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Thread: Question- Dealing with Censorship zealots

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well i guess since i'm christian, i learnt pretty early that the christian practice of preaching and converting ppl was not the ideal dinner party conversation.

anyway, i tend to agree with plastic, oppression only enflames desire to rebel! and when it happens, the floodgates open and all hell breaks loose.
my parents have been pretty lenient as far as reading material and what and how much of tv i can watch, when to do school work, etc so i generally tend to do all my homework and studies out of desire to do them for myself. and as for inapripriate reading material, after reading Tolstoy, Eddings seemed completely banal and stupid. so it's a choice that one has to make for oneself. parents can't protect their children forever.
a friend of mine, he does extremely well in school, got top marks and will be studying law in uni- his parents told him that they would allow him to expriment with drugs as long as he only did weed and E, offered to buy him condoms, etc - still a virgin, doesn't smoke nor does drugs (well, except for occasional midoris here and there)
of course, not every teenager is as responsible (and at times really boring) as him...
I gawped at her (I really wasn’t expecting this) and then I tried to defend my books (Edward Eager! John Bellairs! These men are dangerous?) without insulting her obviously strong and previously unknown beliefs. I mentioned that none of the books I mentioned were supporters of modern Wicca, that Lewis and Tolkien were devout Catholics (that probably didn’t help my case, now that I think about it), that formula dictates ’good triumphs and evil is defeated’, and that Bilbo and Harry and the rest are brave and determined and all sorts of good adjectives, etc. But she didn’t care. Everything I said went ’boing!’ off her thick skull.

I didn’t call her a book-burning Nazi cow (I wanted to, but I was good). But I know that I didn’t even come close to convincing her that fantasy isn’t harmful for kids and that reading The Hobbit isn’t going to make her kids smoke pot and run away from home. Her crusade bothers me, though. I mean, she can mess up her own kids, fine, but what if some child had overheard her ranting against his or her hero in the bookstore? Or what if the school bows to her out of fear of a lawsuit or something?

Is there any argument that any of you have found effective when dealing with censorship zealots? Is there anything I could have said to keep her from herding her kids away from me, lest I ply them with The Last Unicorn and A Wrinkle in Time?

Poor kids. Her oldest would probably like hobbits, too, since he’s short and plump and friendly like them. Oh well’
Pray I never meet her! Imagine if I happened to bump into here whilst walking down some alley and wearing my new Planet-Tolkien t-shirt (which u can get from the shop *cough) - She might do all sorts of nasty things to me! Sad Smilie

[Edited on 6/12/2002 by Taz]
Never knew I was here with religious types! You kept that from me people *wonders why Wink Smilie * Nifty bit of product placement there Tazzy Smile Smilie If I met the dear lady in question I think she might regret it, very quickly. Tis one of my favourite arguments that one. But i'm too lazy to put my point of view in here today, sorry.
Great responses so far (thank you! I feel better!) but one thing- "neighbor", not "friend". We weren't friends before and I doubt we can be now. She sneered at me when I ran into her buying the paper this morning. You'd think I asked if her kids liked porn magazines or something. Sheesh.

I admit, since I'm a scholar myself, I lean farther to the left on censorship issues than nearly anything else (except maybe school prayer), and I'm pretty liberal to begin with. But it's not so much her own kids I'm worried about. I'm sure she only has their best interests at heart, so no matter how strongly I disagree with her, I respect her right to try to pass on her values. What worries me most is her inclination to crusade.

I don't believe she has any right to try to protect other people's children, but apparently she's on the agenda for the next school board meeting, talking about "certain books" in the library. Not good. Anything I do at this point is defensive and so I've already lost ground. Plus I don't have kids in the system (and I don't really know any moms or dads who might be on my side), so she has that edge.

