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Op-Ed: Wesley Scroggins and his censorship dreams

By John Bichler     Oct 5, 2011 in World
Wesley Scroggins believes he knows what books are good for society, and doesn't seem to think it is wrong to ban books from public schools.
Who is Wesley Scroggins?
Wesley Scroggins is a professor of business administrative at Missouri State, and holds to the strong faith of banning books he deems unworthy of scholarly research. Yes, he has deemed a few books too offensive and, sure, he doesn't have have any children attending a single school in the Republic school district, but he wants to protect public school students from reading these novels "Speak," "Twenty Boy Summer," and "Slaughterhouse-Five".
He made a case why the three books should be banned, and his letter to the editor is on the website of the News-Leader.com. He did manage to get "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Twenty Boy Summer" banned in the Republic school district.
It is clear by the tone of Scroggins's editorial that he finds issue with the books because the messages in these books aren't Christian based, but in his zeal to remove the books from the school district, he forgot or never read the great Supreme Court decision found in the Board of Education vs. Pico that strikes down his kind of censorship. That might be the reason the school board is now allowing students a chance to checkout "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Twenty Boy Summer" from the school library, but only if their parents say it is okay.
If you are against censorship, it means allowing the good professor to spew his ideas, but it doesn't mean bending to his whims by casting from the world some good books that actually leads to discussions about what is right and wrong in our society.
I can only speak about "Slaughterhouse-Five" because I read it many times in college, and feel safe in defending it against the idea of banning it from a school reading list or even just removing it from a school library.
Yes, "Slaughterhouse-Five" uses offensive language, but not in the manner that Scroggins complains about in his "Valley Girl" vocabulary. On the surface, it seems the Scroggins doesn't understand what the fire bombing of Dresden did to Vonnegut, or why Vonnegut would write "Slaughterhouse-Five" in the way that seems to mock Christianity. .
I didn't know anything about Dresden until I read "Slaughterhouse-Five" because I never read anything about it in my history classes in high school or history classes in college, but after reading the novel I came away with a better understanding of why it took Vonnegut so long to write the novel about the horrific event and why he wrote the book in the format he did write it in.
If Scroggins wants to read something offensive, he should read his Bible and see the offensiveness of a king that kills his lover's husband and is blessed by God, a father that sleeps with his two daughters and is considered holy, a portrayal of Jews in a negative light when it pertains to the death of Jesus and accepted as truth, and the oppression of women and ignoring Deborah the prophet in the Old Testament. I think you get the point. There are many offensive things in the Bible, the book Scroggins doesn't seem to find offensive or locked away from the eyes of young children that might not understand the stories and need the teachers guidance when analyzing such stories.
In the end, "Slaughterhouse-Five" is one of those books the offends a certain kind of person in our society. A person that has nothing better to do than glorifying their ignorance at the expense depriving others of the right to learn for themselves what is right and wrong in our society.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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