In a move that would make the Taliban smile, a group of Christian conservatives in Wisconsin is demanding that a young adult book be publicly burned. How long before they're calling for another Inquisition?
The book, Baby Be-Bop, by award-winning writer Francesca Lia Block, is about "a young man's discovery that he's gay," according to Salon.com. The Christian Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the West Bend Public Library, alleging that displaying the book has caused mental anguish to people.
The group that initiated this ridiculous imbroglio is called West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, which is the part that makes me angry. Libraries should not be, must not be, "safe" -- not in line with the usage of the word in this context: non-controversial; bleached of ideas; espousing only viewpoints in line with conservatives.
No! Libraries, books, words, ideas, art -- all of these things are dangerous. They threaten those in power; they make people think; they attack the status quo. That is the point. The concept of a "safe library" sounds like an Orwellian term. It's where the tortured citizenry goes to be reeducated in the beliefs of a totalitarian regime.
I don't want safe libraries, or safe books, or safe art. Freedom, justice, equality, compassion, tolerance and truth depend on unsafe ideas being spread as widely as possible.