My opinion is influenced not only by my love for these books and my liberal politics, but by the fact that I'm Jewish and I grew up in a town with too few Jews to even count as a minority (about 5000 people total, 13 Jews- my family and one other). Judaism isn't about conversion, so it rarely occurs to me to foist on the world my fears about losing someone else's kids to the evils of hobbits and unicorns. I support my neighbor's right to raise her kids in her church and by her guidance, but I cannot support any attempt to impose her beliefs and her religion on others' children. It's not her right, and it's not fair to the kids.

Hadn't thought of cartoons, Chika, thanks! Although she's probably against those, too.- sigh-

PS- the shirts are very snazzy, Taz!
I think it's the worst way to raise kids ever. If you keep on trying to tell them what they can read, what they can watch on the TV etc. etc. then as soon as they are old enough to do what they like, they'll go nuts.
I knew kids when I was at school whose parents wouldn't let them do anything. These guys didn't get so much as a sniff of Shandy til they were 18. I bumped into one of them a month or so ago, and he's fresh out of rehab after a nasty smack problem, so there you go. Most of the others aren't much better off.
I had religion forced on me as a kid (not so mental as to stop me reading what I wanted, but I used to have to go to my mates houses to watch the young ones and suchlike) and it really put me off. Could be one of the reasons for my current brand of militant atheism.
Hey, maybe you can use Plastic at the board meeting for a show & tell thingy, Jehanne. Wink Smilie
Interesting article that Taz put up the otherday...
...More recently, Christian conservatives have used Tolkien, who was a devout Catholic, as a counterweight to the perceived paganism of Harry Potter.

"Conservative ideology is there in Tolkien if you want it, but the books are much more complicated than that," argues Chris Mooney, a senior writer at the liberal magazine The American Prospect. Mooney believes attempts to find a simple ideological postBody in Tolkien inevitably lead to a "reductionist" reading.

"For example, Tolkien was undoubtedly a devout Catholic, but he deliberately kept religion out of Lord of the Rings because he followed the Beowulf model of being a Christian writing about the pagan world," says Mooney.

Again, don't think anything will help convince a fundamentalist if he or she is determined to think otherwise...but you may want to scout around the religious Christian groups in the States and ask them of their opinion on Tolkien and his works. Hopefully you'll get some positive responses and maybe you can use that to argue against your neighbour's case at the school board meeting.

What other books/postAuthorIDs are at risk of being banned?

Mr. S. Rushti(sp?) unless the Iatollah(sp?) has called it off.
Rushdie grond Smile Smilie
And Enid Blyton was once at risk of being banned, as Noddy getting beaten up by Gollywogs was perceived as racist, whilst his knocking over PC Plod was a bad example, and you don't need much explanation for him going to bed with Big-Ears and coming over all queer Big Smile Smilie
Um, Plastic? You just lost me completely. What?

Ungoliant- thanks for the idea of talking to religious groups. I tend to avoid them, so I would have missed out on a potentially helpful (hopefully) resource. This particular woman and her group seem to be focused primarily on fantasy and science fiction, which is lucky for me, since it gives me fewer fronts to fight on if I don't have to deal with the anti- Blume/ Lowry/ Cormier/ Hinton crowd as well. So the main books at risk are ones like Harry Potter, The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit, and others like that. I'm not sure they'll go after Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L'Engle or any of the classic heavyweights, but who knows. The meeting is in two weeks...
Jehanne: Be sure to read the article posted by Taz on the Home page entitled "Rings movie sparks interest in British writer Tolkien". It starts out:
LONDON - Besides capturing readers' imaginations and thrilling moviegoers, the fantasy epic ``The Lord of the Rings'' has won high praise from religious groups for what they see as Christian values in the story.
The bold is mine and there is much ammunition that you might use further on; read the complete article at its linked source.

2 weeks - gosh, good luck. I've been browsing the net to see if I can find anything that you could use, but only ended up feeling awfully depressed after reading some of the paranoid, narrow-minded literature out there. Full of venom, some of them - the Christian Taliban, so to speak. I see that your battle will be a though one.

