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Summary of 9/16/08 Public Hearing with Commentary

Here is a summary of the testimonies given at the public hearing. Paul’s comments are interspersed throughout and italicized in colored font.

Beatrice Vogel

In 2005, Montana had the highest suicide rate in the nation. Two groups at the highest risk were the elderly, 65 years and older, and youth, ages 15-24. Teens have a difficult time with decisions about school, growing up, social problems, increasing responsibility, and sex. Sex comes at us from all sides, so teens are especially at risk. Parents do not often talk frankly to their young teens about sex. Sex education stresses abstinence, which does not cover contraception. Teenage girls become pregnant because the heat of the moment overcomes their inner knowledge about becoming pregnant. This is a serious problem that infrequently leads to suicide in girls.

Pregnancy is usually covered pretty well in sex education courses, but gender identity is almost never mentioned. Statistics indicate that male suicides outnumber female 4 to 1, and teenage boys who are uncertain about their sexual identity are at much greater risk. In addition to low self confidence, they are under great pressure from cultural homophobia. Gay teens are 3 times more likely to contemplate suicide than heterosexual teen boys. The Joy of Gay Sex, which will support young boy come out to his family and friends and prevent a possible suicide, is indeed a valuable book to keep in the library. Even if it only prevents one suicide in one town.

Thank you.

Suicide is murder and is plainly wrong. No one has the right before God to kill him or herself and to lay blame on someone else for doing what they have clearly chosen to do to themselves. Therefore, if homosexual teens are more prone to contemplating suicide, it is not because of external pressures, but because of internal ones.

The answer is not to withhold sure and safe guidelines, but to establish them. Growing up is made much more difficult without clearly defined lines of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Teaching children that anything goes, as The Joy of Gay Sex does, is the worst possible thing to do. It exacerbates the internal conflict for those with any conscience. The answer is to not cave in and to not countenance or condone sin.

The mindset that Beatrice promotes is responsible for the very bloodshed she decries.

Roxanne Cleasby

I’m against having pornographic materials in the library or in schools. It’s not a censorship thing, and it’s not trying to get rid of a book. That’s the library’s job. They get rid of things all the time; they call them “withdrawn” and put them up for adoption.

There is, no doubt, a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of any who cry, “Censorship!” when honest scrutiny and criticism of a book is given, yet they do not label activities they do or support in the same manner. The library practices this notion of censorship by excluding books with some unique content pertinent to thoughts or desires of members of the community. Doing that while complaining about legitimate critiques and labeling them as attempts at “censorship” is dishonest and hypocritical.

It’s about having a say in where your tax dollars go. I don’t think there’s much of a say in what is or is not in the library. It’s not about hating someone who is a homosexual man.

Scenario: Two parents standing on the dock looking out at the ocean. Man-eating sharks swim by. A bit later the kids come down, “That looks like a great place to swim; let’s go!” One parent says, “Yeah, just put your sunscreen on.” The other parent – “NO!”

Nobody talks about all of the venereal disease. I work as a nurse at the hospital, and I have had to care for so many of these children who come in with weeping, ulcerous tumors, and genital herpes that are with you for the rest of your life that lead to cancer, and the genital warts that can’t be taken care of and if they get too bad you have to get a colostomy. Syphilis. Gonorrhea. Acquired Immune Disease – AIDS. It’s not something we should be promoting for children; we should be saying, “Don’t go in there!” I want to be someone who says, “Get the facts first before you jump in there! It’s not fun!”

This is such an important point, which advocates for library sleaze never bother to answer. There is no recognition of the repercussions of a permissive environment in which “anything goes.” What else do you call adultery, group sex, bestiality, and incest, all subjects taught in this “instructive” and “enlightening” book?

Bill Hallinan

I came down to the library tonight to find out about gay sex, so I went to the library collection and typed in “gay sex” and found 34 books. There are even more books on “heterosexual sex.” I found 751. That may be too many. As the father of a teen daughter, I typed in something I was comfortable with; I typed in “teen sex.” I saw there were 9 books in the collection on teen sex. I thought this is nice, I can come to a trusted place and get the information I need to know about this.

Then I thought I would go to Google and do a page count. I typed in “gay sex” – 24 million+ page count. I said this will take me a while then. Then I typed in “sex” – 869 million pages. Then I typed in “teen sex” – 23,800,000 pages.

I would like the adolescents in this community to come to the library and find information. I would contend that the children of parents who object to this book would never take it off the shelf. I can’t imagine young middle school boys reaching up to grab that book. But I can see people being interested and wanting that book. So please keep that book on the shelf. Thank you very much.

It is up to Bill and likeminded parents to provide such materials for their children. They can do so by choosing what they deem appropriate from the internet, or buy the books themselves. It is not right that the rest of the community, which does not approve of their children fornicating or sodomizing one another, must be exposed to such materials because some are not willing to fulfill their obligations as parents.

And if every single parent in Helena approves of this kind of material, it does not change the fact that the content is immoral and destructive.

Wayne Beckman

The library showing books like this is showing immorality to kids in this town, and I think that’s disgusting. I don’t know how many people here have gone through or looked at this book; it wasn’t very available. This is a picture from the book on sex parties, for those of you who wondered what’s in the book. There is a large chapter in the book on HIV and AIDS. Well, this is how you get it! I don’t think we should be promoting stuff like this for our children.

I remember when I was in Missoula, when I was at the age that I worry about with this, I was looking up Eastern religions, and I ran into a book on the occult. I wish I had never seen that book! It put me in places I never wanted to go. Fortunately I was able to back away from that. But people die from this!

As far as what it does to morality, where do you want this nation to go? Think about it.

