Monday News: Governor vetoes Bible, jail for overdue books?!, and updating contemporaries
Tennessee’s governor vetoes Bible as state book – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam vetoed the bill designating the Bible as the state’s official book, and his reasoning was kind of interesting. He recognized the need for the separation of church and state, and argued that if the Bible is a “sacred text,” then it cannot legally be the state book. At the same time, he seems more worried about the long-term welfare of the church more than the state, perhaps reflecting the state’s overwhelming Christian majority (more than 80%). Definitely some issues here about what a book is and is not. The battle is not over yet, though, as a simple majority is the state legislature can override the governor’s veto.
In Haslam’s veto message to the Republican lawmakers who sponsored the bill, he wrote in defense of Christian beliefs, noting, “I strongly disagree with those who are trying to drive religion out of the public square.”
However, Haslam said, there’s that matter of constitutional law — the separation of church and state.
“If we are recognizing the Bible as a sacred text, then we are violating the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee by designating it as the official book,” Haslam wrote. “Our founders recognized that when the church and state were combined, it was the church that suffered in the long run.” – Los Angeles Times
Couple could be jailed for lost library book – Now we’ve seen it all: a New York couple is being threatened with 93 days of jail time and $500 in fines for failing to return a Dr. Seuss book to the public library:
Cathy and Melvin Duren of Tecumseh, Michigan, appeared in Lenawee County court on Thursday to each face a misdemeanor charge of failure to return rental property. They owe about $35 in late fees for “The Rome Prophecy,” borrowed in April 2015. They lost a Dr. Seuss book their teenage son borrowed for their granddaughter in July 2014. . . .
Although the couple admitted they were negligent in returning the books, they think it’s unfair to each be charged a $105 “diversion fee” to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit in addition to fines owed to the Tecumseh Public Library, WXYZ-TV reported. – New York Post
25 Years Ago is Ancient History – Another promotional article by an author, this time Johanna Hurwitz, who endeavored to update her out-of-print YA What Goes Up Must Come Down after 25 years. Despite the promotional aspects, it’s an interesting piece, because it raises the question of world building in contemporaries. Too much detail, and the book is dated – not enough and it’s bland and unmoored. An author can update, but how much rewriting will that take, and to what effect?
Upon rereading it, I discovered that a quarter of a century ago is ancient history. My protagonist, Margot Green, lives in New York City. I gave her a large dog so she could safely walk the city streets alone. Nowadays, Margot can carry a cell phone and let her mother know exactly where she is and when she will be home. She can call the police if necessary. Other new devices enable my characters to view movies streamed onto their television sets or other devices.
Thinking back on the books I most loved and read as a youngster, I realize that most were out of date even when I read them. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Books, for example, were set in the 1870s: Betsy-Tacy and Heidi lived without electricity and without the inventions that came later. The differences in the lives of these characters to my own just seemed to add a charm to the books. I never objected to their old-fashioned settings. – Publishers Weekly