Section Fascism
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