…I’m maybe going to ruin it.
“And yet on the other hand unless warinesse be us’d, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image, but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye.”— John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644.
THIS IS OFFICIALLY A RANT. If you are having a nice day, you may just want to steer clear of me just now. I am NOT feeling the love. ‘Kthnx.
Awesome SFF author John Scalzi calls them “Leviticans,” those people who claim Christianity, but who obviously have only read Genesis – so they can have a firm opinion about evolution – Exodus, so they can be upset about the Ten Commandments not being posted in public places, – and Leviticus, so they can be homophobic and tell gay and lesbian people that God hates them. Whatever way you look at it, the opinions of people on that lunatic fringe, no matter how embarrassing, are, well… lunatic.
We know this, right? And, okay, this is fourteen people in North Carolina who are going to burn books, and it’s only fourteen, and I shouldn’t get all hung up over fourteen people burning books for what is probably a PR stunt, to boot. These are nutters: we can’t take them seriously. But the problem is, I get hung up on anyone burning books for any reason. It’s just. Not. Right. You cannot attempt to eradicate ideas and concepts if they scare you. You cannot think to conceal evidence with fire. You cannot seriously think this is Christian behavior… can you?
Thing is, this isn’t about Christianity. It’s about control, and once again we have people who would like to control what everyone reads and thinks and even, since they’re burning “heretical” versions of the Bible, even how people perceive God.
I am SO all about freedom of speech and religion and these people are well within their rights to burn all these books and negatively affect the air quality of a little corner of North Carolina. It is SO much their right. But wow, do I wish they wouldn’t exercise this particular right. I truly believe the statement of exiled German essayist Heinrich Hein (1797 – 1856) who wrote,
Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings. (Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen) – From Almansor (1821)
Especially because this is taking place in a small Southern town, I think this has more to do with a need to go back to an alleged state of “good old days”-dom than any actual theological debate. It just bothers me so much; it seems that if they could get away with burning women who they considered to be witches, or other people they just considered unsavory — Jewish people, African Americans, gay people, gypsies — they would. And it’d be Nazi Germany all over again.
The actions of fourteen people shouldn’t be that big of a deal, though. Right?