Friday, September 12, 2008

Saradise Lost - Chapter Fifty-Two -- Palmer Pastor's Gay-Positive Book was on Mayor Palin's Censor List

by E. Ross

Howard Bess, author of "Pastor, I am Gay" and former pastor of Church of the Covenant in Palmer, Alaska recalls that his book challenging Christians to re-examine their ideas about and prejudices against gays and lesbians was not well received in nearby Wasilla when it was published in 1995 -- the year before Sarah Palin was elected mayor.

Virtually every book store in Wasilla refused to sell it. Bess said he gave two copies to the Wasilla Library, but they quickly disappeared. So he donated more copies.

Sarah Palin was elected mayor of Wasilla with the support of her Assembly of God church, which was pushing for the removal of "Pastor, I am Gay" from local bookstores. On two occasions, Mayor Palin asked the Wasilla library director what she would do if told to remove certain books from the shelves. Three books were mentioned.

The library director, Mary Ellen Emmons, said the books were purchased according to the guidelines and would not be removed. Mayor Palin fired her soon after. A group of local residents protested the firing and Mary Ellen was reinstated, but she left Wasilla two years later and will not speak about the incident now.

In Dec. 1996, reporter Paul Stuart wrote an article about the censorship controversy in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.

"Mary Ellen told me that Palin asked her directly to remove these books from the shelves," Stuart said. "She refused." Asked later if one of the books could have been "Pastor, I am Gay," Stuart said that it was.

"Knowing Sarah's religious connections and the people involved," said Howard Bess, "I would be surprised if my book was not one of those at issue."


Anonymous said...

Finally, the name of one of the books. Nice work Phil. Can we get the other two?

Sarah is an undercover authoritarian theocrat. Why do I get the feeling that the Palin's home life has a secret side too.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if something doesn't come up soon, the Left-wing press will invent something appropriately scandalous.