Letter: What does Brave Books mean by Culture and the enemy?

Posted 5/21/24

To the editor:

I thank the Ryans and Fullers, in their recent letter “DEI’s Godless Agenda,” and Daft and Ryan’s prior letter, for making me aware that our library had …

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Letter: What does Brave Books mean by Culture and the enemy?


To the editor:

I thank the Ryans and Fullers, in their recent letter “DEI’s Godless Agenda,” and Daft and Ryan’s prior letter, for making me aware that our library had initially made it difficult for a Brave Books reading event to take place last summer for fear that it would promote an anti-LGBTQ agenda and censorship. 

I went to the Brave Books website to see for myself what the fuss was about, given the letter writers’ concern that their Christian values of love for others was being misrepresented by a DEI agenda. I learned that Brave Books is a for-profit company founded by a group “alarmed” that “the enemy would love nothing more than to leave your family weak, your children confused, and their value system destroyed.” 

It advertises a Deluxe Box Bundle for $549.99 with a blurb that states that “most children’s books … completely undermine the values we hold dear, teaching woke, LGBTQ values.” I looked at many of the book descriptions, and found some nice universal values, such as avoiding pridefulness and fostering conservation. Nothing jumped out at me about love being the first principle with “no exceptions,” as professed by the letter writers as the core of their Christianity. Front and center was cultivating in children fear of, and the desire to combat, an enemy. “Paws off My Cannon” teaches first- to third-graders how important it is to support the Second Amendment. The summary for “Elephants are not Birds” reads: “children will learn that boys are not girls…Follow Kevin as he learns that even though he can sing, he is not a bird, even if Culture insists that he is.” 

Is Culture the enemy? What does Brave Books mean by Culture and the enemy — trans and gay families, teens working for restrictions on gun ownership, book-readers who learned a new perspective from Kendi’s books — in other words, many of our neighbors? 

Wait, didn’t the letter writers say they believe we should love our enemy (and our neighbor)? The more I read, the more confused I felt by the letter writers’ sense of persecution for being Christian because various elements in our town and in our national library system have had reservations about sponsoring Brave Books events. 

It seems that to the letter writers, lack of endorsement by the library is “anti-Christian,” and therefore making them, as Christians, feel “isolated and stigmatized.” 

But the words of the company’s own website declares that anyone who disagrees with its political interpretations of the Bible is an enemy — using the writers’ own definition, this belief system does not sound particularly Christian to me. 

Perhaps those who want to feel esteemed in their community might choose a more openhearted stance than picking fights with librarians and town government for not promoting a favorite book company, especially one that aims to inculcate a combative, even paranoid, worldview in children. 

The writers might feel less alienated if they reached out more to others in the community with love, especially those they consider their political enemies, whether LGBTQ supportive or those of other faiths, or even those of no faith — to work with them on goals that we all here do share: love of our children, our ailing, our town, our environment … the possibilities for connection are endless when love becomes the focus instead of the thrill of having an enemy and dwelling on one’s own hurt feelings! 

Shoshana Landow 


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.