I’ve read two emotionally-charged stories and received email this week suggesting that public libraries might ban the Bible.
The American Library Association, ALA, provides an annual list of books “challenged” as being inappropriate for library readers, according to the Daily Jot.
This year the Bible, the most widely distributed and best selling book ever, ranked 6th on the challenged list compiled from libraries, schools, and media reports on attempts to ban books in communities across the country.
ALA says the top three reasons folks challenge books are (1) the material is considered sexually explicit, (2) it contains offensive language, and (3) it is deemed unsuited to any age group, according to Bill Wilson, a self-proclaimed Christian journalist, professional writer, and commentator on current events on The Daily Jot.
This all smacks of Madelyn Murray O’Hare paranoia to me. First, I have not seen, heard or read about any public or private group with a mission to ban the Bible from libraries. Second, they sell, or give away millions of Bibles across the market place, in book stores, grocery stores, gift shops, hospitals, drug stores, thrift stores and more. Third, folks prefer personal Bibles over ones you have to check out or read in the library. Bibles are for marking, note taking and folding down the pages.You can’t do any of that with a library Bible. Folks God seeks for His kingdom will track down a Bible, buy one or order a personal copy online.
What if they do succeed, by some wildly amusing fable, to get Bibles banned from all the libraries and schools? Will that stop God’s plan for His Kingdom? Will they quash the message of salvation. Will they diminish the Gospel? Of course not. In fact, what if banning the Bible caused some un-churched folks to get curious to discover why they banned the book? What if they went out and bought a Bible just to see what all the hubbub was about, then read it and got saved? God can do that you know. Did you ever think getting the Bible banned from public libraries and schools just may be a part of His plan for us?
I have a suggestion. What if all these folks getting lathered up about libraries banning the Bible dust off their own Bibles and read what God says about loving our neighbors? In my opinion all the paranoia about banning Bibles could be re-focused on personal revival and Bible study. Let’s take care of loving one another (librarians and atheists and ACLU lawyers alike) and let God worry about His bibles in the libraries and schools.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NIV