Speak Loudly - In Defense of Laurie Halse Anderson

I'm choosing to speak loudly. 

Up front, this is a blog post that I'm afraid to write. I'm afraid because I fully agree with the policy of treating the internet like a cocktail party: no sex, politics or religion. 

But I'm about to break policy. 

I'm a Christian. Have been since I was eight. To me, being a Christian means that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To reiterate, A PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ. I read the Bible. I have attended a weekly Bible study for the past five years so I KNOW what the Bible says. To reiterate, so I KNOW what the Bible says. 

Not what someone else tells me it says. 

Part of the reason it took me so long to finally write a book is because I had a really hard time reconciling my faith with the kind of story I wanted to tell. My characters would most likely make mistakes, do things they weren't supposed to do. Not be a shining Christian example, in other words. I wondered how that would impact the Christian example I'm supposed to set. My witness, for those familiar with the vernacular. The turning point came when I had a long conversation with my Bible study leader. During it, I asked this question. 

Me: What if my characters have to ... cuss?

Bible study leader: Do you cuss? 

Me: Quite proficiently. 

Bible study leader: Hell, yeah you do. Write the story. 

For whatever reason, that question and answer stuck with me. I thought about it for a long, long time. The conclusion I came to was this. Some people are Christians. All Christians are people. People. Human. Fallible. 


Not all people have easy lives. None of us end up exactly where we start out. Some of us are horribly broken, experience terrible things, and are damaged by other people. 

Just because there are stories out there that aren't "Christian" doesn't mean they don't deserve to be told. 

Lots of shit (I used that word on purpose. Think about why.) is going down on the internet today because some asshat wrote an article defaming, among other books, Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK. 

Here's what Wesley Scroggins said: As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.

Here's what Amazon says about SPEAK: Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning, highly acclaimed, and controversial novel about a teenager who chooses not to speak rather than to give voice to what really happened to her.

The challenger also says this: This [allowing these books in the school system] is unacceptable, considering that most of the school board members and administrators claim to be Christian. How can Christian men and women expose children to such immorality? Parents, it is time you get involved!

I'm not going to make a judgement call on this guy's faith. I'm not supposed to. It's not my business. That's biblical. 

I am going to make a judgement call about this book and the things it contains. 

Rape is immoral - it's a sin. IT IS NOT THE SIN OF THE VICTIM. A young girl feeling like she has to keep quiet about a terrible thing that happens to her is immoral - it's a sin. NOT THE SIN OF THE VICTIM. It's the sin of the society that makes it so. 

A society that contains citizens like Mr. Scroggins. 

What Mr. Scroggins is asking Laurie Halse Anderson to do - as well as the kids who identify with her books to do - is SHUT UP. 

I'm crying right now. Here's another reason I don't like to talk about religion to a vast, unknown public. Emotion is involved. You don't know my heart intimately. I can't discuss this with you. I can't look into your eyes and touch your hand and tell you that all people who "claim to be Christians" aren't like this. I can't live out life with you day to day and show you all my mistakes and my sin. Because I am sinful. I am trying, but I WILL NEVER GET IT RIGHT. That's biblical. 

I don't want this man to be the mouthpiece for what I believe. I don't want to be lumped in his category. So, afraid or not, I'm speaking loudly today.

First, I just bought five copies of SPEAK. If you're interested in putting your money where your mouth (or heart) is, maybe you should do the same. How about we get it back on the best-seller list? 

Second, I want applaud Laurie Halse Anderson for her work, her bravery, in telling such a heartbreaking story. If you do too, check out the #SpeakLoudly hashtag on Twitter. Thank you, Mr. Paul Hankins, for stepping up and starting it.

I do not find SPEAK immoral. As for the other books Mr. Scroggins mentions, he seems to have forgotten one thing. These are secular books. Secular books are allowed in a public school system. If this is an issue for Mr. Scroggins, maybe he should consider a Christian education for his children. HIS children are his business. Other Christian parents can make their own call on whether or not they do the same. 

Because for Christians, there is one Boss. Mr. Scroggins might need to surrender his Junior God badge. 

Third, we're not all Christians. But we are all people. People have value. 

All people have stories, and those stories have the right to be told. More importantly, EVERY STORY has the right to be HEARD.


