Members of a Burlington County, N.J, conservative group who call themselves 9.12 have successfully banned Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology from a high school’s library due to its homosexual content. And the men and women of the group have their sites set on more districts.
Some background: The 9.12 Project was a concoction of television and stage actor Glenn Beck. When constructing the idea, he said he just wished all Americans could feel as they did the day after 9/11—patriotic, we suppose; or, more likely: fearful, angry, ready to believe dubious lies. The 9/11 connection for his scheme is strange coming from Beck, who has stated he hates the victims of 9/11 as much as he despises those of Hurricane Katrina (the latter of which are “scumbags,” according to Beck.)
The 9.12 Project consists of nine principles and 12 values that helped Beck rise to superstardom after being a Republican—as his character was until Barack Obama was elected president—wasn’t cool anymore (now he’s a chalk-board constitutionalist, or something). One of the principles is: “I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.” One of the values: “Hope.”
In spite of shunning those who don’t necessarily worship God and misleading others who may be coping with homosexual thoughts at a young age, the group says its actions will help unite the United States. They’re sort of like the Tea Patriots, except their existence is solely due to a former Top-40 DJ, not suddenly hating taxes or believing President Obama is a space alien—though that’s implied.
Parents, teachers and librarians “at Tuesday night's meeting criticized the school board for bowing to special interests,” according to the Inquirer. Librarian Dee Venuto said: “It would be convenient if we could look at these books and simply discuss whether or not they are obscene. However, we cannot overlook that the motivation behind the request to remove these titles has other social and political implications.”
The book was banned at Rancocas Valley Regional High School.
The Inquirer has also found, "[The 9.12 Group is] already looking at petitioning the removal of the same book from the Lenape Regional High School District, which with four high schools and about 7,500 students is the county's largest school district.
"Lenape Superintendent Emily Capella said members of the group had addressed the school board last week but had yet to file a petition."
Revolutionary Voices been under fire by the right since its publication in 2000 due to its place on the library association’s list of appropriate books dealing with teenage sexuality. Not unlike many conservative policies and conspiracy theories, banning this specific book gained traction through mass emails and websites masquerading as news.
For example, Mission: America’s Linda P. Harvey has written an article detailing why this particular book is wrong on its website’s “Fighting the Gay Agenda in Schools” tab. Harvey uses a young girl’s example of coming out at a young age, written in the pages of Revolutionary Voices, as an example to shun the book (she despises many others published by the same company, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
The site states, “No biological cause for homosexual or gender-variant desires or behavior has been found in humans. Claims to the contrary are founded on wishful thinking, not scientific fact. There is much evidence that homosexual desire and identity develops, although usually not consciously, out of one's life experiences. Child sexual abuse is frequently a factor.” Another one of the site’s supposed facts: “All major world religions and civilizations have historically condemned the practice of homosexuality. Nothing that is now known changes the reasons for that heritage of disapproval….Finding homosexuality repulsive is a natural human instinct to protect oneself, and is common to most humans.”
The sources for these conclusions often come from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a group that helps individuals deal with “unwanted homosexual attraction” and receive “psychological care,” to stop that attraction—because that always works. NARTH is unsurprisingly affiliated with Mission: America and in a sign of possible book bans to come, the group will be holding their 2010 convention on Nov. 5, 6 and 7 at the Renaissance Philadelphia Hotel.
According to the Inky: The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national civil-rights group that represents gays, lesbians and people with HIV/AIDS, and which has successfully litigated against school districts in the past, is assessing the situation, said Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director.
"The fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender material is being singled out "is very concerning," she said.
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An anthology for LGBT and questioning youth is banned in Burlington County, N.J., public libraries. What's next for the 9.12 Project and other right-wing groups?