Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lewis and Clark's Gay Adventure; Helena, MT, and the Homosexuality Red Herring

Many on both sides of an issue at the Lewis & Clark Library in Helena, MT, are taking a common library concern and exacerbating it by raising the red herring of homosexuality.  The library's collection contains "The Joy of Gay Sex."  Access to it by children is not restricted in any way, causing a controversy.  However, obvious overtones of homosexuality are causing people to lose focus on the underlying legitimate interest.  As the US Supreme Court put it in United States v. American Library Assocation, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."  Apparently, like "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," we are now on "Lewis & Clark's Gay Adventure," and US v. ALA is just a George Carlin joke.

Paul Cohen is the person who raised the matter about the book in the first place.  He realizes "this principle applies whether homosexual or heterosexual."  But many of his supporters, detractors, and those in the media are turning this issue into one about homosexuality.  Linked here are a number of media reports on this Helena, MT, library matter.

It is my opinion those who support his position are raising concerns about homosexuality out of a misunderstanding of the purposes of public libraries.  But those who oppose his position raise concerns about homosexuality knowing it is a red herring.

For example, in an analogous situation, parents in a public school in Howell, MI, complained about a book because it contained, among other things, bestiality.  The American Library Association [ALA] implied those parents were racist for opposing the book containing bestiality because the author is "black."  The public school, now chastised by the ALA for being racist, chose to keep the bestiality book available for students.  So much for local control.

And look at the title of that article: "Group Targets Black Authors' Books."  It is like the titles of stories now circulating, e.g., "Library Holds Hearing on Gay-Sex Book," Associated Press, 18 September 2008.  What a difference it would make if the titles were unbiased: "Group Targets Books Containing Bestiality"; "Library Holds Hearing on Book Deemed Inappropriate for Children."  I made this very observation evident to the Howell community, but the ALA is too intimidating, so it often gets away with bullying tactics, such as calling people racist.  

Do the people of Helena, MT, want to suffer the same fate?  Does the existence of some "anti-gay" people or an inartfully-framed argument mean children should continue to be exposed to inappropriate material despite the US Supreme Court, the law, and common sense?  There are perfectly reasonable and legal means to restrict children's access to inappropriate materials in public libraries.  If Paul Cohen did not make this case well enough, that does not mean nothing should be done.  Helena citizens should set aside library misinformation and biased media reports and editorials and take action accordingly.  (One editorial even promoted the ALA's "Banned Books Week," which Thomas Sowell calls "National Hogwash Week.")

I recommend people on all sides drop the issue of homosexuality since it is irrelevant to the matter of protecting children from material inappropriate for minors.  I realize those who support Paul Cohen will find this tough medicine to swallow, and those who oppose him will continue to use the homosexuality angle as the red herring it is.  After all, calling parents racists worked in keeping the children exposed to bestiality, so why not follow the ALA's lead and call people bigots?

By the way, Paul Cohen has created an excellent resource on this "Joy of Gay Sex" matter.  It is excellent because it contains the opinions of people on all sides of this issue.  See "Summary of the Public Hearing with Paul's Commentary."  A similar article presenting all sides of an issue that I had made available, "Ban the Bunnies," was used as course material in the #1 library and information science Ph.D. school in the USA.  Thank you, Paul Cohen, for making this useful resource available.


  1. PAUL COHEN RESPONDED 23 Sep 2008:

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you for sharing this information. You bring up a very good point, which is that one can and ought to remove this book from the library based solely on its obscene contents. Doing that would be no more a statement against homosexuality than the Oak Lawn residents who requested the removal of Playboy from their library were making a statement against heterosexuality. It is just plain common sense.

    Nevertheless, I do not agree with taking the “politically correct” path of saying homosexuality has nothing to do with this. The Joy of Gay Sex is doubly offensive because it promotes a form of sexuality that has no legitimacy before God. It is a wrong and destructive behaviour; God has told us so, just as He has with other Commandments that form the backbone of our civil law and society.

    The Same Who said you shall not steal or murder has also said it is disgusting for a man to have sexual relations with another man as he would a woman. Why should God be ignored? Have not all His Words been amply proven over the millennia? Do you really need to see more evidence that He is right, and that you are wrong? Who do you think you are hurting, God or yourselves?

    Apparently this community chooses to kowtow to vocal perverts and raving lunatics (“Our freedom is threatened!”), rather than exercise a modicum of judgment for the sake of decency. The way to deal with bullies is to meet them head on, not prevaricate as though you can sneak around them. You will only get a worse drubbing doing that.

    The fact of the matter is, even if homosexuality is not mentioned by those protesting the book, the homosexual lobby will continue to cry discrimination at the mention of removing it from the library shelf. That is conclusive proof of the perversity of homosexuality. Heterosexuals ask for the removal of Playboy from the library as inappropriate and indecent, but not one homosexual asks for the removal of The Joy of Gay Sex on those grounds, yet it harbors far more explicitly obscene pictures.

    There is no reasoning with such beasts. Caving into their craven agendas is a sign of moral depravity and more woes to come. Why do you think the financial system of this country is failing, if not for moral turpitude?

    We continue to add to our posting on this matter at:

    Paul Cohen



    The goal as you have expressed it is keeping children from that book. That can be done using existing legal precedent and other means if only people will stop being confused by ALA misinformation. The issue of homosexuality is separate and apart from the issue of protecting children in a legal manner. In my experience watching the media, combining the two issues results inevitable in a failure to protect the children in public libraries.

