On our trip back from Greece a few weeks ago, I watched one of my most favorite movies, To Kill A Mockingbird. I typically watch the movie or read the book yearly. During my sabbatical in 2017, I drove to Monroeville and visited the famed courtroom, the setting of the case based in the book. Not too far from the courtroom, Harper Lee, who had recently died on February 19, 2016, is buried along with her family. I placed sunflowers on her grave. As a writer, she captured the essence of living in the racist South and how people navigated tough times.
To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the many books that has been banned in the State of Florida. Although banned, a young person can still access the book in multiple ways. The banning of books is a dangerous thing. When government officials start banning books it becomes personal and objectivity is lost. Perhaps, maybe the book that might be considered being banned is the Bible.
Think about the stories told in the Bible. One of the first stories we see is the violent murder of Abel by his brother, Cain in Genesis 4. We see where Abraham had an adulterous relationship with his wife’s servant, Hagar, and impregnated her. Sarah became so enraged with jealousy that she demanded that Abraham send her and the baby away. It’s all in Genesis 21.
Then there is King David. He, too, orchestrated an adulterous affair. He impregnated Bathsheba and schemed the murder of her husband, after Uriah, refused to go home as David suggested to have sex with his wife in an attempt to cover up the pregnancy. That story is in the Bible.
The Bible is filled with a lot of mischievous deeds. We find rape, murder, violent acts, and many other sins. Yet, it remains, rightfully so, a bestseller every year. It continues to be the best book to understand the triumphs and tragedies of humanity. It will never be banned.
The irony regarding the Bible is that conservative politicians always lift their religious values and devotion to God and country. It is that group that continues to give their undaunting support to the twice impeached and twice indicted former president. No matter how vile he has lived, they continue to ignore his sins, but raise the sins of others for all to see. The pretense is appalling.
People are free to make whatever decisions they choose to make. That is the beauty of living in the United States of America. Equally, those who choose to read such books as, To Kill A Mockingbird, or Maya Angelous’s, I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings, should have the freedom to choose to read it or not to read it. That choice, too, is what makes America a great nation. Maybe we need to ban banning and allow parents the joy of making decisions for their children. After all, the Bible does teach, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22.6).” Amen.