This morning during a report on NPR about The Grapes of Wrath and the Politics of Book Burning, I heard a quote that I think really hammers home how I feel about book banning. A local librarian, in an effort to overturn the ban against The Grapes of Wrath in her county (Kern County where much of the book was set) wrote a letter to the county supervisors saying:
It's such a vicious and dangerous thing to begin. Besides, banning books is so utterly hopeless and futile. Ideas don't die because a book is forbidden reading.
And that's really so much of what is behind book banning -- fear of ideas.
At my graduation from high school, the bishop of our Diocese (I went to an Episcopal school) told us that as we went forward in life we should always question our faith. He said that if we questioned our faith and continued to believe then our faith would only be stronger. If we questioned and did not believe, then our faith was not strong enough to begin with.
Honestly, this blew my mind. It seems so simple now, but it was the first time that someone -- especially someone in a position of authority and power -- told us to question and really test ourselves. It was an incredible lesson to learn and one that I try to apply to all aspects of my life beyond just religion and faith.
To me, this is what books do: they cause us to think. To question. If reading a book causes us to think harder about what we believe, that is a good thing. We should always think hard about what we believe.
We should never hold tight to an idea, belief or thought from a position of ignorance. And this is what book banning promotes. It is nothing but fear.