2,199 results for the words "homosexual" and "gay" (more than the number
of mentions for "Jesus"),
1,355 for "abortion"
as compared with only:
342 to "compassion",
254 to "mercy",
232 to "minimum wage",
154 to "poverty",
203 to "AIDS",
81 to "Katrina",
39 to "tsunami"
12 to "Darfur". 1
Atheism will probably be another rising concern among religious
conservatives. A series of public opinion polls
shows increases in Agnosticism, Atheism, Humanism and secularism in North
America. This trend may be reinforced by a small flood
of several recent major best sellers on Atheism, including:
Dianna Narciso, "Like rolling uphill: Realizing The Honesty Of Atheism,"
Sam Harris, "The End of Faith: Religion,
Terror, and the Future of Reason," (2004-AUG).
David Mills & Dorion Sagan, "Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's
Answer to Christian Fundamentalism," (2006-AUG)
Richard Dawkins, "The God Delusion,"
"Letter to a Christian Nation," (2006-SEP).
Victor J Stenger, "God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That
God Does Not Exist," (2007-JAN).
Christopher Hitchens. "God is Not Great: How
Religion Poisons Everything," (2007-MAY).
One expression of the concerns of religious conservatives is seen in attempts
to ban books in public school courses and libraries. The following failed book
banning is notable because:
It involved all three concerns: homosexual rights, abortion access, and
The censorship request was unanimously rejected by the school board.
Both sides in the debate were reported clearly in the media.
A case in Palm Beach County, Florida:
On 2007-JUL-11, a public school board in Florida rejected a mother's request
to have books dealing with three religiously sensitive matters removed from her
local school board. 3
Laura Lopez, a parent with three children in Palm Beach County public schools
asked the local school board to remove books dealing with atheism, abortion and
homosexuality from the school libraries. She said:
"I'm not sending my kids to be abortion doctors. Iím not sending them
to be homosexual. I think these books should be removed and not in the
hands of kids.... As adults we need to be role models and teach our
children good stuff. These things are inappropriate for schools,"
She had found more than 80 books containing what she regarded as: "inappropriate
content..." [such as] "boys having sex with boys, girls having sex with girls,
graphic photos of abortion, suicide, STDs, and corrupt cops." Although she
only checked the libraries where her children attend, at A.W. Dreyfoos High
School of the Arts and Royal Palm Beach High School, she believes
that similar books are stocked elsewhere in the Palm Beach County school system
and across the U.S.
Her son, Jesse, said:
"I'm in support of my momís decision. Some of those books teach bad stuff
like murder and abortion. ... The School Board really doesnít know what goes
on in the classroom. Some teachers are corrupt. ... The moment we took God
out of the school system is the moment everything went downhill."
Opposing Laura Lopez was Judith Seltzer speaking for Planned Parenthood of
Palm Beach County. She said:
"Planned Parenthood gets concerned when it's about censorship and puling
of books from school libraries. Youth are engaging in sexual
relationships, discovering their identity and discussing abortion. Itís good
for them to have the information available for teens, youth and schools.
Weíre alarmed that schools would pull the books from the shelf, thatís
censorship and not providing information."
The board voted unanimously to retain the books in the schools' libraries.
County Superintendent Dr. Art Johnson noted that a review committee
checks the books to make certain that each is "age appropriate."
Board member Monroe Benaim said: "As a school board member, I represent
all children rather if they are heterosexual, homosexual, pregnant or not
pregnant. Our staff provides outlets for all children and means to get it.
Some children who may be embarrassed or shy might look to a book on feelings
they are having."
Board member Bill Graham said: "I think if you get more students more
time in the library, it would be a safer place. Also, this is a slippery
slope. If you take one book off the shelf, there's no end to it."
Lopez plans to continue fighting. She expects to appeal the decision, to
circulate a petition among parents and others in the community, and to obtain
the support of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) a
fundamentalist Christian legal advocacy group. 4
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.