Prison bureau relents on purging books, will return most religion texts

Bureau was "swatting a fly with a sledgehammer"
Yielding to pressure from religious leaders and members of Congress, the federal Bureau of Prisons has ended a purge at prison libraries of “nonapproved” religious books and materials. The purge was undertaken because of terrorism concerns. Books taken off shelves will be returned, the bureau announced September 26, except for material “that could be radicalizing or incite violence.”

Those alarmed by the removals that started in June 2007 spanned the liberal-conservative spectrum after news stories noted the many standard works that were rejected.

Books not approved included works by respected 20th-century theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr and Karl Barth, and contemporary fare such as Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life and Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People.


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