Here’s an example of irony sure to make your head spin: Christian parents in Florida want to ban a book about Muslim fundamentalists banning books because the characters pray to a non-Christian god.
Third Graders Are very Impressionable
Book banning is a hobby of the perpetually aggrieved nationwide. Everything from Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter has come under the gun at some point, because some parent decided that the book was offensive for some reason.
A number of the frequently challenged books have historical significance, as well; what it boils down to is trying to control how children think by controlling the media they’re exposed to.
And that’s certainly the case in Florida, where Christian parents have circled a petition to get two books removed from their children’s reading list — Nasreen’s Secret School and The Library of Basra.
The books, both written by Jeanette Winter, are about Muslim religious fanatics destroying and banning books to keep young girls from receiving an education. In Nasreen’s Secret School, the protagonist, a young woman in Afghanistan, receives an education despite the Taliban’s best efforts.
This, however, hasn’t stopped some parents in Duval County from demanding that New Berlin Elementary School pull the books. A grandparent of several students at the school, Dianne Haines Roberts, said that her children didn’t “need to know the horrors of the world“:
We’re talking about third-graders and they’re very impressionable. I don’t think they need to know the horrors of the world.
Roberts made sure everyone knew she was a Christian, however:
I’m a Christian … and in public school, we’re not allowed to have any references to God, Jesus or passages about creation. I just think what’s good for one group, should be good for all.
The school superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, expressed that banning books was a “slippery slope,” saying:
We are walking up a slippery slope when we start to decide what books we are going to ban from the curriculum.
Vitti also observed that there are references to Christianity in the school curriculum:
Vitti, however, notes that references to Christianity are, in fact, part of the district’s curriculum. In the lessons outlined by the district’s newly adopted Engage New York curriculum, a list of learning benchmarks for students include the ability to explain the origins of the Ten Commandments and identify that Christians believe Jesus to be the Messiah and the son of God.
‘No one has ever said you can’t, nor will anyone ever be reprimanded for saying the word “Jesus” or saying “Christianity” or talking about the Resurrection as long as it’s talked about on a factual basis,’ Vitti said.
Another parent, Devon Mears, similarly dismissed calls to pull the books, saying, “[The petition] kills me. It’s a librarian that saves the books and that’s all there is to it,” and, “I question if they even read the book.”
Of course not. That’d make them a hypocrite, reading things they want to ban. Best to ban it and end the temptation altogether. Ignorance isn’t faith, but it’s a fine substitute for some people.
Feature image via Jacksonville.com