Today, whether you are aware of it or not, is a big day in our nation’s history. 50 years ago today, the matter was settled as far as to what the federal and state govt’s could determine as obscene. The Supreme court overturned a previous decision which would then allow books like “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” to be published uncensored.
It’s a pretty big day.
This is the case that would help further question the parameters, or lack of, for the First Amendment Rights cases. It was also a case which showed the turn of the courts, and the American culture towards a more “liberal” mindset. (Which plays against a largely Conservative belief that judges are more umpires than markers of social change).
There are two questions that revolved around this case and these are questions we should ask often. What influences us, and does it matter what form it takes? The main question the lawyer for the bookseller had argued was that “A novel, no matter how much devoted to the act of sex,” he said, “can hardly add to the constant sexual prodding with which our environment assails us.” In other words, what does it matter that there is one more screaming voice in the throng? It’s a bit like asking which bullet did the real damage in the riddle of a man’s body?
Where there are foodies, I guess I am a bookie (?), or maybe a bibliophile (really, I think we need a better more masculine term). I generally shy away from censorship. I don’t know that I’ve ever not read a book because of a general outcry against it. I will admit that one of the reasons I started reading Harry Potter was because I was so curious as to how this little book was causing so many to “fall away from Godliness”. Same goes for why I read the “Davinci Code”, which lead me to “Angels and Demons”. I don’t look for the offensive ones and head that-a-way. I’m not a fan of Vonnegut, who I think is offensive sometimes for the sake of being offensive, but I do read Palahniuk and appreciate his view of society.
It comes to the point of asking whether or not we are listening to the mob to help us decide the norms and the appropriate ways to behave. Paul has said that “to the pure all things are pure”, and this is a warning that to those who are innocent in mind, there is innocence in motive and action, and in how we are able to discern the motives of others. Judgement relies on that.
I’ve been moved by the thought made by Wright recently that one of the solid aims of Christianity is to allow Christ to speak to and critique society, and allow Him to inform our opinions and actions towards the world. So, amidst this thronging mass, there is one who speaks truth to it, calling us to rest in the true definition of what he created us to be, and that should be the voice we listen to.
Let the world have its clamour and want of rights and liberties. I don’t know that we should be opposed or as loud sometimes as we are against their want of these things. We claim it has to do with how much it affects or infects our insular bubble, but in reality it should be watched. Its from this cry we can see where they are looking for Christ (read freedom).