From what I can see, JRRT & Lewis are in the clear (so Hobbit etc. should be defendable). These groups have their claws in HP and D&D really...dunno how you're gonna find articles to support having HP in school.

Now here's something that I didn't know: Some American schools have banned Halloween? :o Some of the Christian Taliban press objected to it as promoting occultism... It must be a new development since I still had Halloween when I went to school in the States. Geez, what will they think of next.

Oh, Plastic was referring to the time Enid Blyton was under attack by the UK bleeding heart liberals. Stuff about encouracing racism, imperialism and violence. All rubbish of course...the same people even banned Christmas in Birmingham one year. I guess history repeats itself.
Oh, I forgot. Here are some articles by some Christian organisations that may help Tolkien's case. Am still trying to look for a positive response to Potter...

Christian Groups gives thumbs up to LOTR: .

The last article came from here: - although lots of nasty stuff about HP though.

Here's something sensible, but not good enough I think as it's from a Catholic. Wink Smilie :

Here's something on HP from the 'Religious Tolerance' group, some comments there are even from pastors and such.
Too much time on your hands Golly? Wink Smilie
Wow! Thank you so much! Lots of helpful stuff!

You're right, though. It is tough to find positive Potter stuff, aside from the "it gets kids to read" argument.

As for Halloween... all those witches and zombies. Verrrrry suspicious. Obvious attempts to lure children into Wicca and Voudoun. (we need a happy face that's rolling its eyes.)
You, Ungoliant, are an evil genius of the highest order. Madam, I salute you. Big Smile Smilie
just noticed in the news part of PT today...there's an article about a Catholic college that's doing this huge mock-trial on LotR...the debate's not about the merit of the books and things, but just the fact that it's so popular on a very religious campus is something, I think...

the community college near my town is planning on holding classes on Good Friday and the Easter holidays...which I think is ridiculous...I don't think giving students a day off from school coerces them into a Christian set of beliefs...the whole banning Christmas and other religious stuff has been going on around here for ever since I can remember...the store where I used to work actually got in trouble because we had an angel on the top of our little Christmas tree. Mad Smilie
Yeah, Plastic. At least this keeps me off the streets. Wink Smilie

What I'd like to see is one of those Survivor things on a deserted island with Christian fundamentalists, Talibans, politically correct zombies, tree-hugging hippies, Greenpeace, anti-fur demonstrators etc. I'd then drop an army of nuns bearing Christmas trees and fur clad witches wearing reading Harry Potter books and armed with chainsaws (for their part-time job of illegally logging rainforests) for them to enjoy. Then sit back. And watch. I wonder what would happen?

I don't know, I wouldn't watch your proposed show just as I haven't watched any od that crap they have been dishing out on TV lately. Your show does present some interesting pictures to my minds eye, though.
i think it's highly likely that either everyone's going to end up killing each other or having a big orgy. either way, very entertaining.
Have you seen the episode of South Park with the Marklar aliens, where the missionaries chase tham across the galaxy to convert them? Very funny, but quite cleverly true as well.
Thanks Jehanne, but I think that God thought it up first & already has the best seat in the house, whoever she is. Wink Smilie

No Mr. Moderator Man, only watched the first 2 seasons. Then I think the censors realised that it wasn't a wholesome family cartoon as such, & it disappeared off cable. Ah well.
we have it on cable, on comedy channel but i don't watch it, in fact, i never have.
i'm sorry, plastic but i just don't find it that funny. kinda crude. :o
Not funny? :o Well I think that South Park is the funniest cartoon ever. It's warped and can be crude at times, but you have to get past the language - the jokes are funny. The movie ain't that great, but the series are hilarious. Big Smile Smilie
I detest South Park... put a little curseword in a kids mouth and call it funny... pah

As for the original question... remember when everyone said D&D was evil and the tool of the devil? They got over that... found new things to persecute. Ask them why they haveen't raised their children with enough integrity. Why would a childrens book turn their children from God if they have taught them properly? (I know as a Christian that my kids read HP without bringing it up in Bible class...) If you want a Christian quote to give your zealot friends tell them this: "The Bible says, by their fruits ye shall know them." Then ask them if they can name any new Wiccan converts... then ask them if they can name any new readers thanks to HP.