Obviously many are already there. Why the troubles coming from every direction? Why are so many finding no answers to their problems and perishing? They have sold themselves out to do evil and have closed their ears from hearing good.

Wendy Wheeler

I was the chair of the library board of trustees during the 1993 challenge to this book. At that time, the board made the decision to keep The Joy of Gay Sex on the library shelves. I was proud to be a member of a board that believed that access to ideas and information is the key cornerstone of the library’s mission. I am proud of this library director and this board for closely following the policies and guidelines that allow access to information to be considered objectively.

Those guidelines, as I have pointed out in my testimony, are nothing less than a farcical Catch 22. There is nothing to be proud of, Wendy, if your policies have led you to welcome any and every kind of perversion into the library.

I red the book in 1993. It was a difficult read for me. The subject was not one I was particularly comfortable with. However, there are many books in the library that would be difficult for me to read – from an emotional, political, or ideological point of view. That doesn’t mean I don’t want the books in the library.

No, it is not a matter of personal taste. What we have here is something that transcends taste. This book is an outright assault on the Word of God, which is what civil society is based on, though many do not adhere to It. Accepting that which violates our foundational precepts found in the Ten Commandments is like accepting poison into our water system.

The content of the book is not what’s important.

On the contrary, there are boundaries. Are you saying, Wendy, that there are no moral boundaries for you, or that you expect none should be enforced in our community? Are you ready to let rapists and robbers violate you and your home?

What’s important is that our library must be a place where everyone can find material relative to them. It is not up to the board or the community to judge the type of information others may be in need of or find helpful or interesting. Gay men are as deserving of information on their lifestyle as any other group in our community. It is, however, up to the board to ensure the Lewis & Clark Public Library remains a place open to diverse ideas and welcoming to all, regardless of their income, race, gender, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation. I strongly encourage the board to follow the library director’s recommendation and the precedence set by the 1993 board to keep The Joy of Gay Sex on the library shelves.

Gay men are allowed to use the library, but there is no law that obligates the community to provide them with free access to sex manuals that teaches them how to lick or stick their fists up each others anuses among so many other objectionable acts of depravity.

Mandy Moody

I’m the mother of 3 children who attend the public school systems here. My concern is – I am a responsible parent; I am very involved in their education; I have no qualms about sitting down with them and discussing any subject matter at any given point; I am also very aware that children mature at different ages, so what is appropriate for my 9-year old to discuss may not be appropriate for my 8-year old. There are different things I can discuss with them at different levels. I believe it is my job as a parent to educate them in the best way. My concern for this book being on the shelf is that any child can access it at any time, and they might not have had the training that I give my kids, so they can register it and make informed decisions for themselves, without causing more confusion. Those pictures are very descriptive. I feel it is pornography, and I don’t want my children exposed to pornography. By the age of 14, 7 out of 10 kids are already addicted. It is important for me to regulate that, and if they are out on a field trip, or come here to do some homework, I’m not going to be able to regulate what they are doing. I don’t want them to be able to access pornography. I want them to be educated, and I want to train them to make right and correct decisions. I don’t feel like that is the public library’s job. I feel that way right now regarding The Joy of Gay Sex, but any book that is explicitly illustrated with pictures is inappropriate for any child, any student to access without proper guidance, I am for removing the book off the shelf.

Having this book on the shelf is about far more than the few people who may take it out each year. The message of “anything goes” that having it on the shelf constantly broadcasts is the real problem. And where lawlessness reigns , pornography, alcohol, drug addictions, and many other woes will follow, with despair and hopelessness.

Where were all the other mothers in Helena who care about their children? God bless you, Mandy, for speaking up.

Jessica Fitzpatrick

When I first red about this issue in the newspaper – the Helena IR – the first thing that came to mind were those three famous monkeys of, “Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.” The purpose of those three monkeys is to pretend that that evil will not happen to them.

That is a very good illustration of the reaction of many in this community who profess to believe in God and His moral standards. Many are closing their eyes and ears to what is happening, and thus the resounding silence of those who know better yet give tacit consent to homosexual pornography in the library.

I know that a lot of folks here are speaking to the “evil” of homosexuality and gay sex. In my opinion, this is not a gay issue. Nor is it an issue about selective lifestyle, religion, or any other behavior that may be deemed deviant.

It is said that you should not judge a book by its cover, implying you should judge it by its content. This book is rejected because of its content. Content is the issue. To say that you will accept any book, regardless of content, is unreasonable and unrealistic.

The issue here is censorship. Censorship grows upon fear. Fear that if we take it away, nobody will know about it. Fear that if it’s there, everybody will know about it, and if they know about it, they will do it. That is false information.

The Joy of Gay Sex censors God, and, I agree, it is done out of fear. God says it is abomination for a man to lie with another man as he does with a woman. God says it is sin to commit adultery, to not honor your parents, to commit self murder, and to falsely accuse your neighbor. These are all things this book tries to obliterate. The problem for those who try to censor God is that they cannot. He fills the world, and even if you make your bed in Hell, He is there.

I do not support or deny sexual activity. This book is not pornography; it is educational just as the heterosexual edition – The Joy of Sex.

Just because something is educational does not make it good. Muslim Jihadists are educated in the hatred of Muhammad, learning techniques to destroy many of their avowed enemies through self murder. So what that The Joy of Sex is educational? "What is it teaching?" is the question.

We have heard several testimonies tonight about children and getting the facts first from the appropriate sources. Some of those sources are not available through public education, through parents, or any other sources to children.

Maybe that should tell you, Jessica, that these are not sources they need to access. They need a different kind of education altogether. Why should people support an agenda that leads to destruction?