  1. I know that post took a lot of guts. I'm a Christian, too, and I really appreciate you bringing this to our attention. I hadn't heard about it yet. It is ironic that what this man is doing creates the sort of situation that the book speaks against. I went to a Christian high school and remember standing up and arguing with teachers who did the same thing, laid a burden on the students (girls especially) that they couldn't hold up under.
    And I do think it's Biblical to call out other Christians on not living their faith.
    I think Christians often forget that the Bible itself isn't rated G. It talks about lots of difficult, graphic things and sometimes we need to also to tell a story.

  2. I agree with all of this, Myra. Very, very well said.

    I'm also a Christian. I am the most hypocritical one you'll ever meet.

    We are imperfect people in an imperfect world and not one of us should pass judgement.

    Books that show REAL people making REAL mistakes and learning from them are what this is about.

    I won't say anything about this reviewer because I am less than he is.

    Again. This is great. Thank you for saying, Myra. I love your blog posts and seeing you on twitter.


  3. Beautiful post, Myra!

    Yes, it took guts...balls...to write this post. So much of the Christian viewpoint we see out there echoes Mr. Scroggins' views. Rarely do "normal" Christians feel comfortable sharing their much more reasonable opinions.

    No wonder many people feel Christians are a bunch of crackpots. I'm so glad you spoke up!

    I haven't read SPEAK yet, but I'm going to now!

    A big-name-author told me once about someone chastising her for the bad language used in her books. Her comment back was priceless. She said, "Some of my characters swear. I don't."

    Thank you!


  4. As always, thank you for your posts. As writers, women, mothers, people of faith, thank you for Speaking Up for SPEAK.

    I agree with you - in fact, for those of us whose faith is a deeply personal thing, it is terribly hard to give voice to that element of our lives. And yet, I know we must. In fact, perhaps I'll be brave enough to change my Twitter bio to reflect that I work in youth ministry and yet can drop the Eff-Bomb with ease.

    But not yet. I'm not quite there yet. Some of it is because I don't want to be judged. And we all know a basic aspect of humanity is judgement. And some of it is just being more about living my faith than talking my faith.

    So for today, I'm going to be quiet. And then head off to my job at my church and SPEAK UP there. And have a fabulous time talking with youth about being judged for their actions and being brave enough to stand up, speak up, and do the right thing...which is what Jesus did time and time again.

  5. A very, very gutsy post. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I am also a Christian and speaking about my faith has never been easy for me. Too personal, too complicated.

    I've read Speak, and I am disgusted by the comments that individual wrote. I can't say more cause I'm already too wound up, too upset. But thank you for your own bravery in sharing.

  6. I'm an atheist, and I am totally throwing my support behind this entire post. Whatever the differences between our belief and non-belief might be, you clearly have your head and your heart in absolutely the right place on this issue. Free speech is for everybody, and no one individual has the right to control what other people can read and say and write.

    People like Scroggins give humanity a bad name, and individuals of all variations of belief need to stand up and speak out against the ignorance, victim-blaming and censorship that he and his ilk condone.

    Major kudos to you for having the guts to write this post, because it needed to be said, and it needs to be said more and loudly.

  7. Nothing to add, Myra.
    I appreciate your honesty.
    And we're all broken in need of a Rescuer.

  8. I haven't read Speak, but Laurie Halse Anderson is no stranger to controversy. She bravely takes on subjects that make people uncomfortable.

    But I don't think pulling books like this from the shelves helps anybody. Rape happens in the bible. People have sex with each other before they are married in the bible. In fact, the bible has people committing adultery and cursing and killing and being real people. And the thing is, we're supposed to read these stories and learn from them.

    Reading a book gives people a "safe" place to learn things, to experience the emotions, to think about how they would handle themselves in a similar situation. Life happens. Ignoring it on paper or on the screen won't change that. But maybe seeing how it plays out for someone else can give a young reader the courage to not let their story end the same way.

    Thank you for posting this and for showing that the opinion of one Christian is NOT the opinion of all.

  9. Myra,

    This is courageous and wonderful. Thank you for sharing your views. I'm an atheist, but there is nothing in this post I can't agree with. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

    I'm off to buy a few copies myself--blog giveaway, anyone?

    - Liz

  10. This is wonderful and i applaud the guts it took to write. You are the Christian that i know there are so many more of out there that just drowned out by people like Scroggins. Please keep speaking loudly.

