Cumberland Council’s ban on books about same-sex parents doesn’t go far enough

A Sydney council’s ban on books about same-sex parents doesn’t go far enough and there’s another title in those eight libraries that should also be stripped from shelves.

It’s a book so disturbing in its content that young, innocent eyes must be protected from its extreme themes.

Across its almost 800,000 words are a litany of confronting tales, like child mutilation, infant murder, victims of rape being sold to their attackers, genocide, women treated as property, gendered violence and even human sacrifice.

There’s a particularly barbaric story of gang rape, murder and the dismemberment of a young woman’s body.

Elsewhere, a central tale in one part of the book sees a mighty ruler wipe out at least a billion people on a whim, subjecting them to painful deaths.

Horrid themes like pedophilia are repeatedly brushed over, discussed in frank and callous terms that almost seem to excuse the sexual abuse of children as inevitable.

Acts of adult intimacy are described extensively, including a man’s penis being like that of a donkey.

The sickening practice of having senior leaders of a town physically inspect young women to ensure they’re virgins before their married is condoned.

Throughout hundreds of pages, murder occurs on a frequent basis and written about in painful detail.

This is a book freely available to children, who could pick it up and be exposed to its excessively confronting material with the encouragement of many adults.

There’s another equally graphic and explicit book also held by those Sydney libraries that repeatedly encourages murder, mutilation, extreme violence and all-out war.

It seemingly condones close relatives marrying each other, women being brutally murdered, marriage between men and underage girls, and all females being treated as less than.

It’s another title that any young person could come upon and read.

I’m talking about the Bible and the Quran, of course.

If we’re applying Cumberland City councillor Steve Christou’s same logic about what’s appropriate in a library, then surely those holy books have to go too.

Mr Christou’s opposition to a book about kids with two mums or two dads was to prevent the “sexualisation” of children.

The book in question isn’t remotely sexual. It’s about families.

If Mr Christou is really, truly concerned about the welfare of children and saving them from content that’s inappropriate, he mustn’t waste any time.

He should immediately call a vote of the council and push for the removal of the Bible and Quran from Cumberland’s libraries.

To not do so would expose shocking double standards, which I’m sure he doesn’t hold.

Of course, I’m being facetious.

I’m gay, but I’m also a Christian with a deep fondness for the teachings of Christ. I’m in favour of the freedom of religious practice, no matter the brand of one’s faith.

But the metaphor I’ve used here shows how absurd and hypocritical Mr Christou and the council’s book ban is.

It also demonstrates that censorship – which flies in the face of an open and free society and the democratic values we hold dear – is a very slippery slope.

This is an innocent book about same-sex parents, made with love and understanding in mind.

Mr Christou’s take on it as being abhorrent and offensive, even though he conceded he hasn’t actually read it, has very little to do with the welfare of children, I’m willing to bet.

His harmful, outdated and bigoted tropes do little more than create an unsafe and unwelcoming climate in a part of Sydney that’s home to families of all different shapes and sizes.

Perhaps he should pick up the Bible, skip past the really jaw-dropping stuff, and land on the part where Jesus talks about the importance of us loving one another as He loves us.

I never met the guy, but I reckon Christ would be appalled by the idea of book bans and homophobic dog-whistling.

Shannon Molloy is a God-loving homosexual and senior reporter at news.com.au

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