I value the fact that the library has these sources available, not only these two books but other sources on sexual education and education across the board. I support the board’s decision on keeping this book on the shelf, and I recommend that you continue doing so. Thank you very much for your time.

If you want to make these resources available to your daughter, that is your business. If you want to make these available to other people’s children, try to do that on any sidewalk in Helena and you will be arrested. Why should the library be employed to do your dirty business?

Paul Cohen

My name is Paul Cohen.

Judy Hart has concluded that this book satisfies library guidelines, and that removing it would essentially amount to censorship by denying the citizens of Helena free access to its contents.

Censorship is what John Calvin did to Michael Servetus in 1553. For refuting the doctrine of the trinity, John Calvin had Michael Servetus tried as a heretic and burned at the stake, along with his books. That is censorship.

Any Helena citizen can purchase and keep a copy of this book at home. Any private Helena organization can buy a copy or copies for its members. No one is being denied freedom of speech or access to ideas, as repulsive as those ideas may be, by removing this book from the library.

Freedom of speech is a right extended to individuals. The library is not an individual. It is an institution chartered by the community. As such, it does not to have its own mind and the freedom to say whatever it likes; it is subject to the mores and wishes of those who formed it. In other words, the library is here to serve us rather than us being here to serve the library.

The library’s Freedom to Read and Bill of Rights statements can be summed up as follows:

If the library decides something is reasonable, no matter how deviant or vile, their selection is untouchable under freedom of speech. It is a classic Catch-22. You may question their judgment on a selection, but if you do, you are anti-freedom and democracy, so your request will be denied, which is why we are here.

Here is the difference, however, between a private citizen (who has freedom of speech rights) and the library:

If a pervert starts a book collection in his house, giving free access to all manner of offensive pornography to Helenans of any age, the police will shut him down in short order. The Joy of Gay Sex could be used as court evidence to justify putting him in jail.

The library, on the other hand, claims that this book has redeeming value, so they keep it on their shelves. If library officials have the right to keep whatever they choose, then we should demand that they also be prepared to take responsibility for such decisions of free speech and face jail time like any regular citizen who distributes pornography to minors.

Corporations are well known for pulling the same stunt, claiming the rights of individuals, yet using their collective power to get away with murder.

The review compilation for this book should be filed in the fiction section of the library, under “Fantasy.” Peppered with words like, “thoughtful,” “professional,” “suitable,” and “valuable information,” the report does not consider the book’s justification for self-murder, adultery, dishonoring of parents, and bigotry. It even calls its disgusting pictures, “visual examples of healthy sexual relations.”

This book is one giant act of vomiting on God and His Law. That is why I say to you, the trustees:

Don’t be intimidated by legal double talk, platitudes, and psychological mumbo jumbo. Don’t let those who tell you there is no right and wrong cow you into approving what is wrong. Don’t tolerate what is harmful as suitable material for your friends, family, and fellow citizens. Be brave, hold your nose, and take out the trash.

Cindy Taylor

I support keeping this book in the library. I am opposed to the removal of this or any other book, and my opposition is based upon the goal of freedom of expression…. Censorship is the control of information and ideas…. The library is a place where millions of people have gotten their education, and I am one of them. People who can’t afford college or buy books can go to the library and get information. It is my hope that others want the same thing – the free flow of information and ideas. That is why I support keeping this book in the library.

When I went to college they did not offer courses in sodomy. What kind of education is this, and how vital is it to our community? Free flowing water is good, but not free flowing feces.

Shirley James

I do oppose the book. Ever since I was a member of this community, I have grave concerns about sexual freedom here and The Joy of Gay Sex being made available to people of all ages. Even though I strongly dislike the contents of this book, after reading the requirements I was given at this last meeting that gave the requirements the library has upon them, it is clear from their article that they feel they need to have this book here for all individuals, or the library must be here for all individuals. Therefore, if it would be possible, I would suggest that a section for adult viewing be made in the library for people who have this kind of taste. I would really prefer these kinds of books be kept in the adult bookstores. But if they have to be here, perhaps a section might be kept that would keep these books out of the reach of children. I truly appreciate the efforts of Paul Cohen, that he has the courage to take a stand that exemplifies the values of this country. Thank you.

You are welcome, Shirley. I must say, however, that the stand I have taken (by the grace of God – no credit coming to me) is not exemplified by this country. If it were, this situation would not have come up in the first place, and if it did, many more would make their voices heard. On the contrary, there is much talk of God, but where are His lovers?

Gene Allison

Thanks for having me here to speak my piece. I do appreciate it. I’m against taking this book off the shelf, because I’m against banning books in general.

So am I. Let’s liken filtering books to an immigration policy. You would like to have hard working people from all over the world, lawfully and gainfully employed, contributing to the welfare of the country, but you do not want terrorists. There are standards that serve the best interests of the community.

I have never seen or found it to be advantageous to speak from a position of ignorance.

So why do you do it, Gene? You obviously don’t know anything about what I know, and you prove it by this statement.

To say that we’re not talking about disease, or nobody hears about disease, this is how you find out about it. This is the book that can do it – this is one of the books. If you take this one off, you have to ask yourself where it’s going to end.

It is no great advice to tell people jumping out of planes to use parachutes, but guess what? No one ever dies from parachute failure if they don’t jump out of a plane. The clue here is that homosexual sex is dangerous, because it is unnatural and wrong. That is why God warns against it.

There are plenty of other books in this library as well – for instance Passionate Marriage, a book about marriage and sex; there is The Joy of Sex; there is, in sense of sexuality, Christian Love and Intimacy – we’re not talking about removing any of those! What’s the difference? The difference is that we are talking about homosexuality here, and that, I will submit to you, is not the reason to remove this book from off the shelves.