People will always do stupid things like ban or burn books. It is very disapointing but unavoidable, I suppose. Not everyone can be a "leader".
Okay... South Park very funny and inciteful, as well as crude (but hey, crude is funny!) D&D tool of the Devil definitely Wink Smilie
I like the way South Park pokes fun at everything. Nothing is safe. I love the one on Barbara Streisand a couple of years ago, and the one about the Conjoined Twin fetus lady. Seriously need to get more episodes.
Those two book a minute abridgements certainly hit the nail on its head.

It is the old "Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up!" bit. You can also get this same dicotomy with 'right to life', 'gun control', 'vegans', 'capital punishment'.
Ha ha, I win. The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Last Unicorn and friends are safe for now, and if kids read them and promptly start sacrificing virgins and channelling demons, well, okay, I'll look bad but the neighborhood will be a lot more interesting.

Thanks for all your help, guys. I freely pillaged many of your ideas and I think it helped a lot.
If you won, it means we all have won. Smile Smilie

It means some of us can sleep better at night knowing the truth, justice, and the right-of-way have once again prevailed. But let us not stand upon our laurels, let us ever be vigilent, watching out for the dastards who wish to trod upon our freedoms in the name of mumble, mumble ... (click).
yeah! We rock! Free Speech! One Each! Smile Smilie
Great stuff, Jehanne. And I'll have mine inna bun, Plastic!

But seriously though...I think that this will be a short lived victory. I hope not...but I read a lot about of book buring activities lately - that New Mexico incident to name one. What has suddenly set these groups off - Harry Potter? Or are they emboldened by the fact that you have a conservative government now?

Oh that reminds me - I read in the Guardian that George Bush Senior walked into Dubya's breakfast meeting with aides or something like that, and said that "I'm the only person in this room who's only been born once." I thought that was funny.
What has suddenly set these groups off - Harry Potter? Or are they emboldened by the fact that you have a conservative government now?

Some of both, I think. I mean, Dubya and friends certainly aren't going to come down on the side of free speech. And any book that gets that many kids reading (except the Bible, natch) /must/ be evil. So why not go after all the rest while you have the matches out and lit?

Oh well. You're probably right (hope not though). And if so, I'll just take to the barricades again. Somebody has to, right?

On a lighter note, this was a riot. And right up my alley.

[Edited on 21/2/2002 by Jehanne]
Her head exploded. No joke. She started going on about how books like Harry Potter and The Hobbit were endangering children by teaching them to lie to their parents and teachers, encouraging belief in witchcraft and magic and creatures that don’t exist (she disgustedly spat ’There are no hobbits!’), leading them away from ’God’s Church’ into ’pagan beliefs. Wicca is a religion, you know!’, etc. etc. She wound up by saying she had protested the Harry Potter movie, she had tried to get those books, The Hobbit, and others like them removed from her kids’ schools, and she only wished she could show other parents how dangerous they were, ’to protect all children.’

*sigh* I just can't stand people like that. We got a johovas witness come to our door last summer and her totaly bit my head off when I opened the door and her saw me holding a copy of the hobbit. Kept telling me it was "leading me away from the true faith" heh, you shoulda seen his face when I told him I was a wiccan, he looked like her was gonna have a heart attack or sumthin' Very Evil Smilie

(Grondy merely fixed the errant ASCII numbers)

[Edited on 7/12/2002 by Grondmaster]
I haven't read all the above (I'm running out of time here) but I just like to say that people say things like you mentioned Jehanne, should be protected against themselves, I think. No joke. These people can make me So Angry Smilie !
My phobia's a wierd one. I cannot stand tea (as in a nice cup of..). If someone has a steaming cup near me when I'm eating, the aroma puts me off my meal. What really freaks me though is the thought of getting it on me, or accidently touching a cold soggy teabag. Hopefully no one from work is reading this otherwise I'll start finding them in my bunk or my waders etc.

