Opposing Censorship in the Public Schools: Religion, Morality, and Literature

Opposing Censorship in the Public Schools: Religion, Morality, and Literature

Opposing Censorship in the Public Schools: Religion, Morality, and Literature

Opposing Censorship in the Public Schools: Religion, Morality, and Literature

Excerpt

For some years, critics of public schools have zealously attacked literature assigned in classrooms and available in school libraries. By labeling books humanistic and antireligious, they have often been successful in their attempts to ban or limit access to works that many educators feel benefit students intellectually and morally According to the 1994-1995 report by People for the American Way (1995), there were 458 challenges in 49 states that year to books used in public schools. States with the highest number were California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Only Hawaii had no reported incidents. The success rate for censorship--that is the removal of or restricted access to books--was nearly 50%.

Underlying the attacks by the RR on literature is a great hostility toward public schools in general and government's involvement in education of any kind. For instance, Pat Robertson (1993), who heads the Christian Coalition, one of the best organized and most powerful political groups in the nation, and owns the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the world's largest television ministry with programs airing in 70 countries, has called schools "crime-infested scandals" (p. 130). He asserted in one of his highly popular "The 700 Club" broadcasts:

The state steadily is attempting to do something that a few states other than the Nazis and the Soviets have attempted to do, namely, to take the children away from the parents and to educate them in a philosophy that is amoral, anti-Christian, and humanistic and to show them a collectivist philosophy that will ultimately lead toward Marxism, socialism, and a communistic type of ideology (May 13, 1984, cited in Boston, 1996b, p. 168)

In The Turning Tide,Robertson (1993) stated that "in today's education scarcely any facts are being imparted and absolutely no morality" (p. 213).

According to journalistDavid Mizner (1996), who as part of his job spent many hours watching "The 700 Club," Robertson continually rails on this tax-exempt television program against the evils of public education. In September 1993 he told his viewers that "Satan has established certain strongholds....He has gone after [public] education and has been very . . .

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