If those books are about the sexual relationships of married couples, the kind of sex men and women were meant to have, as created by God, then there is a very big difference. I don’t know that the library is the place for that kind of material, however, especially with explicit illustrations and the access children have. It is no problem if the library doesn’t carry such books. People could make them a standard wedding present, putting the information in the hands of those who need it. Teenagers do not need sex manuals, and if their parents deem they do, it is their responsibility to provide them.

I can say that I have been reading books for a couple of years now, and I have never yet had one jump off the shelf and make me read it. As an adult, I have that option, if something offends me, to not read it.

If you are telling me that you have never been tempted by something that you later regretted doing, then you must have lived a very restricted, confined life. But if you know that some things cause people to stumble, like all the rest of us do, why place potential pitfalls in the way of others, whether they are children or adults?

We have all these posters around town warning people to not do meth once, and no doubt it is a good idea not to do it. Yet here you people are, crying repression and Stalin-like censorship if a book that could harm people is simply taken off the library bookshelf.

As far as the children go, I hear a lot of talk about letting the parents be the parents. Well, here is a golden opportunity. My child grew up in this library. I’m a parent times two, and they both have attended this library since they were very young, and I am not concerned about that. If you want to be a parent, be a parent. If you can’t talk to your children about this kind of thing, if you can’t trust them, then come to the library with them! That’s being a parent; that’s the safeguard to protect our children here. We don’t need to take the book off, then proceed from that position of ignorance.

That makes about as much sense as a household keeping toxin poisons without childproof caps under the kitchen sink, ones they don’t ever need or use. I say get rid of the poison. Those that need to use the stuff can buy their own. Why should others suffer potential harm for the sake of some men’s illicit pleasures? And if your son takes out The Joy of Gay Sex, and then has sex with your married friend that you did not know is homosexual, who happens to find young flesh irresistible, are you really going to say, “Live and let live”? If so, God have mercy on your children, because you certainly do not.

Paul Zallek

My name is Paul Zallek, and I’m not afraid to speak for the rights of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. If we’re going to get any help, we’re gonna need it all from Him on this one, because we’ve got a serious problem. It comes down to a point of national security. There are people in other parts of the world who are willing to drop bombs on this library, because there’s material like this on the shelves. We should take that into serious consideration. If our soldiers are in Iraq fighting to defend the right to have a book like this, I’m not sure… what can we say? We’d better take this into some serious consideration. Thank you for your time.

I would like to defer the rest of my time to another speaker that has a little bit more ability. Thank you.

It is indeed on account of the degeneracy and hypocrisy of the West that God has raised up the Muslim scourge. The United States, which is manifestly not united, cannot stand before its enemies and crumbles from within, where all battles are decided.

Mike Cronin

I thank you for the opportunity to express my opposition to the removal of the book. Coming so late in the testimonies, many people have already made the points that I would like to make. The one point that I will add to it is that the public library has the duty and obligation to provide material to all clients, and they do not have, with that obligation, the obligation to be a deterrent to any of the clients. Their role is to make available those kinds of things that any client of the library might have an interest in, and not to censor, remove, or ban from the stacks any material that would be opposed by an individual or special interest group just because they disagree with its content. So again, I stand in opposition to removing this book.

The library is under no obligation to provide something for everyone, especially when the material is salacious and illegal for some patrons to otherwise obtain. Also, it is not a deterrent if the library does not stock a book on gay sex. A deterrent is billboards like the ones used around town to dissuade crystal meth use. You choose your words carelessly, or carefully to create the wrong picture.

The reason material is removed is not because I disagree with it, but because it is offensive, harmful, and wrong. You live in a world that does not exist, where there is no right or wrong. There is no such place. Clearly everyone bans or filters things, for good or for evil, whether individually as persons or collectively as nations. We have not made up our own standards according to our tastes, but refer to the time-tested and vindicated Word of God as our guide.

Sara Schmidt

Hi, my name is Sara Schmidt. I am here in support of removing The Joy of Gay Sex from the library shelves. First of all, one of the last speakers spoke about coming from a place of ignorance. We are not ignorant; Paul Cohen has the book with us, so anyone who doesn’t know what is in the book can see him after the meeting. As a service to the community, on our website we are posting a summary of the last meeting as well as comments on those summaries, so our website is www.thepathoftruth.com, and if you go to the Notice Board – it’s not quite up yet, but it will be up soon, and we’ll have all of those materials available. Thank you.

Who is in fear and ignorance, if not people who are afraid their freedom of speech is being taken away because the library does not put pornography on its shelves?

John Brophy

I’m opposed to the removal of this book. I believe it’s not a book of sex for sex’s sake; it’s sex for information’s sake. As a proud gay man, I have been through hundreds of books on how to come out, how to deal with parents, how to just live as a gay man. It’s not information you get from your fathers, or your mothers, or your grandparents. I know many, many men who have come out later in life, much later – 30’s and 40’s. Books like The Survival Guide for Teens….

John does not know it, but saying, “I am a proud gay man,” is no different from saying, “I am a proud murderer or liar or adulterer.” If you boast of one sin, you boast of them all. It is not incumbent on the community to teach people how to be proud of their sins. There is no law that says we have to pay for manuals that teach homosexuals how to commit perversity. The Law of God, in fact, forbids us from doing that.

Those who know better but are silent sin worse than the homosexual who is in total darkness.