And I've never liked clowns either. There's something evil about them.

Scorpions don't bother me too much, but the thought of leeches, lampreys, slimehags and certain paracitic worms make me shudder a bit.
Just incase you're wondering my other two fears are scorpions (saw one on a beach once, swipped at it with a flipper and ran three miles back to the caravan.) and Clowns, I cannot stand those idiotic *******'*.

OMG, Ross, that is soo freaky. Those happen to be among my fears as well. Scorpions, and in fact, arachnids in general really creep me out, though not to the extent of a phobia. I get made fun of about it but I really don't care.

Clowns were a childhood fear of mine. Something about them really disturbed me when I was a child... they look maniacal! Very Evil Smilie Since then, things like Stephen King's 'It' and people like John Wayne Gacy haven't really improved my perception of them but I'm not as freaked out by them as I was when I was a wee lad.

My biggest fear... to the extent that it's a true, bona fide phobia, is heights. I'm very highly susceptible to vertigo if I get any higher than ten feet off the ground.
child... they look maniacal! Since then, things like Stephen King's 'It'

I think that's what started me on the fear of clowns that and the fact there sinster evil freaks who should all be flayed alive and then have salt poured over their raw blood dripping bodies! (may seem a tad extreme, believe it's not!)

Scorpions, that developed when I was three and my sister told me scorpions came out of the toilet and stung you on the @$$, I didn't beleive in father christmas but until the age of nine I would not sit down on the toilet seat without lifting my self up on my arms to avoid being stung!

As for heights I'm six foot five and scared of heights. every year I climb the cheery tree in my mothers garden to try and over come this fear, it usually takes me about an hour to get down.
My old accountant tried to enrole me into being a catholic priest once. He spent two hours telling me how the catholic church is dying as there not getting a influx of new priests, he even told me to train as a catholic priest then become protestent get married have children then convert back to catholcism!

I eventually explained to him that as well as not being in the tinest bit religous, that one of my three fears are NUNS !

He soon got the point.

Just incase you're wondering my other two fears are scorpions (saw one on a beach once, swipped at it with a flipper and ran three miles back to the caravan.) and Clowns, I cannot stand those idiotic *******'*.
. We got a johovas witness come to our door last summer and her totaly bit my head off when I opened the door and her saw me holding a copy of the hobbit. Kept telling me it was "leading me away from the true faith" heh, you shoulda seen his face when I told him I was a wiccan, he looked like her was gonna have a heart attack or sumthin'

My auntie used to be a Jehovas witness, but she had to leave her group because you're not alowed to commit adultery. It is however go to see that the rest of her sect belived in the forgiveness part of the Bible!

It makes my blood boil that on the media there are constently people trying to force there religion on to me, yet if I was to go onto television and to preach my belife in the fact I believe it all to be nonsense, I would just be being offensive! The fact of the matter is that all religions teach good morals yet people as a whole ( I REALLY DO APPOLOGISE TO ANY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE THAT ARE REDING THIS AS IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PERSONAL ) get even more bigoted when they take up a religion.
Nuns! That's a weird one, did you by any chance go to a convent school when you were a lad Ross? Wink Smilie
As to Jehovah's witnesses, they won't come to my door anymore, apparently I'm on a list, cos I keep winning arguments with them when I invite them in (and I always invite them in). I think it is my duty to preach my own fiery brand of Atheism with all the enthusiasm of a Bible Belt Preacher with a big red face. So I do, whenever possible. Oh, btw, I found a minority we can safely slag off on the net without fear of reprisals, the Amish Community Big Smile Smilie

As to Phobias, I feel a lot more normaL after Val's fear of tea, seeing as I have a terrible fear of fish, the little beady eyed slimy *******s.
No I went to a C of E school and realisexd it was all rubbish (in my opinion) when the head master started to go on about the fire brigade and how important there job are, I thought we wouldn't need a fire brigade if there was a supreme being. I was five.

