Religious works fit for prisoners
There is a very oddly reported story in today’s NY Times about the Bureau of Prisons’ ordering chaplains to remove from prison libraries any books, tapes cds and videos that are not on an approved list. According to the story, “the Bureau of Prisons said it relied on experts to produce lists of up to 150 book titles and 150 multimedia resources for each of 20 religions or religious categories “ These experts were not named.
What is odd about the reporting of the story is that few of the books approved are named. The “Encyclopedia of Catholicism” is among them, as well as nine unidentified works by C.S. Lewis, and an unidentified work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and we are told that eighty of the volumes approved for Judaism (all unidentified) come from the same Orthodox publishing house, also unidentified. We are also told that there are no volumes by theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth and Cardinal Avery Dulles, or by the influential pastor Robert H. Schuller. One would like to know what went into the choice of these to illustrate the unapproved.
The Times has copies of the lists but chose not to tell us much about them nor to make them available on line. I would think it at least as interesting to know which books did make the list.