Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Banned Books, Part II

The religion section is where things started getting incredibly one-sided. I think liberals would dominate a list of ridiculed or mocked books, but conservatives were mainly represented in actually "suppressing." Again, it's grossly unfair to lump Stalin with a mainstream liberals and Hitler with mainstream conservatives but I didn't have time to come up with a better way to do it.

Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds

The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine (1794-95)

Conservative: Religious figures everywhere; the British government (after the Revolution) arresting several publishers of the book on British soil)

Paine was a Deist with strong faith in God but was painted as an atheist by his enemies.

The Analects, Confucius
Liberal: Mao Zedong
Other: Ancient Chinese empire

The Bible
Liberal: Marxist governments, especially Soviets, Chinese, Romanian, and Ethiopian; American school systems (banned the Bible from school libraries, in 1989, a public school in Omaha, Nebraska banned even the possession of a bible in a student's bookbag); various American atheist activists seeking to ban it from public libraries

Conservative: Catholic Church, Anglicans, Protestants (over unauthorized translations and removing sexual content); Americans objecting to "Bible as Literature" college classes; Nazi Germany: Many of the provisions of the Nazi's National Reich Church involved banning the Bible and Christianity in general, including the following:

"13) The National Reich Church demands the immediate cessation of the printing of the Bible, as well as its dissemination, throughout the Reich and colonies. All Sunday papers with any religious content also shall be suppressed.

14) The National Reich Church shall see that the importation of the Bible and other religious works into Reich territory is made impossible.

15) The National Reich Church decrees that the most important document of all time--therefore the guiding document of the German people--is the book of our Fuehrer [sic], Mein Kampf. It recognizes that this book contains the principles of the purist ethnic morals under which the German people must live.

16) The National Reich Church will see to it that this book spreads its active forces among the entire population and that all Germans live by it.

17) The National Reich Church stipulates that the future editions of Mein Kampf shall contain its present number of pages and contents unmodified.

18) The National Reich Church will remove from the altars of all churches the Bible, the cross and religious objects

19) In their place will be set that which must be venerated by the German people and therefore is by God, our most saintly book, Mein Kampf, and to the left of this a sword."

The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, Roger Williams (1644)
You Call It: Anglicans (circa 1640s)

Children of the Alley, Naguib Mahfouz [Egyptian religious novel] (1959)
Conservative: fundamentalist Muslims, various Islamic governments (zealots attempted to stab Mahfouz to death, permanently disabling his right arm)

Christianity Restored, Michael Servetus (1552)
Conservative: persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition but even more vigorously by Calvinist Protestants who burnt him at the stake in 1553; Anglicans burnt his work up to 200 years after his death.

Church historian Roland H. Bainton wrote that he had "the singular distinction of having been burned by the Catholics in effigy and the Protestants in actuality."

Church: Charism and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church, Leonardo Boff (1981)
Conservative: the Vatican, especially a certain Cardinal Ratzinger

Concerning Heretics, Sebastian Castellio [a religious treaty asking for religious tolerance for others] (1554)
Conservative: John Calvin

Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems, Galileo Galilei (1632)
Conservative: the Vatican

Essays, Montaigne (1580)
Conservative: the Vatican, Protestants (especially Calvinists)

The Guide of the Perplexed, Moses Maimonides (1197)
Conservative: Orthodox Jews; half-hearted persecution by the Church after Jewish leaders literally brought copies of the book to the Dominicans for them to burn.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997)
Conservative - Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims such as Focus on the Family, Family Friendly Libraries, Freedom Village USA, Eagle Forum, and United Arab Emirates school systems.

Some Catholic schools banned the book but in February 2003, Rev. Peter Fleetwood, formerly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, announced to the press, "I don't think there's anyone in this room who grew up without fairies, magic, and angels in their imaginary world. They aren't bad. They aren't serving as a banner for an anti-Christian ideology." [Note: apparently this does not hold true to the new pope.]

The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World, Nawal El Saadawi (1977)
Conservative: Egyptian, Iranian, and other Arab and Islamic governments

Infallible? An Inquiry, Hans K√ľng (1970)
Conservative: the Vatican

The Koran
Conservative: The Spanish Inquisition and various other Christian governments; Islamic governments (strict translation issues)
Liberal: Soviet, Chinese, and Ethiopian governments

Lajja (Shame), Taslima Nasrin [Bangladesh novel] (1993)
Conservative: Fundamentalist Muslims (offering a $1,250 price on her head)

The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis (1953)
Conservative: The Orthodox Church; the Vatican (one of the last major works on the Index); American right-wing groups, including three Republican congressmen; banned from Blockbuster; banned from Escambia County, Florida; banned entirely in Singapore.

The New Testament, Tyndale's translation (1526)
Conservative: Henry VIII, Anglican church, the Vatican

Ninety-Five These, Luther (1517)
Conservative: the Vatican

Oliver Twist (1839)
Liberal: negative depictions of the Jewish character, Fagin. (Sensitive to the criticism, Dickens himself revised the novel, replacing the words "the Jew" with "he" or "Fagin"; in 1949 a group of Jewish parents sued the New York Board of Education for using the novel; the Kings County Supreme Court refused to remove it

On the Infinite Universe and Wonder, Giodano Bruno (1584)
Conservative - Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinists; ultimately burnt at the stake in Rome

On the Origin of the Species (1859)
Conservative - Christian fundamentalists (never placed on the Vatican's Index)

Popol Vuh [Religious text of Mayans]
You Call It - almost entirely burnt by Cortes

The Red and the Black, Stendhal [French novel] (1831)
Conservative: The Vatican (put on the Index in 1897); Tsar Nicholas I; Francisco Franco.

Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, Immanuel Kant (1793)
Conservative: Prussian government, the Lutheran church, Catholic Index.

Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (1988)
Conservative - Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt, England, India, Japan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, and Iran. Currently the price on Rushdie's head is up to three million.

The Sorrows of Young Werther, Goethe (1774, 1787)
You Call It: the novel allegedly caused young men to commit suicide, leading to various religious and civil opposition; 160 years afterwards, banned by Franco

The Talmud
Conservative: the Vatican, especially the Spanish Inquisition; Martin Luther; Nazi Germany
Liberal: Soviet Union

The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam, Fatima Mernissi (1987)
Conservative: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, other Islamic governments

Zhuan Falun: The Complete Teachings of Falun Gong (1994)
Liberal: Chinese government

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