Written by April Madres, Manheim Township. This piece was first published here, the LancasterSpeaksUp.com blog, on January 31, 2023 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to LancasterOnline/LNP for consideration as a Letter to the Editor.
As a 1990s teenager, the expression “What Would Jesus Do or WWJD” was everywhere. It was written on bumper stickers, journals literally anything. It always made me laugh- what would Jesus do in the time of grunge? Unfortunately, this expression has been co-opted to mean something more harmful, more divisive, and more sinister in 2023.
A growing number of parent groups are invoking Christian values to promote book bans. The latest parent group to make their presence known locally, is the Warwick Parents for Change. Their mission is to advocate for a Christian worldview under the guise of social justice.
Warwick Parents for Change is not alone in their view. Parent groups across Pennsylvania have been successful in banning over 400 books in several school districts. Pennsylvania ranks 3rd nationwide for book bans, behind Texas and Florida.
The Christian nationalists behind these groups are working together to get rid of books that deal with sexual identity, race and/or racism. They want to shield children from reading books that might make them feel uncomfortable. For many individuals, race, racism and discrimination are daily issues.
Limited perspective and lack of diversity of opinion, thought and characters are real consequences of book bans. Would Jesus take away our ability to chose books? No, he gave us free will, so that we could make our own choices and we shouldn’t deny children this experience. Our democracy is on a slippery slope when a select few decide what books are allowed.
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One thought on “What Would Jesus Do in the Library?”
Great letter – hope it gets published in LNP