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 I don't see any reason why they should not belong on the shelf of a public
school library (age appropriate of course).  Many high schools have the
popular book THE DA VINCI CODE and other similar works.

Also in the Religion and Philosophy section we have books on all different
religions. Personally, I am an elementary librarian (and a very dedicated
Christian), but on my shelves I have books on Chrisitianity, Judaism, Islam,
etc.  As information providers we must be aware of all of the different
patrons out there and feeding their hunger for reading.  If it is an age
approrpriate student who may be interested in reading the LEFT BEHIND SERIES
then why not make it available just like having books for students of any
other interests?

Just to add my two cents about the series, I feel that it is very
exceptionally written and carries that "grabbing factor" all the way
through!  Normally I am more of a non-fiction, biographical reader.  So for
me to stay interested and have read the entire series it had to have been
well done!

This is just my opinion and probably reflects a lot of my philosophy as an
information provider!  I'll be interested in reading others' comments!

Thank you,

Susan Jenkins, Library Media Specialist
School Technology Coordinator
Overdale Elementary School
Louisville, Kentucky

-----Original Message-----
From: School Library Media & Network Communications
Sent: 1/21/2005 4:21 PM
Subject: [LM_NET] Gen: Left Behind Series (commentary - a bit long)

        I had a student mention this series early in the year.  Anytime
a student mentions a book of some kind, it presents a lead that you
definitely want to pursue.  I accidentally came across a reference to
the series in the Labor-Community Reporter (December 2004) published by
Opportunities for Broome (Broome County, NY).  The author was quoting
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times:

        "According to Kristof, these books tell how the born-again Jesus
will return to earth to destroy the Hindus, Muslims, Jews, certain
unborn-again Protestants, Unitarians, of course the agnostic's, and yes,
even the Catholics, (notwithstanding the Bishop's recent tilt to the
Political Right in favor of our best known born-again living in the
White House), by throwing them all into an everlasting fire pit."

        Since both the Labor-Community Reporter and the New York Times
are left of center, I checked into some websites for other views.  Here
are some other opinions:

Fundamentally unsound
Left Behind, the bestselling series of paranoid, pro-Israel end-time
thrillers, may sound kooky, but America's right-wing leaders really
believe this stuff.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Michelle Goldberg
"Left Behind cloaks itself in the conventions of ordinary airport
thrillers, but it does far more than just provide a Christian
alternative to decadent mainstream entertainment. It creates a Christian
theory of everything, one that slates current events into a master
narrative in which the world is destroyed and then remade to evangelical
specifications. It's an alternate universe in which conservative Middle
Americans are vindicated against everyone who doesn't share their
beliefs -- especially liberals and Jews.
"There's nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to their
fantasies. But LaHaye and Jenkins are at pains to show that the Left
Behind books are meant as more than fiction. They write on the Left
Behind Web site <>, 'While it is true that in
the broad spectrum of Protestant Christianity there are multiple views
of the end-times scenario, the pre-millennialist theology found in the
Left Behind Series is the prominent view among evangelical Christians,
including their leading seminaries such as Talbot Seminary, Trinity
Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary.'
"So the rest of us can ignore Left Behind, or chuckle at its
over-the-top Christian kitsch. We should keep in mind, though, that for
some of the most powerful people in the world, this stuff isn't
melodrama. It's prophecy."

A comment from Wesley Clark, found on this website:

                "Now, there's one party in America that's made the
United Nations the enemy. And I don't know how many of you have ever
read that series of books that's published by the Christian right that's
called the 'Left Behind' series? Probably nobody's read it up here. But
don't feel bad, I'm not recommending it to you. I'm just telling you
that according to the book cover that I saw in the airport, 55 million
copies have been printed. And in it, the Antichrist is the United
Nations. And so there's this huge, ill-informed body of sentiment out
there that's just grinding away against the United Nations."

                Apologetics Index

                        "A seminary professor who has delved into the
Book of Revelation believes the "Left Behind" fiction series has some
positive points but a raft of faulty theology.

                        Loren Johns, academic dean at Associated
Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., told a Feb. 28 convocation
at Bethel College that the popular end-times books by Tim LaHaye and
Jerry B. Jenkins 'exude an evangelical warmth and passion that I find

                        At the same time, he said, because of the
consumerist, militaristic values expressed, 'I view the series as a
rejection of the good news of Christ.'

                        Johns believes the popularity of the series, and
the public's penchant for end-times prophecy, spring from a basic
misreading of Revelation."
                        Source: Professor critiques 'Left Behind' books
<> <<ole0.bmp>>
<<ole1.bmp>>  By Robert Rhodes, Mennonite Weekly Review

        The publishers of Apologetics Index reject the end-time theology
promoted by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

                It would seem to me that the Left Behind series in not
in the tradition of Christian literature as written by C. S. Lewis,
Lloyd Douglas or Morris West.  I see no problem in having literature
that promotes a particular religious view or is meant to attract new
converts, but if the philosophy crosses the line into bigotry and/or
superiority, this becomes another issue.  Here is where your selection
criteria can become very critical.
                        Although our school's selection policy is quite
old and needs to be updated, such matters are addressed.  The New York
State Education Department has this reference that is applicable:
"Biased or slanted materials may be provided only to meet specific
curriculum objectives".  This is from a publication that probably dates
from the early 1980's.
                        The school's internet policy, formulated
relatively recently,  is more specific.  Students or staff are not
allowed to "access, transmit, or retransmit material which advocates or
promotes violence or hatred against particular individuals or groups of
individuals or advocates or promotes the superiority of one racial group
over another."  This same criteria should apply to any other media as
                        Not having read any of these books, I have to
withhold final judgment, but I do have to question whether novels of
this type belong on the shelves of a public school library.

                Ed Nizalowski, SMS
                Newark Valley High School
                Newark Valley, NY

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