I believe that if you are going to take away one book because of being sexually based, you should take away all of them. After that, why stop there? Let’s take away violence. And after that, for those who believe in Evolution, let’s take away Creation. And for those who believe in Creation, let’s take away Evolution. At the end of it we would end up with revised dictionaries with every bad word taken out and a lot of phone books.

This is a specious argument. There are very sound legal arguments, as we have shown, for removing pornography from the library. As for other subjects, people can be wrong and can read lies without violating any laws.

I looked at this book on beauty at this library. It is very graphic. I’ve red a little part of it. Words like “cock” are used in it. It is very descriptive of the size of a man’s genitals, and how disloyalty and deception are part of a marriage. I believe that is along the same lines as this book, but it’s got top ratings; everyone loves it. Everyone who is aware of it loves this book. It’s easy to get, and it’s informative. I believe that The Joy of Gay Sex is just as informative.

There must be a legal term for this kind of obfuscation and sidetracking. The arguments against The Joy of Gay Sex are not diminished one whit by what is in other library books. Those books are not being examined presently. If and when they are, the cases for or against them can be debated. Obviously the library has not been exercising proper discrimination in materials, so it is very possible that other books are also inappropriate.

It’s not sex for sex’s sake, it’s sex for info. It’s just straightforward, very blunt, and very necessary mainly for older men to be able to have access to. We don’t have an adult bookstore, I don’t think, in Helena. We don’t have places where older men can find out what they’ve missed for 30 years.

This self-gratifying and indulgent society has surely reached a new low when free access to teachings on sexual perversity is considered a basic human right and entitlement.

I do agree that having a section blocked off would be good for sexual based books and other books that are more adult.

This compromise solution was implemented in the Nampa Idaho public library, which was recently threatened with a lawsuit by the ACLU as being discriminatory. The library immediately caved in fear of financial costs, and put the book back on the shelf. My argument is that the book has no place at all in the public library, the same as: “The Joy of Murder,” “Adultery Is a Lot of Fun,” and “How to Steal Your Way to Happiness.”

Thank you very much.

Mark Seitz

Hello. My name is Mark Seitz, and I’m a fairly new member of the Helena community, moved here from the Bitterroot Valley. As a concerned parent, I have 3 young boys, I believe it is in the best interest for, not only Helena but any community in MT, to be aware of the content in our books. Just as I would not want a book here in our library that would teach a young person how to, perhaps, take pipe bombs into our public schools or other things – help them to commit suicide or various things – I also do not want a book in my library for my children to access that’s The Joy of Gay Sex. So you have many things to think about this evening. I hope for the good of our community that you would remove this book. In our nation, we don’t allow child pornography. In the library it’s illegal to have it. I believe that in a form this is child pornography, because it is teaching our children how to have gay sex. So you will be a part of promoting and defending pornography in our library. So I hope that you would take everyone’s comments into consideration. Not only are we thankful for the diversity that’s represented here this evening, we celebrate them and we love them. But we also love our children more than to have this book in our library. So I pray and hope that you would have mind’s open enough to realize that we have to discriminate between what’s best for our children, what’s best for our young people, and what isn’t. I don’t want to have an open mind that’s so open that my brain falls out. I want to have an open mind that is also discerning what is the good of our children, our teenagers, and our adults. Thank you as you make the decision tonight, or whenever you do, to remove this book from your bookshelves. We are going to be supportive of you and very thankful for making the right decision.

Thank you.

A new defintion of child pornography – pornography that targets children. I cannot agree with Mark in being thankful for people who approve of such. The Lord does not "celebrate diversity" that represents perversity. Sin grieves Him, and the easy willingness and insistence on exposing it to children to make converts of everyone angers Him.

Facilitator: I can’t tell with Mark Colton, whether you speaking for or against the request to remove this book?

Mark Colton: I wanted to vote present.

Mark Colton

I’m as nervous as the governor mentioned in a speech recently. This is a rhetorical question (there’s no need to answer): How many parents here this evening allow your children to start smoking at age 9? Is that censorship or just common sense?

I’m going to keep my comments brief this evening.

Under MT Law, The Joy of Gay Sex does meet the criteria of obscenity (MCA 45-8-201 & MCA 45-205). However, MT Law specifically protects public libraries and their employees from prosecution for providing obscene material (MCA 45-8-206).

To sum it up, if you or I provide the book, it is providing obscene reading material to minors. If the public library provides the book, it is called educational reading material. As an agency of government, the library states that it cannot prescribe what is appropriate material for any of its patrons. The library does not stand in the place of a parent. Fear of censorship has replaced common sense. This book is just a very small part of a much larger problem within our library system. The library’s anything goes attitude has fostered a dangerous and hostile learning environment for our children.

I do not necessarily want this book banned. However, due to the adult content between the book covers, common sense should dictate that the book be placed out of reach of small children. Just as common sense, and the US Supreme Court, decided that filters should be put on library internet computers to block pornography. By the way, anyone, regardless of age, can look at any type of pornography on any of the internet computers available, which I find really disturbing because I don’t want one of my grandchildren trying to do their homework at one internet station, while a man sitting at a computer station adjacent to them looking at explicit pornography, and the library doing absolutely nothing because it’s intellectual freedom.

Thank you.

Facilitator: Question about which side he stands on.

Mark Colton: Have an adult section.

I have addressed this as unfeasible and insufficient. Compromise is what got us to the place where such trash is not only tolerated, but championed by many who are not even homosexuals.

