Monday, 5 March 2012

What does it matter?

I've been thinking a bit the last couple of days. First up, this is controversial. Second up, I'm NOT getting into any arguments. If you want to argue about this, take your ideas elsewhere. Only personal, respectful responses will be accepted.

A couple of days ago I received an email from the person who runs Smashwords. It was an update to authors and publishers on the website, and detailed a few issues. One of the issues that was covered was this: Paypal (who has links with the credit card companies) had requested that Smashwords remove and do not endorse titles that contained the following three topics (specifically, but no doubt could be more general): incest; rape; bestiality.

Now, before you think I'm crazy, let me remind you of this: I'm a Christian, and I have no problems with what I believe in. I also have no bones to pick with people who believe differently to what I do. That is their choice (and likewise, it is my choice to believe what I believe). So, before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I definitely do NOT endorse the promotion of and the 'glorification' of either of the three topics.

HOWEVER. These are, sadly, realities of life. They have been so down through the ages, and in many places today they are still very rife. One cannot ignore the fact that they shape people and their outlooks on life. One simply cannot ignore the dark side of life as we know it.

I therefore find a book such as Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers, one book at least that should never fall into such a 'banned' category. Yes, it is a Christian book, and yes, it is based on the book of Hosea in the Bible (which, for those who don't know, is about the prophet Hosea's relationship with a prostitute; a relationship that is used by God to illustrate God's own relationship to His people, Israel). And yes, it deals with at least two of the topics that Paypal doesn't like: incest, and rape; in particular, child rape. Francine Rivers does not attempt to glorify either of these two acts, but rather illustrates the negative impact they have had on the main character, and how they (amongst other factors) have warped her view of men and the world.

So, should we remove these topics from books, or should they be there? I would say that they can stay - PROVIDED that they are not glorified. Of course, it does beg the question: who polices that? I would feel that I'm a reasonable person, but, well, it also cannot be denied that there are those who get their kicks from such behaviour. That's not me.