BATTLEGROUND by Stephen Bates


One Mother's Crusade, the Religious Right, and the Struggle for Control of our Classrooms
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 A balanced, well-documented account of a battle recently fought by a handful of Tennessee fundamentalist parents against high-school textbooks. Bates (If No News, Send Rumors, 1989, etc.--not reviewed) traces the course of the controversial censorship debate that came to be known as ``Scopes II''--a debate that pitted the powerful Christian organization of Concerned Women for America against Norman Lear's People for the American Way. Bates also provides intimate glimpses into the lives and minds of the leading combatants. Though clearly uncomfortable with parents who detect sacrilege in Macbeth, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Wizard of Oz, and even ``Goldilocks,'' he refuses to dismiss these men and women as mere lunatics of the religious right. Rather, he contends that, in this case, the fundamentalists were treated condescendingly by the media, who often distorted the facts--and he raises some of the questions that the media allegedly chose to ignore: ``How should a secular, tolerant society cope with devout but intolerant citizens in both the public school and the public square? How much control should parents wield over their children's education? How should the public handle religious topics and religious students?'' While never encumbering his text with ponderous arguments about constitutionality or educational theory, Bates strikes with range and depth at the heart of these issues, crucial for educators and all concerned Americans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-79358-6
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993