The German Family Ministry (does anyone know if inclusion of the word “family” in an organization title is as ominous auf Deutsch as it is in English?) wants to ban a children’s book. The book is about two little animals on a pilgrimage to find god, and in the end they don’t find him anywhere, and conclude that they haven’t been missing anything. There’s a good reason to ban it, I’m sure…
“The three large religions of the world, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are slurred in the book,” the ministry wrote in a December memo. “The distinctive characteristics of each religion are made ridiculous.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. If that were grounds for banning, the Bible has to be the next book on their hit list.
A little further on, they do hit on a more legitimate reason, if it were true: the argument that the illustrations of the book are hateful stereotypes, of the sort that Germany has good reason to be sensitive about: you know, the old anti-semitic caricatures of Jews as hook-nosed and greedy. If they’d taken that ugly shortcut, yeah, I’d agree — it would be just more hate literature. However, they include several images from the book, and they don’t look like that: the rabbi looks like any of the ordinary orthodox Jews you’d see walking around New York, so it’s a bit of a stretch.
Maybe it’s badly written. Maybe other illustrations are more overtly hateful. Just don’t try to tell me it’s a bad book because it makes ridiculous religions look ridiculous.
I have my suspicions about the source of the problem, though. The book is titled “How Do I Get to God, Asked the Small Piglet” — Ken Ham must be trying to suppress it.