Carroll County's library board did the right thing last week when it decided not to remove "Getting Jesus in the Mood" from the shelves of the library. The book is actually a collection of 17 short stories, some of which were previously published in well-known but small-circulation literary magazines, about emotional, physical and sexual abuse told from the perspective of the victims.
The book's opponents found its imagery and language offensive and expressed concern that youngsters might mistakenly read it. The material is certainly topical, considering the number of sexual and physical abuse cases that are filed weekly in the county's courts. Clearly, there are passages in the book that could be considered offensive and inappropriate for young teen-agers. But language, images or ideas that cause discomfort for some people are not the proper criteria for judging the value of a book. Libraries are full of books that someone, somewhere could label objectionable for any number of reasons.
We live in a pluralist society where different voices -- some of which may be disturbing -- are welcome and, indeed, cherished. Our founding fathers understood that in order for a democracy to thrive, citizens must have access to a wide variety of opinions and information. It is then up to citizens to decide whether this, or any other book, is appropriate reading for themselves or their families.