Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Defy the Ban: Send a Student a Copy of Slaughterhouse Five

The recent move by a Republic, Missouri, school board to ban Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s anti-war classic Slaughterhouse Five is not occurring without consequence. The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is offering to send up to 150 copies of the book to students in the high school who were going to read the book before it was banned.

The Library says, "We think it’s important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We’re not telling you to like the book… we just want you to read it and decide for yourself." Students can apply for the free books online at the Library's web site.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this move by the school board is that it was done at the behest of a Missouri University professor. He reportedly objected to the book's profanity, sexual content, and perceived insults to Christianity. The school board, never one to second-guess a learned professor, agreed to ban the book with reasoning that, with one or two word substitutions, could have come from North Korean censors: The book offenses include creating "false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to Biblical morality and truth."

Yes, Biblical morality is being used by a public school system to ban one of the most celebrated books of the past century.

You can help the Library underwrite the cost of this effort by donating to the cause. And maybe buying a copy of the book yourself, and be sure to pass it along to a young person after you're finished reading it.

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