  11. I haven't read this book and likely won't because it's not really my thing, but I applaud you stepping out with your faith and defending not only the book itself, but the author's freedom to write it and its real message. I too am a Christian and couldn't agree more with your words.

    I don't know you Myra, but bravo. I will definitely check out your book when it's out next year!

    Keep speaking!!

  12. Tiny waves are rippling through my arms and down my back. Wow. This was an incredibly beautiful and insightful post, that will surely help with the fight to Speak Loudly and defend the incredible (and essential) piece of literature that is SPEAK, by Laurie Halse Anderson.

  13. I'm so glad you had the courage to make this post, because it is amazing. I was seriously starting to cry just reading this post because the emotion in it is so strong.

    I'm not Christian, and I know that not all Christians are like him. I know there are plenty like you - amazing people. It just seems like the ones like him - the ones trying to shut everyone else up - are more vocal. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you made this post. I'm glad that you spoke up.

    I've never read Speak, but I'm going to buy it right now.

  14. You did an amazing job Myra!

    As a teacher I find what this man is proposing wrong on so many levels. The world is not fairy tales and happy endings. Trying to hide the world's ugliness doesn't make it go away. Telling a teenager not to do/read something will certainly peak their curiosity about "why".

    I teach my students about banned books. In fact I TEACH them banned books. WHY? because if you just tell kids don't do that inevitably they will do it anyway but without you to help guide them. SO yes we read and talk about banned books, we talk about the themes and reasons people try to get books banned. Understanding perspective and content gives students the chance to SPEAK for themselves, to make mistakes and know they are not alone. Books open up lines of communication that otherwise might be impossible. After all it is easier to talk about a character's experience than your own even if they are the same.

    Instead of banning books people should be encouraging parents and children to read together and communicate about the hard stuff that otherwise may not be talked about.

  15. Myra,

    What a brave post!

    Thank you for being one of those Christians who don't spread hate and intolerance.

    I may be agnostic, but I respect the hell out of this post.

    Rape is immoral, but the victims are not, thank you for that.

  16. You said it all, girl. I couldn't add a single word. So I'll just drop this link everywhere with a WHAT SHE SAID.

    You're in my brain.

  17. Myra,

    I'm not a Christian, but you are the sort of Christian I respect and admire. Your integrity runs deep and your faith is essential to it. Thank you for speaking up.

  18. Y'all are making me laugh and cry and laugh and cry some more. Bravo to you for speaking up here. And thanks for letting me be vulnerable.

  19. Thank you for writing this post. Does that idiot really think that evil should be brushed under the carpet? What use is it to protect teenagers' minds by forbidding them from reading stories that deal with the bad stuff, if you can't protect them from experiencing it personally? I read many people's twitter and blog comments who have been in Melinda's situation and been helped to heal by reading the book. I can only assume that the idiot did not read the book itself. I hate to think what sort of person would read it and consider it in any way pornographic.

  20. Very well written post, well thought out and powerful. Thank you for sharing this.

    The one good thing about this guy's ranting is that Speak is getting a lot of buzz and a lot of new readers. People who've never heard about this book are asking about it, buying it, borrowing it from their library and passing it around. So that's a small victory.

  21. So, this post made me cry AND want to cheer at the same time.

    I'm a Christian, and I've thought a lot about this kind of thing, like you have. And my conclusion is: Christians who object to a book based on the mere fact of its content aren't paying attention to the bible. Because: there is SEX (*gasp*) in the Bible. There is adultery. There is murder. In fact, people we hold up as examples-- Moses, David-- are the ones guilty of the murder and adultery. Flawed people making mistakes and still being worthy of love, according to God-- that's biblical. Sinful acts inflicting real harm on people-- that's biblical, too. And I know the goal of Speak isn't to "be biblical," or anything, but I am saying that people like Scroggs, for whom the bible is the foundation of their faith, should recognize that there's nothing inherently wrong with representing "bad things" in writing.

    As a writer who happens to be Christian, I believe my responsibility is primarily to write stories that are as true as possible. And that means that bad things will happen and characters who are generally admirable will do bad things, because that's true, that's how the world works. And I believe God loves the truth.

    So, Scroggins can kiss my Christian butt.

    Also, I should really get on that whole reading Speak thing.

  22. Also, SO not trying to equate sex and murder. *facepalm*

  23. "Mr. Scroggins might need to surrender his Junior God badge."

    love this. and you.

