Mark Kleiman has a column on the simple-minded, authoritarian response by this adminstration, to the 9/11 attacks, that is straight out of the Third Reich, well almost..
The good news
... is that the Federal Bureau of Prisons isn't actually burning religious books. The BOP simply made a list of approved books and other media (no more than 150 books and 150 other items for each of 20 religious categories) and ordered prison chaplains to get rid of any item not on the "approved" list.
Footnote. Oh, and of course the lists themselves are secret; someone had to leak them to the NYT. After all, this is the Bush Administration, which figures that the less we know about what it's up to, the better.
From the aforementioned ' NY Times' report:
It's swatting a fly with a sledgehammer," said Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, a Christian group. "There's no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism."
Professor Larsen said. 'The lists "show a bias toward evangelical popularism and Calvinism," and lacked materials from early church fathers, liberal theologians and major Protestant denominations.
The lists are broad, but reveal eccentricities and omissions. There are nine titles by C. S. Lewis, for example, and none from the theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth and Cardinal Avery Dulles, and the influential pastor Robert H. Schuller.
From the The New York Law Journal
The plan to standardize the libraries first became public in May when several inmates, including a Muslim convert, at the Federal Prison Camp in Otisville, N.Y., about 75 miles northwest of Manhattan, filed a lawsuit acting as their own lawyers. ...
"Otisville had a very extensive library of Jewish religious books, many of them donated," said David Zwiebel, executive vice president for government and public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish group. "It was decimated. Three-quarters of the Jewish books were taken off the shelves."
According to the complaint, banned materials at Otisville include two fundamental Jewish works - Maimonides' "Mishneh Torah Systematic Code of Jewish Law" and the "Zohar," a primary text of Kabbalah - as well as the popular "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. Among the purged Christian works is the best-selling "The Purpose-Driven Life," by Rick Warren.
I don't recall any of the 9/11 terrorists being in an American prison and their ring leader, Mohammed Atta did his master's thesis in Hamburg on the early architecture of Aleppo ...Don't tell Bush...Of course this is silly and about on the level of a West Virginia county banning Hucklebury Finn from its public library shelves.. But it raises an important issue that Bush is always touting to his foreign audiences; the superior first amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference (when there is no security issue) that America enjoys or did, until recently, when this lot seized power.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!