Wednesday, July 21, 2004

A Christian Bookstore

There has been much discussion lately surrounding the "Left Behind" series of books flying off bookshelves around the country.   In a future post I will discuss the books themselves (as Nicholas Kristof did in the NY Times last week), but today I draw your attention to where it is many of these books are coming from - Christian bookstores. 

The whole concept of a "Christian" bookstore bothers me.  Maybe it is the seperatist nature of it, the putting on of airs as if none of the books sold there are morally culpable.  Or maybe it's the assumption that people take into the store, that they are somehow better people or more devout Christians for shopping there.  Regardless, the Christian bookstores we see today fall far short of what I think a true Christian bookstore should be.  And just what would that look like?

Well, for one, you wouldn't have to pay exorbant sums of money to get knowledge - it would be practically free.  People would share books, trading them off when they were through with them.  Everyone would be welcome there, not just Christians but people of all religious faiths and creeds.  Christianity wouldn't be on the defensive, hiding from the world - it would be out there for all to see and accept or reject, and putting the theology on solid intellectual footing through rigorous debate.  In other words, this bookstore would be open to everyone.  

Oh wait, maybe we already have something approximating a truly Christian bookstore:  the public library.




At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't the separation of church and state prohibit public (government) libraries from carrying Christian apologetics? If so, isn't that why Christian books are segregated?

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Lost In NY said...

If that were the case, then it looks like the city of Plano, Texas has an unconsitutional library, as one of their genres is specifically "Christian fiction":

It is not an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion to allow for books to be in a library. It would, however, be unconstitutional to BAN a certain set of books from a library because of their religious genre, as the government cannot constitutionally favor one religion over another.

It is my belief - perhaps mistaken - that public libraries stock whatever books the public demands, short of things like pornography, etc.


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