But nuns just scare the poo out of me. I'm not a violent person but if I was in a room with one I'd either run out of the room, leather them or both!
The Jehovah's witnesses don't come by my house anymore, they got told to leave so many times they finally realized that we don't want to here what they have to say!

I can't stand road trips (don't know if thats a fear!) they make me get car sick, just mention "going on a drive" and I start to feel dizzy. Dead Smilie
The Jehovah's Witnesses don't go to my mothers house too often either... not after she tried to make them Methodists Big Laugh Smilie She's lightened up a great deal since then...

I live on the outskirts of the city where the Jovie's don't go... to many extreme right Christian fundamentalist rednecks out this way.

My step father told me he once attended a Jehovah's Witness church service (his neighbor/good friend was a member and wouldn't stop nagging him to go). He figured he couldn't criticize unless he saw what it was all about so he went. Long story short, the whole service played out like a seminar for door to door salesmen. He said they didn't mention God ONCE unless it was in the context of a "sales pitch". It's the kind of thing you hear jokes about but it's actually true! At least in some cases...
I had a great aunt that was a JW and she used to harangue my mother, who finally got the better of her by becoming a Mormon and could out preach her. I grew up as a Congregationalist, but married into the Episcopalian church where I have been happy for the past 35 years. Which is what I tell both the JW and Mormon missionaries when they try to call on me. That is usually sufficient; I don't even get stuck with their 'Watch Tower' magazine. Elf Winking Smilie

You may kid around with the various sects, but like Plastic Squirrel said, the Amish and possibly the Mennonites, are the only ones who may not take umbrage about what we say here, as they wouldn't be caught alive using a computer let alone surfing our forum. Meanwhile, we should take it easy on the minority sects so as not to dent any of our members feelings. That said, I'm not saying stop it, just keep it tame. Angel Smilie
You may kid around with the various sects, but like Plastic Squirrel said, the Amish and possibly the Mennonites, are the only ones who may not take umbrage about what we say here, as they wouldn't be caught alive using a computer let alone surfing our forum. Meanwhile, we should take it easy on the minority sects so as not to dent any of our members feelings. That said, I'm not saying stop it, just keep it tame.

I don't know have any of you ever seen the film Kingpin!

I have a question at last count how many Scism's are there in the Christian church?
I have another question what does ’ actually mean?
I believe very strongly in freedom of religion which is why I find selling it door to door highly distasteful. You cannot force or persuade a person to come to God. It's a personal journey within yourself and wherever that leads you is where you belong. Believers do great harm to a religion when they start actively and aggressively trying to convert people. In the end, you put more people off than you "save". I blame many the roughly 300 million atheists in the world on self-styled missionaries.
I have another question what does "’" actually mean?
It is actually the ASCII number for the slanted apostrophe that the font used on this website doesn't appear to support.

ASCII numbers are merely digital representations for the different alpha-neumeric punctuation, etc. characters that are sent to the screen and elsewhere when we type on the keyboard. This may not be exacty correct, but it is my current understanding of the situation.

When I notice the number in a post, I can correct it by merely clicking in the administrator's edit post button and clicking the edit post button again. My computer seems to be one of the few that change the slanted apostrophe to a verticle one automatically when I do this. I also try to add the comment "(Grondy merely fixed the errant ASCII numbers.)" so people will know what I was doing to their post. You can now see an example of this In Halo Black's above post of 19/4/2002 at 21:13 which I finally corrected today. Thanks to Ross for noticing it. Happy Elf Smilie

[Edited on 8/12/2002 by Grondmaster]
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