The Christian Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin is suing for the right to publicly burn the book Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block, a novel beloved by alienated teens queer and straight alike for its daring portrayal of a young man’s coming out, including his experiences being beaten and harassed for his sexuality. The Christians also want damages for having had to (gasp!) see the book on a library display. Seemingly a little unclear on the concept, the group asserts that the novel itself “constitutes a hate crime.” Perhaps next they will complain that instructional videos used in driver’s ed constitute traffic violations, or that the host of To Catch a Predator is a pederast.
Out magazine’s blog puts it best: “A group of grown-ups want to rally around a burning trash can, remove an elected public official from office, and pocket $30,000 public dollars a piece because they were ‘exposed’ to a decade-old story the American Library Association called ‘[A] gift to young people who have known since they could remember that they too wanted—and deserved—love’ as if it were asbestos.”
Hadara Graubart was formerly a writer and editor for Tablet Magazine.