Kim Abbott

I’m Kim Abbott with the MT Human Rights Network. Thanks for being here for such a long night. The MT Human Rights Network opposes the request for removal of The Joy of Gay Sex and stands in strong support of intellectual freedom and the free exchange of ideas. Removal of this book from the Lewis & Clark Public Library’s collection runs crosswise to the principles of this public library…. The Network recognizes that public libraries are one of the cornerstones to our democracy, because they serve all community members who can access information and ideas across a broad expanded spectrum. James Madison wrote, “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.” The Network knows that the library is one of the most widely accessible means of acquiring information in our society. The free exchange of ideas and the ability for everyone to access information makes our democracy stronger. We hope that this library will stand on its foundational principles like it has so many times before, and decide to keep The Joy of Gay Sex in its collection. Thanks, and I submitted a written statement as well.

There is a whole lot of euphemistic doublespeak going on here. An appeal has been made to a founding father of this country, as though his quote validates the argument for keeping The Joy of Gay Sex in the Helena library. Let’s look more closely at what Madison said and how it applies in this situation. Here is the quote with the next sentence:

“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

What, as they say, does this have to do with the price of tea in China? How does providing the people of Helena with knowledge about committing buggery and other perverse sex acts bring them superior governance? Aware of the example of Sodom, Madison most decidedly would have known that a people given over to unlawful licentiousness would become ripe for a fall, the very opposite of the goal of good governance. The knowledge and implementation of God’s ways and judgments, therefore, would be the antidote for tragedy. That is the kind of knowledge Madison was talking about, as affirmed by his own words:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions…upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

To use other words Madison spoke to support a homosexual agenda is reprehensible.

Luke Couccio

First of all the title, “The Joy of Gay Sex,” that’s the old double speak. There’s nothing joyful about sexual perversion. It’s one of the most destructive things going on in the world today, next to, shall we say, racial genocide. Homosexuality is one of the things destroying our country. You must have noticed the moral decline and the rise in crime rate over the last 20-30 years.

Luke is right that there is nothing joyful in the fruits of sin, but the sin itself is often found to be quite enjoyable by those who partake of it. That is its allure and temptation. All fornication is sin.

America is being destroyed by many sins; foremost among them are greed, pride, arrogance, ingratitude, and carelessness (all forms of selfishness).

I had some homosexuals, when I lived in Missoula, that lived next door to me. As a man who believes in Jesus Christ, who believes in God, I tried to follow the words of my Master, and treat other people the way I would want to be treated. I was always a good neighbor to them, and if I saw they needed a hand with something, I always helped them. Because I politely refused to agree with their attitudes and behavior, they began to target me, first with mean commentary, then with a slander campaign, eventually by threatening my life. One of them carried a semi-automatic 45 caliber pistol all the time. He showed it to me, then he notified me that in MT if somebody attacks you, you are legally allowed to shoot them. Then over the next period of months, he tried to egg me on to strike him, by, at one point, standing on the other side of the fence from me and playing with his genitals.

There was a parade of homosexuals and lesbians going in and out of that building continually, and I was always polite to them, and always tried to be helpful and respectful to them. This is the sum of my experience with sexual perverts.

A very illustrative and instructive story about the nature of sin. When tolerated by a self-indulgent morally corrupt people, sin leads to more and greater degradations, until something finally has to give. That is how Sodom ended up with rape committees assaulting new male visitors, forcing God’s hand to destroy it.

Here in Helena, there are evidently a lot of sexual perverts, and back in Missoula I heard from an ex-homosexual who had reformed and repented of his evil ways. He was what might be called a tattle-tail on the homosexual community, and he was on a TV program, and he said that it’s well known that America’s public libraries are meeting places for homosexuals. A new homosexual in town can show up at the library and be assured of eventually meeting another homosexual.

With manuals like The Joy of Gay Sex, and all the porn you want on the internet, is it any wonder that such things happen?

In Missoula it was rather obvious, in the…

Facilitator: Time to stop.

Luke Cuoccio: Just one more comment.

Facilitator: No.

Luke Cuoccio: We’re all here because of real sex, and the anus is not a sex organ.

Facilitator: I’m walking you off here.

Claudia Montagne

I’m Claudia Montagne, and I’m speaking in defense of your decision to keep the book. As a parent, grandparent, former educator, and long-time user of this library, I support your decision. The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, and that means the right to read, view, listen to, and disseminate Constitutionally-protected ideas, even if a censor finds those ideas offensive. Also, the ALA’s Bill of Rights, which was adopted in 1948 and re-affirmed as recently as 1996, states that libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current, historical issues. And also the libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

This is not a current, historical issue. It is an issue of morality, of things that ought not to be taught or countenanced. The authors of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of men to do well, not the freedom of evildoers to promote their ways while restraining those who would curtail them.

With access to information and ideas from all points of view, without restriction, we in this democracy can exercise our right to free speech in a responsible way. This prepares us for a role of self-governors in this democracy, a government by the people and for the people. Censorship, or the suppression of ideas or information, such as this, in libraries, takes this intellectual freedom to explore and enlighten ourselves away, and ill prepares us for active, informed citizenship. If the censorship proposed is to protect children, the library must stand by its principle as a provider of information in the free marketplace of ideas. The role of protecting children from ideas or forms of information rests with parents, not the library. Thank you.

Democracy is trumped by rule of law. Some of the laws violated by this book, like distribution of pornography to minors, are enforceable. Others, like committing adultery and lying to parents, are moral injunctions that are well-accepted and agreed upon, to serve the welfare of the community if observed, though not criminally indictable if not. I have already said many things about this, and now conclude: Any society that demands the right to perform its own execution by promoting materials inimical to its welfare, fully deserves its fate.

