Thursday, May 31, 2007

A new censorship argument

Laura Mallory is a mother of four in Loganville, GA who has dedicated her life to wiping out Harry Potter, despite the fact that she hasn't read any of the books (she says they are too long). So far, she has appeared before review boards--and lost--three times. Last October, appearing before the Georgia Board of Education, she argued that the Harry Potter books caused school shootings because they promoted evil. Her latest argument, presented to Superior Judge Ronnie Batchelor, has an interesting twist.
Laura Mallory, who argued the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft, said she still wants the best-selling books removed and may take her case to federal court.

"I maybe need a whole new case from the ground up," Mallory said. The woman, who said two of her four children attend public schools in the county, was not represented by an attorney at the hearing.


At Tuesday's hearing, Mallory argued in part that witchcraft is a religion practiced by some people and, therefore, the books should be banned because reading them in school violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

That's right, any book which features characters who have a religion are a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state and must be banned. This could have some fun implications.

You have to feel sorry for her four kids. Not only is their Mom dangerously obsessed and a national laughing stock, but she has also shown that she would rather keep them dirt stupid than risk letting them be exposed to an idea that she might not approve of. However loving and attentive she might be, in my book that makes her a bad parent.

In our society, we allow a certain amount of bad parenting, both as a right of the parent and for the practical reason that we can't agree on all of the details of good parenting and no one wants to empower any agency with the kind of authority to interfere that would be necessary to enforce good parenting in all things. Laura Mallory is a perfect example of the kind of interference we aren't ready to allow. She thinks that good parenting means elimination of all mention of other cultures (even fictional ones) and frequent Bible reading. She's so sure she's right that she's gone before school boards and courts to force everyone else to raise their kids the same way she's raising hers. So far, the school boards, courts, and public have all rejected her demand. As long as they continue to do so, there's still hope for our country.

I'm sure she's really going to enjoy this summer's Potterpalooza of movie and book releases. It might not be a bad idea for the county social services to check in on her now and then to make sure it doesn't drive her over the edge.

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