Thursday, April 28, 2005

The March of the Taliban

If you think the concern about the effects of the right's attack on church-state separation might be overblown, take a gander at what a Republican legislator down in Alabama has cooked up: a bill to ban books from public school libraries that are either written by gays and lesbians or contain references to them:
Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is. Also exempted now Alabama's public and college libraries.

A reminder: This kind of narrow-minded insanity isn't just relegated to the South. But it certainly seems to enjoy a kind of cutting-edge quality there.

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