Still Banned After All These Years!

Words from the Heart was begun several years ago because of my deep belief that language is a powerful tool for creating change, healing and enlightening others.  Writing, for me, has always been a way around being told that I couldn't do something.  You see, confession time here, I hate being told that I can't do something.  

Is it any wonder, then, that observing Banned Book Week is something I relish?  If you want me to read a book, tell me that it is banned.  I will be at the bookstore as soon as I can to get it.

Recently, I purchased the book, Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth Johnson.  More than likely, I would never have read it if I hadn't found an article about how the Catholic Church banned the book.  

After reading the article, I looked the author up.  I found out that she is a nun, theologian, writer and professor.  What, I wondered, is so awful, so sinful about her book that the church feels the need to ban it from their faithful?

I have yet to read the book, although it is next on my list, so I cannot say why her words would be so threatening.  I found in a New York Times article by Laurie Goodstien, however, that "The bishops’ committee on doctrine said in a statement: 'The book does not take the faith of the Church as its starting point. Instead, the author employs standards from outside the faith to criticize and to revise in a radical fashion the conception of God revealed in Scripture and taught by the Magisterium,' the church’s teaching authority according to the popes and bishops."

Once I read the book, I will share my views.  Until then, I will continue to support the right of anyone, anywhere to read the books of their choosing. Knowledge is only dangerous when it is limited and controlled.  When humans have access to various texts, when they are allowed to read with a critical eye, questioning the validity of what they are reading for themselves in their reality, then knowledge is a tool for wisdom.

As far as Banned Book Week goes, I am proud to say that I have read many of the books listed.  Did they change my life?  Yes, absolutely.  Was that a bad thing?  No, because it allowed me the freedom to say, "Wow, that was wonderful!" or, "Yuck, that was the worst trash I have ever read."  

Here is a list of some of the most famous Banned Books with an explanation from the American Library Association - 100 Banned Novels of the 20th Century

As an educator, I encourage you to read.  I also encourage you to ask questions about any text you pick up - 
  • Why was this written?
  • Who wrote it?
  • Why did they write it?  
  • What was their purpose?
  • How can this help me or others?
  • Is this something I need/want to know?
  • When was this written?  
  • What was the history around the text?
  • What was the history of the author?
  • Who published it?
  • Do they have an agenda?
  • Where is there proof of what is being said?
  • Can this text be confirmed? (Is it truthful?)
May the words you read touch your heart and soul, bring you healing, enlightenment and wisdom.

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Sara said…
It's funny. This must my religion day. I just came from another site talking about the importance of taking action in a religion via volunteering and helping others; rather than just attending church once a week.

Your approach to banned books is interesting. I agree we should have the right to choose our books and make our own choice.

Religion sometimes doesn't take into account the power or the wisdom of it's followers. This is a shame. More books have banned due to the "fear" that somehow the reading of words can corrupt someone. That's not true, unless the person lets it happen. In addition, the lack of knowledge has harmed more people than knowledge.

I also liked your questions very much. Thank you:~)
Hi, Sara!

So glad you stopped by. I agree...banning books has caused a lack of knowledge that is more harmful than not.

I am a firm believer in the ability of well-informed people being able to make decisions that are sound. Not knowing the whole picture, makes for decisions that lead to problems.

Off to visit your site. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Peace, Linda
pea said…
Of course today banning a book or anything else is part of the whole marketing strategy as many folk including you and I would be much more inquisitive to find out why a book is banned...indeed that is why I clicked over from Sara's site...I thought it was YOU who were banned!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oh, Pea! That gave me such a smile! No, the title is because, even after many, many years, some books are still being banned...wonderful literature, like Shakespeare and Mark Twain's writing.

Of course, I would not be surprised if I were banned. I do broach controversial subjects from time to thinking for oneself, believing in the goodness of humanity, and finding the connections that bind us to each other. :-)

Thanks for visiting!
pea said…
Shockingly controversial topics indeed. You must be careful, someone may see this and think that you are being serious!! :)
Alexander said…
Interesting post!! I really like this site, and hope you will write more, thanks for your information.

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