Pastors in Texas are demanding a local library get rid of books that revolve around vampires and other demonic content that happened to be targeted towards young adults. Phillip Missick, who serves as a pastor at King of Saints Tabernacle in Cleveland,Texas, recently spoke at the Cleveland City Council meeting and referred to a certain sections of Austin Memorial Library as being inappropriate because it shelves books for teenagers that deal with black magic and related topics.
“There are 75 books, according to the library, that deal with the occult in the teen section. On the top shelf, there is a demonic stuffed doll and a witch’s hat,” Missick told city leaders.
Missick said he does not necessarily object to books related to the occult but this library in particular has too many books of this genre that are aimed towards an impressionable audience.
“I am not saying that the library shouldn’t have information on the occult since it is part of our history, but there is an overwhelming amount and the books appear to be targeting teens,” he said.
The books cited by Missick include the popular House of Night and Twilight series, both of which have sold millions of copies around the world.
“We’re not afraid to discuss things that are actually happening. Our characters cuss because teenagers cuss. There are issues with sex, drinking and pot because those are issues teenagers deal with. Some people don’t like it but I think the audience is drawn to that realness,” House of Night co-author Kristin Cast once said in an interview.
The authors of House of Night have acknowledged that their work is largely based on Wiccan and Pagan practices along with a huge influx of Native American legend. Likewise, Twilight, which is a blend of romance and horror, has been described as an exquisite fantasy.
Missick believes these books with dark themes are inappropriate for teenagers and more so in a public library. In fact, Missick is not the only one who feels this way. James Holt, who serves as a pastor at Cornerstone Church, shares similar views.
“What you read does have an influence on your life and the library needs to be careful with what kind of books need to be on the shelf. The word ‘censorship’ is not an ugly word. If you don’t censor what your children see, hear and read, then guess what? Your child is going to be spending a lot of time ... later on in life dealing with twisted-up and torn-up lives. The word ‘no’ is not a bad thing. The word ‘no’ can come from a place of love. It’s our job to protect them, even when it comes to literature and art,” Holt argued.
Officials at the public library said they will not remove the contentious books from their shelves despite Cleveland City Council having received a letter from Missick that urged them to “purge from the shelves these demonic and occultic books.” Mary Merrell Cohn, head librarian at Austin Memorial Library said the it should provide books of all types to its visitors.
“Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” said Cohn.
She pointed out that the library also shelves religious books like the Bible and so books such as House of Night and Twilight should be allowed there as well.
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