I don't normally get involved in censorship debates, because more often than not I haven't read the works in question, have no desire to read the works in question (not because I am pre-convinced that they are evil, but because they are based on a premise or deal with subject matter that doesn't interest me), and don't have the time to investigate both sides of the controversy in enough depth to have an intelligent opinion on it.

However. This time, I have read the book in question. Twice in fact, most recently a few months ago. And so I do feel that I can (and should) say:

Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak is not pornography.

And this is why )

I am a conservative evangelical Christian, and I take my faith seriously. I do choose to be selective about what I read, what I allow my children to read, and what I recommend to others. But I also choose to be informed about what a book really contains, and in what context, and with what intent and overall effect on the reader, before I decide whether it is inappropriate or not. And I believe that Speak contains nothing that is inappropriate for its intended teenage audience. I do not believe that it portrays evil as good, or makes immoral behavior enticing.

Speak is not pornography, any more than the Bible is pornography. I believe that individual teens and families who are concerned about Speak's subject matter should be free to choose a different book to study if they wish, but I do not believe that taking Speak out of the hands of all students is a wise or God-honoring choice.

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