Challenging the Bible

Challenging the Bible

I have been cleaning out my email accounts; too many unread or saved for some future use which always escapes me the day after I don’t delete something. Somewhere in the back of my mind is an embedded command: save. It also affects my ability to discard books which have reached the end of their usefulness for me, pieces of paper which might have been helpful for a sermon five years ago, but not so much these days, and nearly everything I have acquired over my sixty-four plus years on planet earth. I give credit to Diane who has helped me address my “saving” state of mind and to dispose of a fair amount of stuff (still lots of stuff to go!) and to Vickie DeShazer who guided me in filling several recycling totes with unnecessary paper from my office (I now, she needs to come back and guide me some more!) But, I digress.

As I was deleting and rerouting emails today, I tried to assess the content before assigning each to its next and often final destination in the digital cyberspace world. One in particular caught my eye (which is a reason not to delete everything) and gave me pause. The American Library Association publishes an annual list of the most challenged books on their shelves. Mostly these tombs are challenged on the grounds that their content is too explicit for certain age groups or promotes an undesirable ideology. Number six on this year’s list is most curious: The Holy Bible, in all translations. Really? Yes, really. Mostly it’s a protest about having the Bible in the library and the separation of church and state, as though its mere presence is likely to have an adverse effect on our democratic way of life. I would think you would need to open it for it to be a threat, but there are also other concerns about its content including violence, sexual immorality, domestic abuse and more.

I understand the challenges to the other nine, although I might not think that they deserve to be removed from a library. This year’s other nasty nine are: Looking for Alaska, Fifty Shades of Grey, I am Jazz, Beyond Magenta, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Fun Home, Habibi, Nasreen’s Secret School, and Two Boys Kissing. To be honest, I haven’t read any of these, so my opinion isn’t informed. I suspect a couple of them are on the list because they refer to people with unfamiliar sounding names, not their content. A couple of them are clearly there due to the explicit sexual content or point of view. The Bible at number six still has me a bit perplexed since it is a work of literature as well as a religious book, but then I’ve also read it.

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