OPINION – Although I regard the man highly, and at the risk of succumbing to criticism of being his prodigy, I have to stand in agreement with Ed Kociela and his stance stated on his Facebook page Plygs, on the absolute absurdity of Tuacahn Saturday Market’s banning Kristyn Decker from selling her book, “Fifty Years in Polygamy,” at the Market as she reportedly has been doing for a year.
Citing that the book is not consistent with the “family values” mission of the market because of alleged graphic content, the management decided to ban the book while admitting to not even having read it.
Of lesser concern is whether or not the management possessed the intellectual integrity to actually make an informed decision on the matter by, say, intently investigating the claims by reading the book; of greater concern is the notion that somehow one person’s idea of family values supersedes our collective and common values when it comes to freedom of speech.
I expect the market likely defends their decision by leaning on some right to pick and choose who can and cannot represent them in a private enterprise such as the market may be, but I wonder if they considered the precedents they are setting.
• First, that of censorship.
What if a local farmers market were to likewise ban the distribution of Christian (those who lay staunchest claim to the “family values” ethic) literature on the premise that Christian Literature is bad for humanity and their values as a whole expose others to fictitiously-premised manipulation guised as prophetic teachings?
Would there be an outcry against censorship of freedom of religious expression?
Of course there would and, fact is, it would be an appropriate outcry.
What if the Mormon church had been successful in silencing Juanita Brooks when she endeavored to set the record straight about the Mountain Meadows Massacre?
At the time, her work was considered offensive but now, in light of history and defense of the truth, she is credited for laying the groundwork for a community’s redemption for a senseless moment in its history.
• Second, that of family values.
The management of the Tuacahn Market has made a bald assertion that somehow this book and its graphic content defiles family values.
Telling the truth and exposing the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the modern day human-enslaving, woman- and child-abusing organization it is defiles family values? This, in an area that is credited for not only being the founding place of said religious cult, but where it practices its “values” right here among us, is preposterous.
Mind if I ask what, or whose, values Decker’s book is conflicting with exactly?
Do we really aspire to assume any semblance of maintaining family values by hiding the truth from people – merely because, perhaps, a select few find it distasteful?
Will our children honestly grow up to be productive members of society staunchly committed to upholding integrity and truth in their lives if keeping them uninformed and sheltered from the uglier truths of our world is how we demonstrate our values?
And what makes the Tuacahn Market or the unidentified offended in question an authority on the definition of family values?
Some families, I would assert, hold the laws of this land to be integrated into the very fabric of the collective family structure and hold that without them no family can stand against persecution or violation of their freedoms.
A mindset and an alternative
Support for banning the sale of a book is indicative of a mindset that defiles the very premise that allows people to have such staunch values to begin with.
I would propose: Be first an American. Uphold the core tenets of the Constitution, namely in this case the First Amendment. Else risk the proverbial opening of Pandora’s Box whereby the inevitable day arrives that reading any religious literature is considered offensive enough to ban it publicly.
Think about it.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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