    I am suggesting that no matter how valid concerns about homosexuality may be, combining them with concerns for child safety in public libraries will make the desired goal of protecting children impossible. Indeed, that is exactly why those opposed to protecting children attempt to add extraneous issues, and homosexuality is just that. I gave an example where racism was used to browbeat a community, and there wasn't even any racism present in the first place.

    Therefore, if the goal is protecting children from harm in public libraries, then that goal is hard enough to achieve that combining it with the homosexuality issue will make the child protection issue a sure loser, based on my opinion watching these issues for years. In my opinion, drop the homosexuality issue to protect the children. Try to get those who oppose you to drop that issue as well, or point out how they are using to as a screen to hide the legality of protecting children from harm. Homosexuality is emotional issue--a red herring. Stick to the law -- it's not emotional. Stick to US v. ALA.

    Everyone's deity is different but everyone's US Supreme Court is the same. This is not a "politically correct" position. It is an effective and pragmatic position that will help protect the children as desired.




    I would not speak in terms of “my goal,” because I have never tried to articulate one, other than filing a complaint against The Joy of Gay Sex and asking for a hearing regarding the library’s wrong decision to keep it on the shelf.

    Certainly it is a crime to have the book in reach of children, but even if children were not allowed in the library, I am still against the promotion of perversity and blatant law-breaking in our public library, which just keeping this book there accomplishes.

    I have given specific examples (see our Notice Board or ask if you need help) showing how the book supports all manner of evildoing aside from homosexual deviancy, including lying, adultery, incest, bestiality, and slander. Who in their right mind wants a manual in their community to teach its citizens to do such things? Don’t people have enough problems already? Where is it written that the library has the duty to provide its citizenry with instructions on how to mess up their lives even more?

    Quite frankly, I am coming to the conclusion that if the adults in this community are so devoid of moral integrity and intestinal fortitude that they would sell out their children, exposing them to such vile filth to placate perverts and their sycophantic, hysterical boosters, then let them do it. I cannot help the children of cowards by keeping a book off the shelf. I can only help by speaking the truth and standing up to the cravenness and silent acquiescence of those in responsible positions.

    Perhaps this example may someday spark something in these children raised in an amoral vacuum, where talk has been substituted for walk and anything goes. Sick to death of moral equivocation, they may repent and be utterly ashamed by the ways of their parents, finally doing what is right because they have had enough experience of watching what happens when things are done wrong.

    They will do this by the grace of God, because He is completely full with the sins of the wicked and will take no more. Dan, I do not want to dissuade you from your battle, but you need to know there is higher and greater. You write:

    “Everyone's deity is different but everyone's US Supreme Court is the same.”

    People worship many gods, but there is only one God and Lawgiver over all, the Lord Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ does not change, as the Supreme Court might and has. It is time for people to return to Christ, and to follow His Laws. Not because you are forced to, like Muslims with Sharia law, but because it is right, and He owns you, paid for by His blood. Why resist and suffer needlessly?

    How can you truly help your children, or anyone else for the matter, when you are not going with your Creator, but rather suffer His wrath against you?

    “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him” (John 3:36 MKJV).

    Paul Cohen


    Dear Paul Cohen

    I am sorry you are so offended by a book that has saved millions of lives and as of this date has been translated into sixteen languages including Russian, Japanese, Slovenian and Hebrew. It is in virtually every library in scores of nations and I couldn't be prouder of that fact..

    Yes, the book appears "pornographic," i.e. like people having sex, because the authors and the editors and the publisher listened to health and psycho logy professionals from all over the world. We all wanted to make certain that young men who were having this kind of sex did it right, not unhealthily and not dangerously. I note that you never point out our various warning sections in the book on "Dangerous Sex" on "Alcoholism" on: Addiction" and various other health and life threatening issues.

    Why not? They're not hot button issues lke "pornography." They're only health and life-saving.

    Yes, boys -- including probably your own if you have any -- are having sex, and they need to see what it looks like. They will anyway. They are having sex whether they SAY they are or not; with other boys and young men, as well as with girls and young women and older women, and with themselves. To deny this is simple fantasy. It's a fact. And yes they are, even if they don't turn out gay later on. I've been an athlete and an honoured scholar and I've slept with as many "straight" men as with "gay" ones over the years.

    Some of that book was being written on a laptop computer in a hallway, while my partner of sixteen years lay dying in an I.C. Unit of a hospital of a sexually transmitted disease he never knew he acquired until many years later. That's what's in store for a large percentage of boys and young men and men who DO NOT know what they are doing sexually, because they have not read "pornography" like this book to save their lives. My co-author, Dr. Silverstein had to cut short our trip to Japan because his partner of many years was dying of that same disease. We were there because the Japanese Government denied there were ANY cases of HIV in the nation, Our task, as eminent foreigners, to change the minds of everyone there. We did, through the Tokyo Asahi Times and Television, stations, through public meetings and magazines. They now have one of the best HIV organizations in the world.

    Neither Dr. Slverstein nor myself needed this book for our careers. He was already a well, known psychologist with a dozen books to his name. I was one of the first nominees of the prestigious PEN/Hemingway award for fiction in 1975 . If you look me up on you will see over 46,000 entries to my name and entries in several languages. I've received scores of literary awards and honors. I have 10 dense pages written about me and my work tin Contemporary Authors, the encyclopaedia of literary America. Yet it is this book that seems more and more my legacy to the future. Since it has helped ensure that there are enough people around for there to BE a future.

    Open your mind and look beyond your shock and prejudice, Mr. Cohen.

    I will be interested to see if you post this letter in full on your web site.

    Felice Picano


Comments of a personal nature, trolling, and linkspam may be removed.