Gird Your Loins and Fight

Latest in my series of book reviews

Never go to war against a mom

Before I started “weaning” myself off my smartphone – I couldn’t have handled a 651-page book – even one as entertaining as “Shut Up! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment.

The librarian of your nightmares wants you to stop questioning the Library Board

This book makes me so glad I did the work to get my concentration back. Authors Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan tell the tale of their multi-year fight with a public library which allowed adults to access porn on their computers – and did nothing to stop it, saying it was allowed by the First Amendment. (Spoiler alert: no, the Supreme Court ruled libraries do NOT have to allow access to porn.)

A pleasant day turned peep show

At the beginning of the saga, Megan was a homeschooling mama of two little girls, named “Seven” and “Four” to protect them in the book. One day she decided to take them to the Orland Park Public Library with friend Kevin along with the ride. A quick errand to print some homeschool activity sheets led to a three-year saga – complete with lawsuits and a cast of characters that could fill a long-running soap opera. Here’s how Megan described it:

“There’s the awkward sibling of a beloved TV icon; a national hero from the Reagan administration; a former Playboy model, jewel thief, ex-wife of a Chicago Bear, ex-girlfriend of an infamous mobster who turned state’s evidence against him (and those last four are all the same person!); Our Ladies of the Perpetually Furrowed Brows; the heiress to the Comiskey baseball diamonds; a former United States Senate candidate from Illinois (who is more famous for once being married toa Sci-Fi starlet who flew around the universe in a spaceship); the King of Journalism; a gargoyle; someone who sold his soul on eBay (like it was a good thing); hot cops; … some of the best lawyers in the whole damn world (pitted against clearly some of the worst) … SNL’s Weekend Update; … the Karate Kid; famous legal scholars; fearless watchdogs; sexually harassed whistleblowers; and the nation’s leading expert on the dangers to children in public libraries.”

-Megan Fox

Truly, this book had EVERYTHING, as Megan described it: “Sex, government corruption, child porn, a gold heist, libel, slander, defamation, lawsuits, death and rape threats, police harassment, a SLAPP, cloak and dagger intrigue, fruits, 7 pounds of Italian beef and 2 large jugs of peppers, and special interest groups out to sabotage a suburban mom and her whimsical gay friend.”

Kevin and Megan take turns, chapter by chapter, telling the story. Their styles of storytelling complement and contrast with each other. Both bring in themes from children’s stories to anchor the tale: if you’ve read Harry Potter you’ll love the way they work in references to that saga. Kevin’s style is more “whimsical” as Megan said, and Megan’s motherly concern doesn’t just shine through – she’s on the warpath to make the library safe for all kids. Thank God these two are people who NEVER back down. They fought a public governmental body for years and triumphed. The best stories are ones where good defeats evil – and that’s exactly what happens here.

Whew!

At the end, you, the reader are drawing in a long breath after just reading about it. By the time the final lawsuit was settled, Megan had added another baby to her family. Kevin was advising other libraries how to prevent these horrors from happening.

I wanted another book – a sequel. What new adventure did Kevin and Megan have? What crimes are they uncovering? Today, you can follow Megan’s investigative reporting on PJ Media and on her YouTube channel. I haven’t been successful finding Kevin’s public profile (but then, I don’t use Facebook anymore!) I’m sure wherever he is, he’s busy employing his talents of organization, letter-writing and campaigning to keep fighting for government accountability.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Credo

From a speech I gave to my local Toastmasters club this morning, Friday, Feb. 5.

Credo – the word is Latin, and means “I believe.” It’s the first word of the traditional Latin version of the Nicene Creed. It’s the basis for our word “Creed” in English.


Ever since I joined an Anglican church I’ve said the Nicene Creed each Sunday. The creed we repeat distills the essence of Christian belief into just a few sentences. By saying it each Sunday, we remind ourselves of the faith we profess.


The tumultuous year just past made me think about all my beliefs. We’ve been through such a time of uncertainty – and we’re still going through that today. Between a pandemic, riots, uprisings, and a troubled election, we’ve been through the wringer! Our new national leadership started off by asking for unity. I thought I’d explain to everyone some of the things I believe. Then you can decide – would you like to be unified with me?


I believe in absolute truth. I believe there is truth, and it is knowable. I cannot believe in relative truth, “my own truth,” “true for you or not for me” or whatever the current catchphrase is. I believe that God is God and Jesus is His son, the way, the truth and the life. That’s about as definite and exclusive a truth statement as you can get. I also believe that people who don’t believe that can be some of the best people in the world, and I’m honored to have some as my friends.

I believe in free speech. Period. Free speech is any speech. Especially speech you don’t like. Hate speech. Lies. Everything! It all needs to be said, and uncensored. Because once you shut someone up – you don’t make their thoughts go away. You make them go underground, breeding resentment. Bad ideas can only be conquered by good ideas – and the free exchange of ideas is necessary for a self-governing society.


I believe in diversity. I believe God made our world – and He made it varied. From all the different types of plants, to the many animals and the different races of man – I think God loves diversity. It’s His handiwork, after all.


Most especially, I believe in diversity of thought. If everyone in a group thinks alike, what’s the need for most of ‘em? That’s kinda boring. One of the reasons I love my TNT Toastmasters club is because there I meet many people who don’t believe the same things I believe. Who don’t share my opinions. I learn from them. I learn to test the strength of my beliefs. Together we learn empathy.


I believe in capitalism. Willing buyer, willing seller. Beautiful! The invisible hand of the market, as Adam Smith has written, does more to provide the needs and wants of the populace than any top-down plan.


I believe in the unborn’s right to life. (Oh, I think I might step on some toes here.) I believe that abortion is the taking of that life. It is a tragedy – and one that should only be a last resort in the most EXTREME of circumstances. And I believe that the overwhelming majority of abortions today are not performed in extreme circumstances.


I believe Western Civilization, from the Renaissance, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution through now, has done more to lift more humans out of poverty – both financially and culturally – than any other civilization extant. Our scientists have done everything from define the law of gravity to go to the moon and beyond. It was the British navy which enforced the abolition of the international slave trade. We have a priceless inheritance and we squander it when we denigrate our culture. Any civilization that can give us Bach, Newton and Shakespeare is worth respect.


I believe that the United States is special. And no, it’s not just because I was born here. The term “American Exceptionalism” is thrown around and misunderstood. Here’s what it means: that it is indeed exceptional for a group of people to devise a means to govern themselves, and then keep to it for over two centuries. That we from our founding have a Bill of Rights. That in our system, the leaders are supposed to serve us, the people – not the other way around. That America is a hope, a dream, of making your own way, unfettered by remnants of feudalism alive elsewhere in the world. That indeed makes our country – EXCEPTIONAL.


Here, in short form, are just a few more of my beliefs. I believe:

That adults have the common sense to know what is best for their own children’s education
That each person has the right to self defense by owning a firearm.
That no one has the right to sail through life “unoffended.” Buck up, buttercup.
That bias is evident in any source of news – and it is responsibility to consume news carefully and critically.

Those are just a few of my beliefs. You may not agree with each one. And that’s okay! But I do request – no, require you respect my right to my beliefs, and not think I deserve cancellation for holding any of them. If you can do that, then yes, we share unity.