  24. Well said, Myra! I work in a suburban public school system and each year someone wants to ban something. These folks seem to forget the principles of free speech. You nailed it too - send his kids to private school or homeschool if he wants a specific agenda taught.

    Excellent post!

  25. SPEAK wasn't on my TBR pile. It is now.

    Thank you.

  26. This Jewish girl is cheering.
    Brava, Myra. Brava.

  27. Beautifully written, Myra. As a Christian, I know that I connect with -- and learn more from -- the realistic characters in books than the "shining examples" of virtue and "perfection"...you know, the ones I could never be like because I'm a fallible human being.

    In fact, as others have said, Mr. Scoggins would do well to remember that the Bible is full to the brim of imperfect humans. I especially liked your comment that he should turn in his "Junior God" badge.

    Well done, fellow Nashvillian!

  28. Myra,

    I saw a tweet of yours the other day and felt like we had a faith kinship. It's a tough world for Christians these days because we are constantly made to look like beligerant haters. That's not the case for the great majority...unfortunately, there is a greater silent majority who are actually living by Christ's teachings, which would not advocate.

    I've had students who have been taken advantage of and perhaps they don't get the opportunity to ever have a voice like Melinda. They need this novel and countless other young women and women do.

    Thank you so much for your post.

  29. Beautiful post! I think Christians & religious believers in general are getting a bad rap lately, due in part to folks like Mr. Scroggins. I love posts like this that show being Christian and being open-minded and awesome are not mutually exclusive. Thank you!

  30. Yes. *hugs*

    And now you have me thinking seriously about being honest about my own story on my blog in defense of this.

    I'm scared out of my gourd to do so, but maybe I should. Because this kind of bass-ackwards thinking is what kept me silent for so long.

  31. Wow. That's all I have to say. I mean, I'm Jewish and I've had the same internal issues with what I write. But I agree, stories have to be told. Humans are humans. We all make mistakes. Make choices. And purposely ignoring a subject because it's uncomfortable is wrong. I applaud authors who take that challenge and come through. I hope to someday be among their ranks. So in turn I applaud you and what you've said here. Thank you!

  32. i am hugging you hard through the internet.

    gems like yourself and all the others commenting or tweeting or blogging about this issue make me realize just how much i love the writing community.

    thank you.


  33. Thank you for speaking so rationally and deeply about this, Myra.
    I haven't read all of SPEAK, but I do know enough about it to agree that while the topic may not be "appropriate" for all readers, that does not make it a bad book.
    I'm a Christian as well, and am appalled by the hypocrisy of Scroggins' statement. (By the way, what a Dickensian villain name...) Sin is out there, people. Our role as Christians is to show, not that it doesn't exist, but that it has consequences. And more importantly, that there is redemption. Bible aside, one of the early Church fathers wrote about the very topic that Halse did: Augustine of Hippo in The City of God. He rebuked Christians who claimed that raped women were any less holy, or less "virgin" than women who had avoided such a fate...and he offered these women the utmost encouragement and words of love. Perhaps we should heed his example and remember charity in all our actions. (Ok, I'm erasing my mental image of throttling someone...)

  34. Loved every word and really it could have been me saying each and everyone.

  35. Well said, Myra!

    I hadn't heard of this book yet, but now that I have, I'm interested in reading it. I find it ironic, and fitting, that by ranting about the book (and by being a hateful promoter of censorship) Mr. Scroggins is doing more to promote it than ban it.

    And good job standing up for compassion and tolerance - characteristics that transcend religion and should be universally human regardless of faith!

  36. Very well-stated, Myra. I too am Christian, and I am one of those little girls who couldn't Speak. Reading this book helped me to in many ways, though I read it as an adult. I tell my middle schools to read this books, and it all started when one of them choose it for a book report. What we need to do as people, is try to explain what is going on in books like Speak, so that our children won't feel the need to stifle their voices when they are in pain or when they experience terrible things. Thank you for speaking out and sharing your thoughts. Your voice is beautiful!!!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  37. Amen, Myra! I get so tired of people thinking avoidance and turning the other way is going to make all the bad stuff in the world disappear. I also get really angry when people think they have the right to tell everyone else what they can and can't read. Grrrrr.

  38. I sincerely wish there were more people out there like you. This is one of the most powerful posts I've read on Scroggins' ignorance. I am a Christian too, and it pains me when people like Scroggins take it upon themselves to tell the world what Christians are supposed to believe, especially when he's just wrong. Thank you for posting this, even though I know it was difficult. I appreciate it, and I'm sure many others do too.

