Ross: Banning books won’t stop kids from learning about sex

Oct 6, 2022, 7:09 AM | Updated: Oct 7, 2022, 7:23 am


Books are displayed at the Patmos Library on August 11, 2022 in Jamestown, Michigan. Earlier this month primary voters rejected a proposal to continue funding the library after residents voiced their concerns over the availability of LGBTQ books in the youth section. (Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

(Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

There’s a flurry of stories warning about the return of book banning. I think we’re seeing them for a couple of reasons. National Banned Books week was last month, and because of the crisis facing the only library in the township of Jamestown, Michigan.

Elaine Quijano, CBS correspondent reports, “a small Michigan town is locked in a war over words. The battle is over these five books with LGBTQ themes.”

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In 2020, the Jamestown Library mounted a display of award-winning young adult books, which included a memoir called “Gender Queer,” about growing up non-binary.

Nobody seemed to mind – until a video critique of the book, displaying some of its graphic illustrations, went viral. And suddenly, the library’s director, who wears pink hair and was openly queer, found herself under attack.

Jamestown is a mostly-Christian farming community of about 9,900 people. The library spends most of its budget on Christian fiction. Of the library’s 67,000 books, only 90 had an LGBTQ keyword. But the social media mob labeled the library director a groomer and pedophile, and things got scary enough that she quit.

And then, in the most recent levy election, residents voted to defund the library.

One of the defunders was Dean Smith – who said – this was not about book banning, he just “did not want to see any sexually or violently graphic material displayed for kids to see when they come in the library.

“No one wants the library closed, but they felt a strong message needed to be set. I’m not advocating for book banning, censorship, or anything that violates the First Amendment,” Smith said. “I am suggesting a compromise that materials that generate complaints from patrons remain available, but not displayed, placed under a counter, jacketed, next to the dumpster, whatever.”

Well, it turns out that’s exactly what the former director did, but she was run out of town anyway.

I myself dislike books about sex and violence, especially any book with “Shades of Grey” in the title. And yet romance and adventure titles are on display everywhere. Not just in libraries – I’ve seen them in grocery stores! Across from the artisan cheese!

But when I see one of these books on display, I take a stand. I don’t read it. Unless someone tries to forbid me from reading it, and then I probably would.

And as for what my children read back when they were kids, I’m pretty sure we shielded them from anything graphically sexual. And yet, somehow, they found out about sex anyway.

So, I would say if people like Dean Smith feel they need to defund the library to control the kind of books other people’s children see, that’s their right. Majority rules.

But the kids eventually find out about sex.

By the way, a pro tip for Christians who want to shield their kids from sex and violence. Lock up your copy of Genesis if you haven’t already.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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