The Creeping Menace of Book Banning
On October 19, 1953 when Ray Bradbury published that seminal work, it was seen as a purely dsytopian science fiction story. With an eye on current events, Mr. Bradbury is beginning to look as much like a prophet as a science fiction writer.
I consider the written word to be one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Its origins date to circa 3,400 BC in the land of Mesopotamia. The earliest writings were cuneiforms put down on clay tablets by Sumerian scribes. There are Sumerian clay tablets still in existence today.
Sumerian scribes wrote one of the oldest works of literature circa 2,100 BC. It was a series of poems entitled “Epic of Gilgamesh”.
Moses authored the Book of Genesis circa 1,445 BC. The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Jewish Torah, and the Christian Old Testament.
Here in the United States, freedom of speech and of the press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution. The first line of this Amendment is known as the “establishment clause” because it prohibits the government from establishing a religion. I have also heard it called “freedom from religion”.
The text of the First Amendment reads as follows:
“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.”
If we look back to our early colonial period, we see that the Puritans in Massachusetts ruled the people with an iron fist. At that time, the church and the government were fully interwoven. Attendance at church services was mandatory as required by law. the church would levy a fine on anyone who did not attend these mandatory services. Anyone who could not afford the fine would be put in jail and have their property taken from them to pay for that fine.
Throughout our history efforts have been made by certain religious groups to ban books that they found offensive. What is different about the 21st century efforts to ban books is that the people have become militant. Members of these groups attend Public Library board meetings and shout everyone else down. There have also been reports of members of these groups harassing library employees at their homes. Some of them have been carrying firearms. This is something completely new and frightening. It seems to me that it will only be a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
These groups have been emboldened by our previous president Donald Trump. He Provided the opportunities for far right-wing groups to move from the fringes of society into the mainstream.
The people who do these things claim that they are Christians but the Christian Bible it does not condone their actions. The Jesus that they claimed to follow preached love understanding and forgiveness towards others. Jesus acted nothing like these people have been acting. They spew a steady stream of lies, hate, and unforgiveness. They should be courteous to the rest of us by reading and taking heed of those bibles they love to thump.
Until then they have no right to force their beliefs on the rest of us.
Dear readers I wish that I had a simple solution to this problem. You can rest assured that the Steadfast Watchman will remain alert for any further developments.
One thought on “Fahrenheit 451: Science Fiction or Prophecy?”
That’s a good blog post.