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Other views: Johnson's comment out of line

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, I attended the Fargo School Board meeting, where the board reviewed an appeal to remove John Grisham's novel, "A Time to Kill" from the advanced English curriculum at North High School. Note that this was not an appeal to remo...

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, I attended the Fargo School Board meeting, where the board reviewed an appeal to remove John Grisham's novel, "A Time to Kill" from the advanced English curriculum at North High School. Note that this was not an appeal to remove the book from the library, but just from the curriculum.

Immediately before the vote on this issue, board President Jim Johnson threw in this one last thought, "This is certainly a controversial piece that has been chosen, but by no means the most controversial piece of literature in our library. This might sound strange, but I'm pretty sure we have the holy Bible in most of our secondary libraries, and I guarantee you, there are just as graphic scenes of rape in the Bible as there are in this book."

What was the purpose of this statement? A majority of the board members had already expressed his or her view, and it was evident that the board would vote to deny the appeal. The statement was inappropriate for at least two other reasons: 1) the holy Bible is not part of the advanced English curriculum; and 2) the statement is simply not true.

The following day, I phoned "Hot Talk" on WDAY radio and challenged Johnson to provide biblical references to defend his statement. He responded on the show with Judges 19:22, which reads: "While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, 'Bring out the men who came to your house so we can have sex with them.' (NIV)"

Johnson considers that a "graphic scene" of rape? He equates that to the vivid description of the violent rape of a 10-year-old girl in the first few pages of "A Time to Kill?" I disagree. In my view, not only was Johnson's comment offensive to the two Christian women fighting the appeal, it was also offensive to all Christians and most importantly, offensive to God.

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I challenge everyone to read even the first few pages of "A Time to Kill" and compare that to Judges 19:22. Then ask yourself these questions: Was Johnson's comment necessary? Was Johnson's comment true? Was it offensive?

You decide.

Jacobson lives in Fargo.

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