News Opinion Sports Videos Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Events Search/Archive Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Calendar Contact Us Advertisements Search/Archive Public Notices


Restricting access, not book banning

“There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” — attributed to Mark Twain, who himself attributed it to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

The two letters to the editor in The Courier News contained no statistics, so let us see what conclusions are logical in assessing them.

The two inputs were titled “Defending Our Right to Read” and “To Me, That Is Freedom.” Interestingly, neither piece dwelt on to whom the “Right to Read” or the aforementioned “Freedom” applied. Was it the “right for a 12-year-old to read road signs” as he or she drove an automobile? Was it the “freedom” of an 8- year-old to decide to go to school or not? Obviously, there are certain restrictions that apply to minors that are not applicable to adults.

Both of these letters pontificated about “banning books from libraries.” However, in so doing, they deliberately omitted the most important part of the situation.

The “banning” to which the authors referred was really about restricting access to obscene materials inappropriate or harmful for minors. It was never about “banning” any books for adults, despite inflammatory and deceptive rhetoric.

Read More

Thoughts from library meeting


I wanted to share my impressions from attending the library board’s Sept. 14 meeting, in opposition to the avalanche of materials designed to entice, mislead, sexualize, and otherwise victimize children.

Chairman Anderson asked for a show of hands from all who agreed Renaissance art was not a problem, and seemed truly surprised when no one thought it was.  Some people believed they’re defending free speech.  They (and Chairman Anderson) seemed genuinely surprised we’re not against medical books, encyclopedias, anatomy texts, classic literature, Michelangelo, etc.  They’re not “getting” what the problem is.

After the meeting, I engaged a commissioner in a cordial exchange.  I said I believed the books must be removed — they have no place in a public library.

“That’s not a ‘ban’ —anyone can buy whatever they want.  Why can’t proponents just buy their own?”

The commissioner listened attentively.

It’s not a First Amendment or freedom of expression issue, since you can’t have a right to something someone else must provide.  You don’t have a right to make other people buy you porn.

Read More

Library Board’s book decision was scrutinized months ago


Anderson County Commissioner Anthony Allen of Oak Ridge is on a crusade to rid the Anderson County public libraries (but not Oak Ridge’s) of books, available across Tennessee and the nation, he believes to be obscene. He has a small crew of vocal supporters along for the ride. 

Our Library Board dealt with this issue months ago, opening themselves to the scrutiny of the County Commission, the DA and the sheriff, and the law director, who have now fully investigated the questioned materials and reported on multiple occasions now exactly ZERO violations of Tennessee obscenity law.

Despite that, a new buzzword has emerged: “Community Standards.” 

Back in 1973, the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, in deciding in the case of Miller v. California, established what is known as “The Miller Test.” In short, it is a series of guidelines that jurors may use to decide a case involving an obscenity charge in accordance with a given state’s laws. If distributed material (like a book, magazine, etc.) is presented to a court as having broken an obscenity law, the jurors will consider: 

“(1) whether the average person applying contemporary community standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient (excessively sexual) interest;

(2) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and

(3) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” (

Read More