  39. Hear, hear. Sure, rape is immoral. But it's not sex, and it's not something that is going to go away if we hush it up and put it in a box. It robs young people of the truth and comfort and strength they could use to find their own voice.

    And that is. Not. Okay.

    Thanks for this post.

  40. This is SOOOO true. Too many believers think that to follow Jesus means to retreat into a "sterile" life, away from all the messiness and ugly of life on earth. Funny, because Jesus spent His time with people who were dirty, and stinky (literally) and lowly. Wonder if there's something to that.....

    I just wrote an open letter on my blog to Prof. Scroggins (from my Christian viewpoint).

  41. Thank you for this -- I completely agree with everything you've said. I hate it that people like Scroggins become the mouthpiece for Christians, because they are so far off base. Maybe we need to have some kind of free speech revolution where we spread tolerance and Christ's love instead of letting the narrow minded and hateful represent us. Once again, thank you for writing this so eloquently, because it definitely sums up all the feelings I had after reading that article yesterday.

  42. There are no words to express how much I love this post and applaud every single word in it. Bravo!

  43. I am stunned that the book could generate controversy...Rape is a crime, yet it happens all the time, to women, men, and yes, teens and children. You and Laurie Halse Anderson are both brave for writing it. But it's a shame we live in a world that still wants to pretend rape doesn't happen.

    And yes, I'm buying the book now.

  44. Thanks for having the courage to write this post. It's interesting when people want art to imitate only their version of what the world should be.

    If people were perfect, there would be no stories.

  45. Fabulous, fabulous post! Kudos to you for speaking out. It's great to see so many people standing up against this issue!

    I wrote about my opinions here.

  46. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing and thanks for standing up.

  47. Thank you for the courage you showed in writing this. If there were more Christians like you, we would live in a better world.

  48. Thanks for writing this. I'm sorry this world makes it so hard to say these things. I hope the outcome for you is that although it was hard, it was worth doing.

    When I read the kind of social commentary and attitude toward women that the book banner displays, I feel pretty hostile about Christianity. In calmer moments, I know that's overgeneralizing, but too often these attacks go unanswered. You reminded this cynic what the Bible's real message is--and via tolerance and open discussion. Thanks.

  49. Myra - I heart you so much! *hugs*

  50. I had tears in my eyes when I read your post. I'm a Christian who also struggled with how to reconcile my faith with what I truly desired to write. I chose people. I can't pretend to be perfect, nor would I want my daughter to be deprived of reading a book that could impact her life and her thoughts. Your post is so good, I'm going to put a link to it on my blog. I want other people to read it.

    One book banned today. 1000's of books burned later. One only has to look to history. To the oppression of people all over the world in the name of any God to know our freedom to SPEAK is a glorious gift and we need to defend it!

  51. Obviously these people have not read the stories in the bible dealing with rape, prostitutes, war, and murder.

    People, don't cover these things as if they've never happened; expose them so to show how wrong they are.

    Give victims the bible so that they can see it happened even back then, and give them books like these to let them know it still happened now when it shouldn't.

    Thank you Myra, for not being afraid to SPEAK out.

  52. I just ran into our local indie bookstore and bought a copy. So ridiculous that a man (Mr. Scroggins) has such a foul opinion of women. But again, that's historical and not Christian in the least.

    As a Christian Mama to 3 children, I firmly believe that books are there to challenge them, to take them places where they may never go and to show them the repercussions of their actions.

    Thank you for your post. I adore you more than ever, Myra.

  53. I have no words other than you ispire me. Thank you for speaking out.

  54. Your post made me cry. This is actually something that my husband and I discussed at length last night after I read Mr. Scroggins' article and then we went to see the movie EASY A.

    I loved EASY A. It was quite entertaining and charming and ended up having a pretty good message. But at the same time, the "Christian" characters in the movie were portrayed as little Jesus-Freak teenage versions of Mr. Scroggins. They were judgmental and unforgiving and wanted to control every influence at their school.

    Obviously, Christians like Mr. Scroggins exist or we wouldn't be having this conversation--but thank you for speaking up and saying that we aren't all like him. I am a deeply devoted Christian. I am extremely not perfect. And dear Mr. Scroggins is in NO WAY a mouthpiece for my beliefs.

