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Throughout global history, there are many instances of a dictative government seizing books from public places and partaking in book burnings. Qin Shi Huang, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong and Sinhalese Buddhists all eliminated books from their nations because they believed they could pose a threat to their power. The books targeted were often books inciting rebellion or history books that showed prior leaders in a positive light.  In addition, there were less predictable books included in the burnings such as poetry or short stories. 

Powerful dictators are not always the perpetrators of book burnings as churches also host book bonfires, encouraging their members to ban any ‘unholy’ books. Those include books with witchcraft, false idols or relationships deemed inappropriate. Most recently, in late January, a Tennesse school board voted to ban “Maus, a book about the holocaust, from their schools. Following that decision, a local pastor, Greg Locke, hosted a book burning. Attendees burned books such as “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” and then listened to a sermon given by Locke. 

These recent worrying events draw striking similarities to dystopian novels most people read in high school. The most obvious being “Fahrenheit 451”, which takes place in a futuristic American society where books are completely banned. Our society is nowhere close to that of “Fahrenheit 451”’s because with the internet the complete erasure of anything is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, these events are still quite concerning.

Shockingly there is still quite a lot of controversy surronding the Holocaust. There has been a minority of people for decades claiming it did not happen and now the efforts are going even further to discredit survivor’s stories by banning the distribution of their stories. The school board’s decision makes it evident that more people are willing to ignore this hugely impactful historical event.

One can hope that other Christian churches in America don’t follow Pastor Locke’s lead in ceremonially burning books that they disagree with. However, it has long been a trend for congregations to burn CD’s and books that their church leaders told them were wrong, and not much has changed since then in the Christian community.

Annabelle Evans

American '24

Belle is a junior at American University majoring in literature with a focus in creative writing. She is from the Philadelphia area and loves the city during the holiday season. Her favorite author is Jennifer Lynn Barnes and she's currently reading 'The Inheritance Games'.