The list of the top 10 most challenged or banned books of 2015, released by the American Library Association, includes a new and unexpected entry: the Bible.
In a press release, the association’s State of America’s Libraries report reveals the books in school and public libraries that, irrespective of their genre or format, have been challenged. As defined by ALA, a challenge is the “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”
The Holy Book stands at the sixth position in the list of the most challenged books, finding itself between Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home.”
As reported by FOX13Memphis.com, James LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association, said, “You have people who feel that if a school library buys a copy of the Bible, it’s a violation of church and state. And sometimes there’s a retaliatory action, where a religious group has objected to a book and a parent might respond by objecting to the Bible.”
According to the association’s intellectual freedom office, attempts to remove books with diverse content are “higher than ever before.”
The Guidelines for the Office for Intellectual Freedom state that the Bible “does not violate the separation of church and state as long as the library does not endorse or promote the views included in the Bible.”
LaRue further said that the association is not against keeping Bibles in public schools. In addition to the text that millions of people consider sacred, the ALA favors including other religious texts like the Quran, Bhagavad Gita and the Book of Mormon.
In 2015, only 275 incidents were reported by the ALA; a number that went down from 311 the year before. As reported by KUTV, for every challenge taken up to the ALA, there are four or five that are not reported.
Some of the other names that found their way in the list for last year included EL James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Susan Kuklin’s “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out,” and John Green’s “Looking for Alaska.” The entire list can be viewed here.
In the past, massively popular and widely known works like JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” were also included in the list.