    I love the book SPEAK. It's one of the books that influences me the most as a writer. I think any teenage girl could benefit from reading it. I already own multiple copies, but I'll be sure to buy a few more this week.

    Thanks for speaking up!

  55. I LOVE YOU! You already know that. Thank you for this awesome, outstanding article. You're the reason why I posted mine on Mundie Moms.

  56. Myra, you are brave and wonderful and I love you so hard at this moment as I type with tears in my eyes. I think it so incredibly, INCREDIBLY important to do what you are encouraging us to do: speak up. I, too, am a Christian. A very flawed one who curses too much and attends church too infrequently, but a lot of that is because people like Mr. Asshat Scroggins seem to define the face of Christianity lately. And that's WRONG. YOU define that face, daily, with your wit and wisdom and accessibility and LOVE. Thank you for putting yourself out there, and thank you for standing up.

    I haven't read SPEAK yet, but I just clicked "buy" on my cart. And I'll be sure to #SpeakLoudly about it. <3

  57. This guy is from my town.
    My town.
    My newspaper.
    My schools.
    My community.
    And this isn't okay. At all. You're wonderful for writing this. I can't tell you how sick the whole thing makes me feel.

  58. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your blog post. I agree with you 100 percent. Check that, make that 1,000 percent. Not one single one of us is perfect, and we never will be this side of heaven. We mess up, screw up and fall down. Yet the key is to keep getting up, dusting ourselves off and keep on striving for perfection.

    We need books such as Speak Loudly to show us the ugly side of life. Jesus did not come to heal the healthy for they were already well. Jesus came for the sick, the lame and (shocker) the SINFUL. How can we as Christians and as a society correct the wrongs of the world if they are not exposed and left in the darkness. They must be brought to Light in order to be made right.

    Myra, your post is spot on, and thank you for writing and posting it.

    Oh, and rape is mentioned in the Bible too.

  59. I was raised Christian and became Agnostic partially because of people like this Snoggins guy. I don't want to call myself Christian and affiliate myself with sentiments like his.

    I commend you for sharing your thoughts here and for finding ways to hold onto your faith while openly disagreeing with those who would twist it to fit their own agendas.

  60. Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.

    I'd do it some more, but my hands are starting to hurt.

    I can't stand people (probably not very Christian there) that say things that are their opinion (which they have a right to do) but base it upon stupidity, then claim it under another authority.

    I can only hope that parents (or whoever) have the intelligence to read for themselves the books in question (any books) and form a knowledgeable decision.

  61. Amen.
    Myra, thanks for speaking out, despite the fear. We all have to so the Mr. Scroggins of the world can't drown us out.

  62. I am an Orthodox Catholic, and I can honestly say that I am truly appalled by his use of Christianity in defense of his propagation of the idea that rape is like softcore porn. From one Christian to another, I can say his defense is one of the most cowardly I have ever seen.

    Clearly he's never dealt with the fear of rape. Clearly he has no clue what rape is, and what it does to men and women. It's destructive, it's immoral, and the act of rape itself is a sin. How dare he say the telling of a story of a girl surviving rape and speaking up in her own defense is a sin?

    Great post. Well said, and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  63. Ah but when you speak up you get lots of heartfelt comments! ;) Seriously though, this was a beautiful post. I felt tears well up in my own eyes. Thank you for speaking out.

    Speak is a heartbreaking book as is Twenty Boy Summer. Both are important books that teens can relate to (I say this as a teenager and Christian).

  64. Love this post. I couldn't say it any better myself :)

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  65. Myra, thank you so much for adding your voice to the chorus of those Speaking Loudly.

  66. This was beautiful. Thank you.

    I consider myself a Christian but not "fully" a Christian for the very reasons which you speak of. I now feel better about what I write and how I live. :)

  67. Couldn't agree more. Thank you for posting.

  68. Wonderfully written. Thank you for being vulnerable. It took me SO long to even post that I was a Christian on my blog. And even then I hid it- way down at the bottom in the "complete profile" section so someone would definitely have to be trying to find out about me. I agree with you about the treating the internet like a cocktail party business. And then this whole Scroggins mess happened. And I read Veronica Roth's blog. And I grew a pair. And I wrote my blog post. About being a Christian AND a public high school teacher who teaches banned books.


    and now I read your post. And it is exceptional. Thank you for showing the world that there are Christians who actually follow what Christ says, and thank you for showing the YA community that we do have Christian authors who are not afraid to write "real-life" material in their work!


