Sunday, July 27, 2008

Christian Grassroots Impact Batavia, Illinois

Average moms and dads gather neighbors to challenge the library's sexualization of children, yet their impact went well beyond the library

How can ONE Christian bring "salt & light" to a lost culture? Read on . . .

Batavia mom Kerry Knott was looking at the local library's website. On the children's webpage she found a prominent link to Planned Parenthood's, and when she clicked on the link, she was appalled at the crude, graphic sexualization aimed at children. Kerry passed the word around town, and a couple of other residents joined to support her; then there were more residents.

Kerry and several residents attended the Library Board meeting in June and were allowed to speak. The Board deferred the matter to the July Board meeting. In the meantime, the media and Planned Parenthood began spewing their usual rhetoric to rally the public behind the library's typical "non-censorship" mantra.

Reading the brief media excerpts below (links to full articles included), Christians will be encouraged. Not only did the Library Board vote to move the link off the children's webpage to an obscure spot where children don't browse, take note that the Daily Herald editorial (final excerpt below) actually criticizes Planned Parenthood! (The aim was at the Library, but the media "got the message" also.)

Kerry Knott and a small number of average citizens have demonstrated how God works through His people. Remember, with the strength of the Lord, all David needed was a few stones, and down came the giant!

CLICK HERE to read media reports after the June Library Board meeting.

From "Batavia library to keep sex ed link - It'll just be moved, library says" by Susan Sarkauskas, Daily Herald Staff 7/16/2008 [after the July Library Board meeting]

A link to Planned Parenthood's Teenwire sex education site will remain on the Batavia Public Library's Web site, despite a resident's request that it be removed.

However, it will be moved from the "Young Adult" page to the general "Web Reference" page, at the direction of the library board in a 4-2 vote Tuesday night.

The two trustees who voted against the measure did so because they felt the site should stay on the "Young Adult" portion.

Kerry Knott, the woman who had protested the link, said she was disappointed by the board's decision, but pleased with the process. The request was first considered by a staff committee, which recommended keeping the link. Knott then filed an appeal with the board.

At a hearing continued from the board's June meeting, attended by more than 120 people, more than 30 spoke to the board about the link. More of the speakers favored removing it than keeping it.

"This isn't about censoring books," said Geri Fuehring. "There is so much on the Internet that is just not good. It doesn't reflect what Batavia is about or what the Batavia library is about." She also called the Web site "tasteless and crass." It features an animation section, including a video that features a cartoon penis and vagina discussing how a woman becomes pregnant.

Here are excerpts from the Daily Herald editorial:

From "Right choice on teen site, with caveats" 7/19/2008

With some qualifications, we believe the Batavia Public Library Board made the correct decision last week in voting to keep a Planned Parenthood sponsored Web site link on the library's Web site.

But it was only the correct decision because the board also decided to move the link titled Teenwire out of the young adult health section and onto a general Web reference category more commonly used by adults. Mostly, Batavia parents were correct in questioning this site link in a public manner, showing that residents are keeping an eye on what its library offers and bringing to light the side issue that is critically important - that parents and teens communicate on the topic of sex. [emphasis added]

Because removing the link would mean the library caved in to censorship, we support the board's decision to keep the link. But we also know that anyone can find Teenwire through a regular search-engine, though the easy link on the library site welcomed those who might be too young for the graphic information and what we would agree is an unusual use of animated characters to deliver messages about how a female gets pregnant.

Though we're not certain it was the key point on the minds of detractors amongst the more than 100 residents at the public meeting, we do have some reservations about the Planned Parenthood site. It would provide a more balanced view of teen pregnancy if it provided a direct link to information on abstinence, highlighting its importance. We understand that the abstinence message in and of itself won't work to end teen pregnancy. But it remains an option that we support without hesitation. From that standpoint, we are pleased that the young adult links under the health category includes, which explains the sex questions clearly and fully, and includes abstinence and how two teens should support each other if they have chosen this wise option. With that, we can see that the library Web site is providing balanced information and choices - the major role a library plays in a community.

And Batavians can say they were not afraid to debate it in public. [emphasis added]

To read the entire editorial, CLICK HERE.