Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lunatic Baptists shut down summer library program with threats of violence

Here's a bit of "Christian Love" from South Carolina. A summer reading program geared towards young adults and children has been shut down following a number of threats, many of them violent, that have been traced to a local Baptist church. Now, here's the thing: a lot of what was going to be covered in this program is stuff I would object to, on the grounds that it appears to have been in the interests of promoting lots of woo — astrology, Tarot, numerology, that kind of crap. I mean, damn it all, shouldn't summer library programs be educational in nature, and all about such things as science, history, and literature, rather than promoting even more idiotic superstitions?

Now, the difference is that my way of objecting to the materials would have involved sending polite but strongly worded letters to the library directors, as well as to local newspapers. But that isn't how these followers of the Lamb chose to go about it. And it isn't that they object to teaching idiotic superstitions. It's just that they only want theirs taught. Yoga programs were condemned as "teaching other religions" (whoa, can't have that shit in a free and pluralistic society!), and a T-shirt making workshop was objected to — you'll love this — as promoting "the hippie culture and drug use."

Library Director Marguerite Keenan reports that at least one bomb threat has come in. What is it with religionists and blowing stuff up? Clearly, these brave Christian soldiers feel they're doing what's best for the sanctity of their beloved Christian community. Jesus loves you, remember that. And if you don't, we're coming after you!


  1. much for love thy neighbor huh?

  2. Just to say that the text in the first reply, above look wonky--the poster's name has some sort of text overlapping it (on my screen, anyway).

    RE: Your post. It saddens me a lot. I use my local public library FREQUENTLY. And I donate books whenver I can. On Friday, I asked a friend of mine when she was going to get her daughter (almost 2-years-old now) a library card.

    In my opinion, the public library is one of the last real public services available to citizens. If you live in the area, you can access your public library system for free. Here in Austin, that's quite a number of libraries. I live in a community that is independent, so I have to pay. It was still really inexpensive, but for most people, for free, you get access to an entire library network of videos, DVDs, CDs, books, periodicals, newspapers, etc. nearly every day.

    You can find books to entertain yourself, to educate yourself, to instruct you on home improvement, home remedies, gardening, management, philosophy, mathematics, Internet coding, you name it.

    You can learn about other cultures, teach yourself a new language, read folk tales, study religions--you name it. And it's all based on community donations and tax funding.

    And sadly, I believe it's one of the most underutilized, free services we have in this nation. If you're not a student, take a poll of your friends and find out how many of them have a library card. Find out who has been to a library in the last 3 months, 6 months, a year?

    My parents got me a library card as a child, and I've had one in nearly ever city I've ever lived. Why wouldn't someone take advantage of one of the truly "free lunches" offered by our country? The library gives SO MUCH, and costs nothing (for most of us).

    As Martin pointed out, if you want to suggest program improvements, go for it. If you don't want your kid to be involved in a program, then don't enroll them. But to threaten a library--a place where nobody is restricted from going in and purusing any book on the shelves--is totally unnecessary.

    I'm currently reading James Joyce's Ulysses. It was illegal to distribute Ulysses until 1933 in this nation. I find it hard to fathom that the United States would ban and burn ideas--Land of the Free? Authorities unloaded this book at the shipping docks, confiscated and burned them. This was _not_ a protest act. It was an official, legal authoritative response (until the Supreme Court banned it in 1933--the same year, not coincidentally, that prohibition was repealed).

    I want to share part of the Justice's opinion on the case, because it seems appropriate here:

    "If one does not wish to associate with such folk as Joyce describes, that is one's own choice. In order to avoid indirect contact with them one may not wish to read 'Ulysses'; that is quite understandable. But...ought it to be impossible for the American public legally to see that picture?"

    Of course, and fortunately, Justice Woolsey answered "no." And so now, I can go to my library, and I can check out and read Ulysses without fear of someone coming to arrest me.

    As long as some people are frightened by other people's freedoms, we can never rest from protecting those freedoms. Luckily there are still enough of us that we can take turns with the watches--since few of us have the capacity to battle ignorance tirelessly.

  3. I wish people would actually

  4. It's a shame that you didn't go to the american library associations' website. You would have found out that the "big threat" was threat of picketing the library. The library received ONE call, and decided that it would be too much for children to have to "go through pickets." So they cancelled the whole thing.

    Guys, this is far different from planes going into buildings, blowing up Ft. Dix, and attempted attacks on Kennedy International.


PLEASE NOTE: The Atheist Experience has moved to a new location, and this blog is now closed to comments. To participate in future discussions, please visit

This blog encourages believers who disagree with us to comment. However, anonymous comments are disallowed to weed out cowardly flamers who hide behind anonymity. Commenters will only be banned when they've demonstrated they're nothing more than trolls whose behavior is intentionally offensive to the blog's readership.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.