Friday, April 20, 2007

Bentonville Book Banners

It appears that Benton County, the intellectual vortex of Northwest Arkansas, faces greater cultural threats than just those challenged high school science textbooks that discuss evolution. A Bentonville man named Earl Adams claims that his 14- and 16-year-old sons, Kyle and Ryan, looked at a dangerous book while browsing for material on military academies. He has complained to the mayor and demanded that the city pay him $20,000.

According to the complaint, his sons glanced at The Whole Lesbian Sex Book by Felice Newman. "My sons were greatly disturbed by viewing this material, and this matter has caused many sleepless nights in our house," he said. Led by George Spence, Chairman of the Benton County Republican Committee, the Bentonville Library Advisory Board members voted unanimously April 3 to remove the book from circulation.

Even the local newspaper expressed surprise that a library advisory board would be exercising such power based on a single complaint and is seeking additional authority to remove even more books that anyone might charge contains ideas that someone finds objectionable. It will be an intellectually stagnant community where one can read only books that are unanimously approved. That might be just what the politicans, preachers, and business "leaders" want in Benton County.

"God was speaking to my heart that day and helped me find the words that proved successful in removing this book from the shelf," Adams said. "Any effort to reinstate the book will be met with legal action and protests from the Christian community."

Library Director Cindy Suter,
who led the effort for the new $9 million, 38,000-square-foot Bentonville Library that opened in October, resigned on Monday.

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