Get a free sticker when you subscribe to our newsletter!
The American Library Association (ALA), which oversees most public and school libraries, has released a list of “Banned Books” and a list of “Most Challenged Books” every year for years.
According to ALA’s website, the list of Most Challenged Books are books that have been included in reports filed by “library professionals” and community members, and from news stories in national news. They claim that the compiled list is to notify the public of books that have been subjected to censorship in public or school libraries.
However, as I discussed in my article on book banning and censorship, it is not the role of libraries and schools to usurp the authority of parents, who ultimately decide what their children are exposed to. Additionally, it is not “censorship” to ban an inappropriate book from a school library when it is still publicly available for purchase at bookstores or online.
Interestingly enough, the list of challenged books no longer includes books with storylines that include cultural differences, racial slurs, themes of death, or strange storylines. Books like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Bridge to Terabithia were all written with the intention of educating and entertaining the reader. One might say there was something valuable to glean from these classics, and the controversies in them are, in many ways, what make them so effective.
Today, for far more nefarious reasons than education and entertainment, the list of challenged books continues to utilize controversy to make them effective. The books that made the cut for 2022 are primarily written by sexual hedonists seeking to corrupt the innocence of children and prey on their vulnerability. They are sexually explicit, erotic, and pornographic, and the ALA is proud to defend their availability in children’s libraries.
“By releasing the list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books each year, ALA recognizes all of the brave authors whose work challenges readers with stories that disrupt the status quo and offer fresh perspectives on tough issues,” Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, ALA’s president, said in a press release. “The list also illustrates how frequently stories by or about LGBTQ+ persons, people of color and lived experiences are being targeted by censors. Closing our eyes to the reality portrayed in these stories will not make life’s challenges disappear. Books give us courage and help us understand each other.”
I’m sure Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Richard Wright, Zora Neal Hurston, and other black authors whose books have been “banned” would really appreciate being equated to sex-obsessed maniacs who want children to read about their sexual experiences in school. For emphasis, let’s take a look at just a few of the books on this challenged book list that the ALA is so thrilled to support:
All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson, was challenged for LGBTQ+ and sexually explicit content, and it is a memoir about a black queer boy who grows up experiencing graphic, sexually explicit encounters, including a detailed description of receiving oral sex from another boy.
Flamer, by Mike Curato, was also challenged for LGBTQ+ and sexually explicit content, as it describes a gay boy and his vulgar experiences, including masturbation and ejaculating into a bottle to drink.
Lawn Boy, by Jonathan Evison, was challenged for LGBTQ+ and sexually explicit content, with the Spring Magazine concluding that “its pedophilic, exploitative and abusive elements go beyond the swear words and the sexual passages.” In it, scenes of young boys discussing oral sex and porn are depicted.
This Book is Gay, by Juno Dawson, was challenged for LGBTQIA+ and sexually explicit content and for “providing sexual education.” It is a how-to book on gay sex written for teenagers, and it includes explicit depictions of how to do things like use sex toys, have an orgasm, have anal sex, and perform oral sex.
These are the kinds of books currently on the shelves of public libraries and in schools where children have unfettered access and which the ALA is proud to make available.
Don’t forget that it was just two years ago when Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to stop publishing or licensing six Dr. Seuss books, including And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, On Beyond Zebra, and McElligot’s Pool, because some of the whimsical cartoon images in them were “racially insensitive,” “hurtful,” and “wrong.” The company that is tasked with caring for the author’s legacy had worked with educators as part of its review process, ultimately deciding to cancel the six titles. In response, both libraries and schools either removed the books from shelves or de-emphasized them.
The ALA claims it wants to publicize books that are being “censored” and “banned,” yet all of the books on their 2022 list, including those promoting graphic and perverted sex to children, are still widely available outside of the library, since they are still being published. And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, on the other hand, along with the five other Dr. Seuss classics, are no longer being published at all.
If it seems like we are living in the “upside down,” it’s because we are. Isaiah 5:20 warns of those who will “call evil good and good evil.”
What should be terrifying, particularly to those involved with the ALA, the authors of these books, and the school administrators and school board members who allow these books into their libraries, is Matthew 18:20, which warns,
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
These are the words of Jesus Christ, and they show that God takes very seriously the act of corrupting the hearts and minds of young children. The ALA might be proud to release this list and defend these books today, but they have eternal distress and agony to look forward to if they do not repent and turn away from their wickedness.
Follow Reagan on Twitter! @thereaganscott
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.