July 23, 2019
Amazon used to be the place for one-stop shopping. Now, people are starting to realize -- the online marketplace has a wide selection of everything, except viewpoints.
If one of the country's biggest retailers is going to ban books, it had better have a good reason. Amazon didn't. The authors it blacklisted weren't inciting violence or promoting terrorist jihad -- they were offering hope to men and women suffering from sexual bondage. But to LGBT activists, it didn't matter what the books actually said or how many people they helped. All the extremists care about is that these authors might undermine their agenda and therefore must be silenced.
Of course, to most Americans, the intolerance is nothing new. We've all watched Google, Twitter, YouTube, and others crack down on conservative speech for years. But banning books that could give people freedom? That's taking the intolerance to a whole new level. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who's been horrified at the fast pace of censorship in this country, refuses to let Amazon get away with it. "Everybody is entitled to information," she told me on Monday's "Washington Watch." "And what Amazon has done is [block] people from having access to information that they're seeking and that they want. And it's just not right." Censorship, she said, should have no place in a country that values free speech.
"We don't want to start having a society where, on controversial issues, people will only have access to one viewpoint.... That's what's made America different than others. [Sexual orientation change efforts may be] an emotional topic, but we need to have more information out there for people so they can make decisions. [U]nwanted sexual attraction is a very difficult thing.... This isn't just a topic that we should throw around the political sphere. We have to remember these are individuals... And if people are struggling with something so personal, and they want more information, they should have access to a book... [to] get some potential help... or see if [it's] something they want to pursue or not. To just to have one group say, 'No, our way is the only way, and we're not going to let any other American hear about another alternative way to think about a condition or a subject' -- that's what we've seen in other countries in the past, and that's a scary place to go."
She's right. There are very few repressive book-banning regimes over the course of history that any American would want to emulate. And yet, as far as Amazon is concerned, these reputable counselors are literally worse than Adolf Hitler -- whose book, ironically, the company has no problem selling. What could possibly make some of the most respected clinicians in their field so dangerous to the general public? FRC's Peter Sprigg thinks it has less to do with the content of their books and more to do with the activists objecting to them. After all, he pointed out, the loudest critic of the titles said he hadn't read a single one!
"LGBT activists are upset, because they've pushed this idea that people are born gay and can't change in order to promote the idea that this should be treated under civil rights law like a characteristic like race, which you are born with and which can't be changed. So this undermines that. But basically, they are just offended at the idea that there are some people who experience same-sex attractions but don't want to be gay. The idea that there's anybody out there who considers it in any way undesirable to live as a homosexual is very offensive to them. And so that's what they really trying to stamp out is the, the underlying opinion that maybe this is something undesirable."
Obviously, Peter went on, sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) aren't a "magic switch." "It's not just a matter of you instantly turn from being 100% homosexual to 100% heterosexual. But, at the same time, people experienced significant change in their attractions, their behavior, and how they identify themselves. So there is actually scientific evidence as well as anecdotal evidence in favor of its effectiveness."
In other words, these books are an avenue of hope. And Vicky Hartzler thinks it's time for Congress to push for their reinstatement. And it's not as if members won't have the opportunity. "Their representatives are always on the hill, meeting with us about many different things. And so we [need] to weigh in and say, 'We don't appreciate your new policy... that is started down the road of censorship, and we think you should reverse course.'" Add your voice to Vicky's! Contact Amazon at 888-280-4331.
For more on these growing threats, check out Ken Blackwell's new Townhall column, "Attacks on Conservative Speech Take Many Forms."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.