Saturday, October 01, 2005

Banned Books Week

Hi everyone... I'm Ryan - Kell's better half. I'm going to do some guest blogs here. Even though I'm not nearly as entertaining or funny, I hope that you still come back for Kell's posts... anyway, here's my first guest post:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

As a concerned citizen, I believe it's easy to get caught up in the problems of the United States. Katrina, the Iraq War, Abu Ghraib, the list goes on. It can be very difficult to see anything good. In spite of our country's problems, I believe there exists a glimmer of hope. Last week was Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, which is meant to highlight the freedom of speech given to us in the First Amendment. The ALA has established Banned Books Week to celebrate the "Freedom to Read", and has celebrated it since 1982 during the last week of every September. I think it's good to acknowledge the fact that we have had books banned in the past for inflammatory topics - race, sex, whatever. People have even tried to ban Harry Potter for being un-Christian. If our country has problems, hey at least we can write / speak out on the topic! Imagine being angry about Katrina or Abu Ghraib but not being able to say anything about it. Because of the First Amendment, the US Congress is prohibited from making laws that:
  1. Establish a state sponsored religion (ie: separation of church and state)
  2. Prohibit the practice of a religious belief system
  3. Infringe on the freedom of speech
  4. Infringe on the freedom of the press
  5. Limit the ability to assemble peaceably
  6. Limit the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances
Groups are continually challenging the First Amendment, so if you believe it's something that should be protected, you may want to join the ACLU, or write to your Congressperson.

At the very least you should check out the 100 most frequently challenged books, you may be surprised.

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