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Texas Library Denies Request to Remove Vampire Knight Manga

posted on by Egan Loo
Library director, local citizens defend 75 titles from minister's petition

During a September 9 meeting, the city council of Cleveland, Texas did not act on a local minister's petition to remove 75 books he described as "demonic," including the Vampire Knight manga, from a library. Reverend Phillip Missick of the King of Saints Tabernacle Church had sent a petition last month to complain that Vampire Knight, Twilight, Blood Promise, and other books "perpetuate a theme of vampires in relationships with young teens" in Cleveland's Austin Memorial Library.

Missick also complained about "a demonic stuffed doll and a witch's hat" on the top shelf of the library's teen section — a reference to replicas of the Sorting Hat and the elf Dobby from the Harry Potter stories. Another complaint decried the dried roses placed on a table in the teen section.

Library Director Mary Merrell Cohn addressed Missick's complaints in a 123-page response that she presented to the city council on September 9: "After reading these books, which were merely fantasies, I personally did not have any desire to perform any immoral, dark or sinister acts. Of course, everyone has their own opinion after reading these books and others like them, but that is the point."

She also emphasized that dried roses are not occultic: "It is a way to preserve flowers. These roses have a special personal place in my heart, since my husband sent them to me for our anniversary when he had to attend a [Texas Municipal League] meeting."

Cohn received local support from San Antonio resident and horror writer Tim Miller and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hunt of Cleveland ISD JROTC, who noted that the Harry Potter series helped his three children learn "loyalty, honesty, friendship and value of family." He added, "I've worked too hard over the years defending my country and raising three great kids to stand by while this kind of action is propose."

This week happens to be Banned Book Week, the annual event to raise awareness against efforts to block or limit access TO Books worldwide. Cleveland Mayor Niki Coats decided to not formally recognize the event since the city was dealing with the petition also this week. He explained, "It is unfair that the Banned Book Week falls on this week."

Sources: Cleveland Advocate, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (link 2) via Robot 6


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