Ban Authors, Ban Books?

Within the past year or so bloggers have raised the question, "If you disagree with an author's personal philosophy or lifestyle do you still support the product, i.e. the book." I've only briefly commented on these posts and never really brought that question to mine because, in all honestly, I've generally shrugged it off.

But then Natasha over at Maw's Book Blog brought this article from CNN to our attention - "Author sentenced to six years in prison for possessing child porn."

Now this would already alarm me because hello (and shiver ew absolutely disgusting) it's child porn. I mean really. There's certain things that I find over-the-top-you-should-be-tortured, and the biggest is: any type of abuse to children, animals, or the elderly. Why ya got to mess with those that cannot defend themselves?

But, if you read further in the article, this author just isn't some pop sensation but a children's author. He has been in contact with children in his daily career. Schools have let him into classrooms; parents have trusted him to speak closely to their children. His career has put him in close contact with his amoral addiction.

In the past, when the question rose: "Do you ban books from authors that you disagree with philosophically, or their life style even," I've always responded with a shrug and a "no". For example, I know that many bloggers are disgusted by Orson Scott Card's stance on homosexuality. (In a nutshell the states should revolt against the GLBT community.) Now, of course I disagree with his position. I find his persecution of my community disgusting, over-the-top, and ignorant. However, do I snub his books? Nope. I still think that he writes extraordinary science fiction. In fact, he was the first author that I truly appreciated in that genre and I've read all of his books in the Ender's series. I have gone as far as recommending Ender's Game to a couple of my students who I know would love them. Card is ignorant. No doubt about it. But, let's face it, there are a lot of ignorant people in our world. If I were put in a situation to converse with Card on the topic I would not hesitate in sharing my beliefs with him in the same manner that he could share his with me.

I look at it this way: abortion seems to be an equally hot topic. I'm pro-choice. I know many mothers and individuals who would want to classify me as a "murderer". Do I think that I am an awful person for my belief system? Of course not. I just don't believe that the government should control what a woman chooses to do with her body. That's my personal choice. Now let's say I wrote books and I decided to go on a media exploited rant about how abortions should stay legal. I'm sure there would be people compelled to ban my books because of my belief system. shrug They might think that I'm ignorant while I think that I'm right. With such hot topics as legalizing gay marriages, abortion, religious beliefs, etc. of course we're going to end up having this conversations. Chances our, us book bloggers are probably one of the more opinionated communities because, well, we read a lot and write about what we think.

But, back to the article at hand. Bath is not discussing his BELIEF systems. He is a criminal. And on top of that, he is a criminal who has used his position in life to get closer to those that he endangered. To me, this is a no brainer. This isn't a matter of my personal belief system being different than his, it's a matter of him needing serious help.


  1. Nicely said. Thanks for your post.

  2. This particular case is an easy one, true. And I do think everyone should be able to publish just about anything they want, even views that offend me.

    What I have trouble with is the idea that all Orson Card is doing is engaging in speech. He, and those like him, are doing much more than that. They have kept many of us from getting real rights. Rights that have real consequences. They have also taken rights away from us.

    The right to marry, along with the right to a discrimination free workplace, is something with tangible consequences. Card doesn't want me to visit my husband in the hospital should he become sick, for example. Should my partner or I die, Care doesn't want us to be able to inherit eachother's property. Should I die first, my partner would be forced into the streets since the mortgage on our home is in my name, if Card had his way.

    So I won't buy any of his books anymore. He's entitled to free speach, but he's not entitled to any of my money. This is much more than a free speach issue.

    When the day comes that my husband and I have equal rights throughout America, then it will be a free speach issue.

    End of sermon. Thanks for your post today.


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