george_hancockstefanMost of us remember the biblical story in which God speaks to Moses for the first time. Moses hears the voice of God from the burning bush and as he approaches, God tells Moses to take his shoes off because the place where he stands it is holy ground.

This past week I read that, in Puerto Rico, the Secretary of Education decided to remove five books from the high school curriculum that until recently were read by 11th grade students. These books were written by contemporary Latin American authors. This decision was made because the educators felt that the books were just too filled with descriptive sexual activities and some of these activities were in what we would call the sacred space. In one of the books, a couple has a romantic encounter under the crucifix.

No sooner has this news come out than many educators have ascribed Taliban tactics to the Secretary of Education. Educators in opposition are known to raise the most superlative comparisons in order to make the decision makers look foolish, as if they are stifling the freedom of the press and the freedom of books and their readers.

On the Christian side, many are quick to point out that if this type of sacrilege had been done to other religions such as Judaism or Islam, the media would have reacted directly. They would have protested because there was insensitivity in the books.

There is currently a battle between the sacred and the sacrilegious. Authors and film producers and playwrights often intentionally are seeking to antagonize the faithful in all the religious groups. Many years ago I read a book by Paul Johnson entitled The Intellectuals. Johnson demonstrated how often the intellectuals intentionally and with great glee push issues as far as possible. The other sad thing is that some of the authors/playwrights have personal antagonism that is masked under the name of liberty to publish.

As one who was raised in the communist system where so many books were forbidden, I am sensitive to any group forbidding books. At the same time I have argued with some of the teachers who assigned books to my children which I deemed completely inappropriate. Similarly, I read authors whose writings I felt could have received a great distribution if religious antagonism was not their favorite sport and they had maintained respect for those who follow religious traditions, as well as their places of worship.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...