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Would Sarah Palin Ban My Book?

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In honor of Banned Books Week, and in light of her crafty attempts to ban books at the Wasilla Public Library back in the day… it is worth thinking about. 

I would guess that she would try to axe Dispatches from the Religious Left from library shelves — what with all of discussion of sexuality — especially marriage equality – not to mention reproductive justice and fierce, convincing advocacy of religious pluralism and separation of church and state.  It’s enough to make book banners and book banner wannabes pretty hot under the collar.

I discuss this in more detail over at Talk to Action:

Written by fred

September 30th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

More on Sarah Palin’s Attempted Book Banning

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As Banned Books Week looms on the horizon, the issue of then-Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin’s attempted book banning is heating up.

While Palin did not ask for specific books to be removed, there is a back story emerging thanks to ABC News, among others — there were specific books at issue in the community and at her church in particular.

The Nation has the relevant section of the transcript of the ABC News report by Brian Ross, and the video.

ROSS: Around the time Palin became mayor, [Palin's] church and other conservative Christians began to focus on certain books available in local stores and in the town library, including one called “Go Ask Alice,” and another one written by a local pastor, Howard Bess, called Pastor, IAm Gay.
BESS: This whole thing of controlling, you know, information, censorship, yeah. That’s a part of the scene.

ROSS: Not long after taking office, Palin raised the issue at a city council meeting of how books might be banned according to news accounts and a local resident, a Democrat, who was there.

ANNE KILKENNY: Mayor Palin asked the librarian, what is your response if I ask you to remove some books from the collection of the Wasilla Public Library?
ROSS: The Wasilla librarian, Mary Ellen Edmonds, the then president of the Alaska Library Association, responded with only a short hesitation.

KILKENNY: The librarian took a deep breath and said, the books in the collection were purchased in accordance with national standards and professional guidelines, and I would absolutely not allow you to remove any books from the collection.

“A few weeks after the council meeting, the mayor fired the librarian, although she was reinstated after a community uproar,” Ross reported. “The Wasilla librarian, Mary Ellen Edmonds, left two years later, and according to friends, because it was just too hard working for Sarah Palin.”

The Associated Press story features the McCain campaign’s efforts to downplay the episode, but also provides the corroborating details first exposed by ABC. The McCain camaign acknowledges that Palin raised the issue of book banning not once, but three times with the head librarian. As ABC makes clear, she was fired and then reinstated due to popular support, meanwhile — the entire staff was in fear for their own jobs. According to the AP:

The Rev. Howard Bess, a liberal Christian preacher in the nearby town of Palmer, said the church Palin and her family attended until 2002, the Wasilla Assembly of God, was pushing to remove his book from local bookstores.

Emmons told him that year that several copies of “Pastor I Am Gay” had disappeared from the library shelves, Bess said.

“Sarah brought pressure on the library about things she didn’t like,” Bess said. “To believe that my book was not targeted in this is a joke.”

Written by fred

September 12th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Book banning

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