Okay Everybody, Chill Out.

There's apparently a big flutter (at least Pharyngula's all worked up) because the Halton Catholic school board has pulled a book authored by an atheist from the shelves. I think this is a little out of proportion, though. The parts of the article that I found most interesting, actually, were this:

Scott Millard, manager of library services with the board, told CTV.ca on Friday that the review has been board policy since 1990 and that "any community member has the right to request a re-examination of learning or library material."
and this
After reading the book, the committee will complete an evaluation form that examines a "wide variety of criteria" including grammar, plausibility, language, plot, etc.
It seems from the article that any parent can request an evaluation of any book, and that book will be pulled (not banned, mind, just pulled from public display but available on request) until a committee has made a decision. I don't think this is necessarily a bad policy. I tend to lean towards allowing lots of freedom in what literature should be available, but there's a valid argument to me be made against a school library carrying, for example, hate speech, and this policy could help weed that out, depending on the exact criteria the committee uses. Obviously there's plenty of room for the policy to be abused, as in this case, but if the committee evaluating the book is actually objective (and there's been no indication that they aren't), then the worst that can happen is the book will spend some time behind the counter and everyone's time will have been wasted. Maybe these abuses could be curbed by having a list of valid reasons why books should be reevaluated, and sticking to it.

Speaking of criteria, though, here's what I'm really wondering about: If a parent were to request an evaluation of the Bible, would it pass an unbiased committee? Obviously, finding that committee would be problematic, but if you could. I think it should be tried; at the very least it would be funny.