Magazine article American Libraries

Censorship Watch

Magazine article American Libraries

Censorship Watch

Article excerpt

Challenge of Biblical Proportions. A Marion County, Florida, man has asked the county library to remove the Bible. Tearing in half the spine of a paperback copy of his own, Charles Schrader contended at a February 6 county commission meeting that the mothers of home-schooled children would do likewise if their youngsters found the tales of incest, rape, and murder that are "between these holy pages," the February 7 Ocala Star-Banner reported.

A Wiccan who protested the Christian invocation that preceded a January Citrus County School Board meeting, Schrader admitted to the February 2 Star-Banner that "there's some facetiousness" to his challenge: He merely wants to demonstrate the absurdity of weighing excerpts taken out of context by comparing the Bible to the sex-education book It's Perfectly Normal. In December, the commission declared itself the final arbiter in all materials challenges after library Director Julie Sieg declined to remove the Robie Harris book (AL, Jan., p. 25). The commission subsequently backed down after County Attorney Gordon Johnston advised them of the unconstitutionality of content-based restrictions, according to the January 17 Star-Banner.

College District Bans Cybersmut. Following up on a September 2000 decision to restrict minors to workstations that block sexually explicit material, the trustees of the North Harris Montgomery (Tex.) College District approved a policy January 23 that effectively restricts adults' online sessions too. Adult students can be expelled and staff members tired for viewing items deemed to be pornographic, according to the January 24 Houston Chronicle.

Although the policy went into effect immediately, the college district has not yet purchased blocking software.

Approved by an 11-member task force of NHMCD employees and area residents, the policy was developed at the behest of task-force member William B. Elmer, who as chair of the grassroots organization ADHOC (Adults Helping Our Children) had urged the filtering of all college-district computers. The group rejected that option, citing the First Amendment lawsuit lost by Loudoun County (Va.) Library in 1998 over blanket filtering (AL, Jan. …

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