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North Carolina mothers on book-banning quest based on the bible

North Carolina mothers on book-banning quest based on the bible

Two mothers from Guilford County, NC are seeking to re-standardize the required reading list in their county public schools. WGHP news reports that Lisa Reid and Cathy Barnette collected 2,300 signatures on a petition they presented to the Guilford County School Board supporting their efforts.

The books in question include Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel 'The Handmaid’s Tale.' Reid and Barnette are particularly disturbed by this book, stating that the novelist's description of a futuristic, totalitarian, Christian theocracy presents an extreme view of Christianity, and the book also includes descriptions of sexual acts and suicidal thoughts

The report quotes Barnette as stating,

“We would like to see standards change so that sexually explicit pornographic reading material will not be assigned to our children in high school. It’s just not appropriate for teens.”

Reid had stated that she believed Christian students are bullied in society, and that unbelievers routinely attempt to make believers uncomfortable. Part of that bullying she contends is being exacerbated by The Handmaiden's Tale, as is explained in her claim that the novel has a negative view on religion, and contains 'anti-biblical attitudes' toward sex.

All of the books that teachers request to be added to their reading lists are previewed by an advisory committee composed of administrators, teachers, one student and one parent. The members of the committee read each book, then make a recommendation to the Board of Education. The final decision rests with the board.

The report reveals that Guilford County Schools curriculum specialist, Lynne Murray, states that the Board's decision is also informed by AP and IB testing standards, and includes information regarding reviews and awards each book is given, as well as the complexity of the subject and what the students will interpret by reading it.

Reid and Barnette maintain the need for more stringent requirements that are objective, instead of based on who is reading the book. This is not an easy task, according to the report, and has been attempted before. Murray further states,

“We talked about drawing a line in the sand, so to speak, but we found that the lines are different. One parent’s line is here, while another parent’s line may be somewhere else.”

The process for this latest salvo on public education by those holding strong religious views is the same for every inquiry. The advisory committee, which changes its makeup frequently, will review the book. They will then make a recommendation to either remove the book or keeping it.

About Al Stefanelli

Al is a retired author, writer and journalist. His books include "Free Thoughts - A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist" and "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth." Al began writing in 1985, starting with the New York Times. In 1993 he joined a McClatchy newspaper, writing a weekly column for ten years. His writing continues to be widely distributed on the Internet and in print. He also produced and hosted a weekly syndicated radio broadcast from 1995 to 1998, and his work won a North Carolina Journalism award in 1998. Al is the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for "The Clergy Project." He is also a former Southern Baptist Pastor, having served two churches and as pulpit supply for three counties. Currently, he writes part time for The God Discussion, co-hosts the Internet radio programs, "The God Discussion Show" and "Reap Sow Radio." Al lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, GA.
  • Peter

    Sounds like a return to the Catholic Index. Who can get through Atwood's turgid prose. I tried to read it but couldn't and I'm sure most if not all teens will either.

    • Spuddie

      The movie of A Handmaid's Tale wasn't bad.

      One of the late Natasha Richardson's best roles.

      • Peter

        Well Atwood is a saint up here in Canada. But there was only two of her books I got whose titles I can't remember. Doesn't that say something.

        • Spuddie

          It says, its very cold up there and cable service is sometimes spotty? =)

          • Peter

            Yes it gets cold, it's 0 C 32 F today. But winter has barely started and it often gets to -20-25 C -20 F. But lots of snow and I live in Ontario north of Toronto. Cable service? I don't know where you heard that but I have a disk but others are on cable and there's never a problem.

            • Spuddie

              Making a joke considering about having so much time to read most of Margret Atwood's oeuvre.

              • Peter

                Sorry, missed that I just thought you were an ignorant Yankee. Kidding. Anyway, my igloo has a furnace that burns hockey pucks so maybe I'll try her again. It's called hibernation.

  • Spuddie

    "Never trust a man who reads only one book."

    Arturo Pérez-Reverte

  • Pingback: North Carolina mothers on book-banning quest based on the bible – God Discussion (blog) | In His Image

  • http://www.facebook.com/SafeLibraries Dan Kleinman

    2,300 Petition to Stop School From Requiring Explicit Reading Material

    http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2012/11/2300.html

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