Issue 87, Fall 2002

  • In Montgomery County, Texas, the award-winning children’s sex-education book, It’s Perfectly Normal, and It’s So Amazing by Robie Harris, are still off the library shelves. In response to complaints County Commissioners voted to appoint five citizens to the reconsideration committee—now composed of five librarians—whenever children’s books are challenged. The fate of the Robie Harris books will be decided by the new, yet-to-be-appointed committee. If the ten members deadlock, the books could forever remain in limbo. In the same county, a resident’s complaint compelled the sporting goods store owner to adorn the replica of Michelangelo’s David, atop his store, with a plastic fig leaf.
  • Students and educators across the nation held speakouts on September 18 to urge repeal of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which requires public schools receiving federal funds to block Internet access to materials that are “harmful to minors.” CIPA was intended to apply to libraries as well but the 3rd Circuit Court ruled it unconstitutional, finding that filters would inevitably block protected speech. Speakout sponsors included NCAC and the Youth Free Expression Network, a project of the Free Expression Policy Project.
  • A young professional photographer in Cincinnati, about to have his first gallery art show, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for photographing corpses in a morgue for an art project about the cycle of life. Thomas Condon believed he had permission to take the photos but was indicted and charged with “corpse abuse.” NCAC has garnered support for Condon. After three months in jail, Condon is now free pending appeal.
  • Nude is not lascivious, determined a federal court in throwing out a case against a Pennsylvania photographer who had taken photos of her teen-age daughter and friends showering at the beach. Senior Circuit Judge John T. Noonan, sitting on the 3rd Circuit, ruled that the photos were not pornographic.
  • The state of Louisiana must stop funding religiously-based abstinence education programs. “The state must not give money to anyone who conveys religious messages or advances religion in any way,” said US District Judge G. Thomas Porteus, Jr. The state has appealed.
  • October is Family Sex Education Month, reminds Advocates for Youth, its sponsor, which encourages parents and potential parents to educate their own children. For information or resources, visit
  • Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism Program will hold a conference, The New Gatekeepers, on Free Expression in the Arts on November 20-21 in New York City (