Susan Middlestadt

I’m Susan Middlestadt. Thanks for having all of us here today. I struggled all day trying to figure out why I wanted to come here. This book isn’t about me. But I felt compelled to say, I have to say that this book needs to stay on the shelves. This is a community library, and everybody in this community deserves to have the information they need to make decisions about their life; that is being part of the community. What is being said by removing this book is that there is a part of our community that is not equal, that is not welcome, and I just can’t stand for that. Every person is a minority in some sense, and this is an opportunity to stand up for somebody else. So somebody else can stand up for me in the future. Thanks.

“Everyone deserves…” is a classic feelgood line that means nothing. What exactly does everyone deserve? To have books in the library that describe their favorite perversity? What happened to, “Everyone has the responsibility…”? Where does this horrible entitlement mentality come from, which demands that everyone accept gross violations of decent moral standards disseminated by their public institutions? It comes from the pits of Hell. This bland-sounding platitude ("Everyone deserves…") has made intractable tyrants out of moral degenerates, which is what this whole episode is about.

Burt Middlestadt

Hello, I’m Burt Middlestadt. Almost everything I can think of has been said except that I raise two daughters here, and they both come in here all the time. When they were 18-19, they had friends that were gay men, and everybody in this community has the right to information, and the duty of the library is not to step in as parents to regulate at a given age. What is appropriate, and I would really be curious to know, how many people under 15 have checked that book out.

We heard from one such child at the last meeting, which was more than enough evidence to prove the foolishness of having such a book in the library. A new low point has been reached when young boys are thankful to feel good about themselves after getting tutored in deviant behavior, with adults standing by applauding. Wow!

As for the two daughters with homosexual friends, so what? How does that translate into them, as minors, being entitled to pornography such as The Joy of Gay Sex? You should pay for that out of your own pocket if you deem it so important. Or better yet, the parents should, unless they had already given you approval to feed their boys smut.

Becky Jakesdoctor

Chairperson Byrnes, members of the board, my name is Becky Jakesdoctor, and I am living here in Helena. I’m appearing before you today to urge you to keep The Joy of Gay Sex on the shelf in the library. We’ve heard many comments today of reasons why people may or may not believe the same that I do, and I champion those differing opinions because we have free speech in this country. And if I couldn’t stand up here before you today and give you my opinion, I wouldn’t be living in America. I believe in the principles this country is founded on, one of which is free speech.

This is censorship.

Wait a second, she champions our opinion, yet calls it censorship? We never said she could not voice her opinion, so who are we censoring? We are not calling for burning the book and its authors, so who are we censoring? The library says it does not take a stand endorsing homosexuality by having the book, so they also do not take a stand against homosexuality by not having the book. They are neutral. So who are we censoring?

Censorship hurts us all. It hurts the people that believe in the Bible; it hurts the people that don’t. It hurts the people that may or may not want to read The Joy of Gay Sex. I urge you to keep this book on the shelves.

Of course, we know that the library is taking a stand. They want the book on the shelf, despite its immoral and sick ideas. If someone wants to define censorship as keeping toxic trash off the shelves, then I ask, “What is wrong with censorship?” Doesn’t everyone exercise censorship, whether as individuals or collectively? Aren’t boundaries and guidelines needful? Because Becky is without a moral compass, must everyone be lost?

As well as many of the other books that share the same honor of being challenged, as offensive and requested to be kept off the shelves. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Blubber, Harry Potter, The Color Purple, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and Where’s Waldo?, all of which have been challenged at one time in our history as offensive and needing to be taken off of the shelves of the library. I challenge that many of which are now thought of as timeless classics. I’m not trying to propose that The Joy of Gay Sex will be a timeless classic, but I am challenging that it is an informative and useful book to have in the public library.

If The Joy of Gay Sex is not remotely similar to these fiction titles, and it is not, then how can she use them to justify her position? This comparison certainly lends no credibility to her argument for the book. Bomb-making books can also be informative and useful to some, so that argument is lame. Furthermore, the Human Owner’s Manual contradicts the book in question, because it strictly forbids a man sticking his erection up another man’s ass, so it is not even something that you can do right, like making a bomb.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of it, and I applaud your decision to uphold it.

Michael Rissman

Hi everybody. Those who came up to keep the book have said a lot of what I want to say, but I want to tell you about a software job I did one time for the government of Kuwait. It was a system to index all their documents. I delivered this system, and the government of Kuwait sent us a list of terms they wanted pulled out of the index, because they didn’t want any of the documents or any of the books that had anything to do with these terms, and the terms were divided into two categories. The first category had to do with homosexuality. The second category had to do with Christianity. Of course we refused to do that job for them. But, I’m a skeptic, also known as atheist. I have a two year old nephew. I’m not concerned about him reading The Joy of Gay Sex; I’m concerned about him reading books that say that communities should stone him to death if he doesn’t accept somebody as savior, or that he’s going to suffer in hellfire for the rest of his life, or that it’s better for him to send his sisters and females of the household out to be raped by males in the town to protect the males of the household. So, I’m concerned about him coming to this library and reading that stuff.

Mike’s attitude encapsulates the problem we have here. He takes the side of marauding, murderous homosexuals by blaming the one trying to reason and deal with them in order to save his visitors from harm. (See Genesis 19 for full description of the situation to which Mike alludes.) Amazing! He does not see the evildoers as culpable or dangerous. But no more amazing than what is happening here.

Nowhere in the Bible is it written that anyone should be stoned for not believing in Christ. Regarding the Lord Jesus, the only instances of people being stoned were those who believed in Him being stoned by those who did not. Another example of the contradiction of sinners. They used the Law that they were breaking to persecute those who upheld It.

