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Showing posts from April, 2015

Book deserts in the US

Unite for Literacy has put up an interactive map describing something I think should be shared widely: an interactive map of some 9,000 public library communities around the nation. Click on it to find the percentage of books in each service area household. A "book desert" is defined as a geographic region where more than 50% of the homes have less than 100 books. Book deserts are places where we can predict a whole host of things, like lower literacy, lower reading scores in school, lower academic achievement, lower graduation rates, lower educational attainment generally, and lower wages. These things are themselves linked to other things such as childhood health, longevity, and the likelihood of going to jail. You can find the map here. Note that they also include areas of book abundance. Full disclosure: they also put a link to my campaign for ALA president, at least until May 1, when then campaign is over! (And did you vote?) But no money changed hands, and…

Castle Rock Christian demands anti-gay cake

You think I'm kidding. See this article.

Who knew that the cutting edge of intellectual freedom and religious freedom would be ... cake decorating? It would be funny if it weren't so sad. 

The bottom line: according to the article, a self-described "Christian" from Castle Rock, CO (the town where I live, alas) went to the Azucar Bakery in Denver to order a "Bible-shaped cake with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake." This man also wanted the cake "to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them."

I like, very much, the actions of Marjorie Silva, the owner. She said she'd make the cake, but preferred not to write that particular message. She offered him icing and a pastry bag so he could do it himself.

Instead, the self-professed Christian filed a claim of discrimination with the Civil Rights Division of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. Why? Because he felt he had been discriminated against as a Chr…

Indiana and ALA

Yesterday, American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young issued a statement about the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) approved by the Indiana General Assembly, and signed by Governor Mike Pence. Since that action, Indiana has come under a lot of fire.
President Young's comments are right on, in my view. But I find myself wondering just what this law is supposed to do. Why is it needed?
Thus far, these are the cases I've heard of where people feel their religious faith compels them to deny service to someone: a Knights of Columbus group doesn't want to rent its hall for a gay wedding.a pharmacist doesn't want to sell birth control pills to an unmarried woman.a cake decorator doesn't want to make a cake for a gay wedding.a photographer doesn't want to take pictures of a gay wedding.
You can't help but notice that three of the four are about denying commercial services to gay people. Discrimination appears to be the point. I…