There is no such thing as “eternal hellfire,” at least not as some preach a never-ending torment, which ultimately serves no purpose. There are hellish consequences to sin, however, and I would rather people feared to sin than were encouraged to do so. If Mike is concluding that he would rather his nephew read The Joy of Gay Sex than the Bible, that is just another argument for removing the book, and making those who want to pervert their children do it on their own dime.

My response isn’t to get the book pulled off the shelf; my response would be, if he were exposed to that material, to explain to him, as his uncle, why it is that anybody would say such things to an innocent child.

Thank you.

Bernadine Abbott-Hoduski

I’m Bernadine Abbott-Hoduski. I chaired the Friends of the Lewis & Clark Library for almost 8 years. We did a series of 8 fundraisers. I also co-chaired the 2000 Levee Campaign Committee, which asked the voters of Lewis & Clark to support this library. In order to get voters to support this library, we had to promise that we would not discriminate against any of those voters or any of their children or grandchildren. If they voted for the money for this library, they should have their point of view represented in the library, and they would be free to explore what they want to learn about their lives.

Bernadine could have promised whatever she wanted; she does not have the authority to deliver on her promises. The library is under no obligation to carry smut because perverts voted to fund it. If perverts want smut, they can buy it themselves. The idea that the library is obligated to satisfy the desires and peculiar tastes of every voter is absurd, and no one in his or her right mind expects that to happen. The one thing that is guaranteed is that all residents have equal access to the facility and its contents. Suggesting more than that is pandering for votes by promising the moon. The library is not bound to back up Bernadine’s extravagant promises, and a large number of taxpayers are against promoting smut.

I’ve been impressed by some of the young people who have testified about the book. I’ve red the book (I’m a librarian by profession). It’s an educational book. We really need to look at what people are talking about when they talk about pornography. It’s educational. So I would suggest you lawyers get busy looking at pornography vs. obscenity and so on.

Part of the education I received from the portions of the book I have red is the total lack of any standard of decency in the homosexual world. I admit to being naïve. I am thankful for being straightened out on this matter.

There is no problem calling The Joy of Gay Sex obscene. If it’s not obscene, nothing is. As for lawyers getting busy looking at pornography, the problem is that people from all walks of life have been getting too busy with that.

Even if it is seen as pornography by some people, there are other people whose good money has gone into this library to support it, and whose good money will continue to go in because their paying their taxes. So I, as a taxpayer and grandmother and mother, do not want my fellow citizens to tell me or my children or my grandchildren what to read or when to read it. I will not tell them what to read; I will not tell them that they should keep their children from certain books; that’s their responsibility.

How stupid these arguments get! Bernadine, you and your family can read whatever you want at the library, nobody is telling you otherwise. We are just telling you that since you cannot tell a pile of penises from a platter of peanuts, we will not be entrusting you with the oversight of book selection.

So I think that every citizen needs to be treated with respect and their money is their vote.

Are not all taxpaying citizens sponsoring the library, and not only those who push for this pornography? Does the money count only if one is standing on a certain side of this issue?

Jesus said no person could serve God and money. It is obvious which Bernadine has chosen to serve.

Jim Cammor

Good evening. My name is Jim Cammor, and I’m just representing myself. I’m glad to speak. I would just ask that you keep the book on the shelves, and it seems this book has stirred quite a controversy here. I just hope that the community will continue to respect one another. It seems very much that there’s a lot of fear – fear of ideas, fear of people that are different than us, fear of …, fear of, I don’t know what else. But I’m glad that we can come together and discuss this, and I ask that you keep it on the shelves. Thanks.

“Continue to respect”? Jim obviously has not been reading the papers or my mail. There is a very thin veneer of respect, a pretense of civility, coming from the boosters of this book during these proceedings. While there have been very legitimate and heartfelt objections raised by parents of children that use the library about the presence of the book on the shelf, those who want the book in the library could not care less. If this is not cold-hearted disrespect, I don’t know what is.

What fear is Jim talking about? His own? Because I don’t want drug dealers working my neighborhood does that come from a fear of ideas or of people that are different from me? Or do I simply recognize something as undesirable and have the conviction to speak out against it? Is that brave or fearful?

Lest anyone think I am complimenting myself, I give all credit for knowing what is right, and speaking it, to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him there is no fear at all.

Dave Feldman

Members of the board, good evening. I have a very, very short statement. Keep the book available. I can’t think of any other way to put it; everyone else who has come before me has said it way better than I ever could, and on top of that I feel ill-prepared. So, thank you.

If only these other smut supporters admitted that they were ill-prepared, too. How can anybody be prepared to successfully defend sin and immorality?

Mike McGuire

Good evening, I’m Mike McGuire. And I think you ought to keep the book, because there might be, as they call it, pornography in there, still it’s the facts of life. And you can’t shield a kid, a child or a teenager or whatever, all of their life. It’s time to grow up , and it’s time to let the parents do a good job of raising their kids so that if they see a book like that, they’ll say, “Well, Mom doesn’t want me to see this stuff,” shut the book, and put it back on the shelf. And if you’re gonna get rid of the book, get rid of the computers, too, because there’s a lot more in there than there is in that book. So you should keep it on the shelf. Thank you.

Does homosexual pornography represent the facts of life? No, Mike. Two men coming together doesn’t create anything, except confusion and heartache. That is not life. Anything that goes against the Law of God brings death. That is what He has told us, and there is nothing surer than what He says.

You are right, though. Parents (mother and father) need to do a good job of raising their kids. People need to take responsibility. We don’t need to get rid of the computers, just use a filter. Let’s be safe and responsible. Let’s not put stumbling blocks in the way of those entrusted to our care, whether they are children or adults. The things I have said are for the welfare of all, even and especially those most opposed to what I say. Some day you will know that.

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