  69. Thank you for this post, Myra. It sent chills down my legs and made me tear up. I'm a Christian, too, but that's a risky thing to broadcast in a world where people like Scroggins tarnish the name. Thank you for being bold, and for having the guts to SPEAK.

  70. p.s. I graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I am TOTALLY with you about the pronunciation of APP-uh-LATCH-uhn ;-)


  71. Thanks for this, for your bravery and your caring reaction to a book that tells the truth about a terrible thing that is all too common, and far too often kept secret. One of the biggest gifts any book can give is the simple assurance that no one is ever alone.

  72. Amen.

    The times I'm most uncomfortable being Christian are the times people show up with lists of who's going to hell.

    I've got it on hold at the library now.

  73. This is so hard to say, but you said it well. Thank you on behalf of Christians who do not want Mr Scroggins to be our mouth piece.

  74. "Hell, yeah!"

    Beautiful post. Beautiful.

  75. Brava, Myra. That was a lovely, strong post. One that demonstrates actual Christian values in a way that makes sense and sets a good example for all of us, regardless of our religious affiliation. Good on ya!

  76. Excellent post! I will be back to visit your blog again. Thanks from yet another Christian who resents the hell out of people like this guy who just don't get it!

  77. Beautiful, beautiful post. Your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  78. I visit often, but rarely comment. I'm not going to read the asshat's article, but I have supported the #speakloudly campaign today. My daughters were sexually abused and the system in place to help them ignored them for five years. Our children are braver than the ignorant. As for being a Christian: imperfection is what makes us unique, and guilt is a terrible way to make people conform. Faith should never be the excuse for the way we act. Whether I'm a Christian or not has nothing to do with kindness, decency, and respect. Thank you for being brave. I felt your heart.

  79. Thank you so much, Myra, for writing this post. Not just for being brave and speaking out on the issue of SPEAK being banned, but also for the things you said at the start of your post. About the struggle of being a Christian who writes stories that other Christians might find less than acceptable.

    As a Christian and a writer I struggle with this a lot.

    What you said in your post is what I've tried again and again to say to my Christian friends when they scrunch up their faces and say, "Why would you want to write something like THAT?"

    So, thank you. You have no idea how much you've helped me with this post. I'm sure there are others you've helped as well.

    As for the banning issue, I think @MissTammy on Twitter said it best:
    "Don't want your kid to read a particular book? Fine. Don't want any other kids to read it either? Not fine."

  80. As a Christian with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I second this post. You have it right here. Thanks for posting.

  81. wow! i don't speak english, but i understand your post. It's excelent.

    I'm 17 and i think to all the girls have to read this book, because you never know when can you happen somthing... not good.

    Not all the PEOPLE is good. Not all the things are Faery Tales. We have to know the bad things to the world..

    Excelent post!

  82. Beautifully written. You captured perfectly what so many of us, myself included, want to say. Thank you for posting this, for having the courage to speak up, and for encouraging us to do the same.

  83. If I'd had contact with more people like you I probably wouldn't have such a grudge against the church as a whole. Christians like Scroggins were quick to judge me for how I dressed, talked and what they perceived as bad behavior. They never stopped to ask why. They never listened when I told them about being raped and continually victimized by being told to shut up about it. I too have a personal relationship with God and I applaud you for taking a stand with this post.

    Speaking out is the only cure.

  84. Yes, exactly. (LOVE that you included the verses. :)

    I have a Christian take on censorship post up, too. I'm so glad you were able to share this post - I struggled for a long time about separating my faith from my writing since my writing isn't for a Christian market and finally had to stop. Christ is in me; I can't suppress that.

  85. This was a really well thought out response. Thank you so much for posting this! You helped give me the courage to share my own story which I think is the most important thing about Speak.

  86. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands.
    (Isaiah 55:12)

    This is the kind of openness and joy that religion should bring, not judgment and fear and narrowness of soul and spirit. Thanks for your lovely post.

  87. Thanks for your honesty and SPEAKING up.

  88. Dear Myra:

    I am not a Christian. I am Jewish. I am a person of faith and a human being, and the one thing that Mr. Junior G-d is advocating is that people SHUT UP and one thing you and LHA are advocating is to SPEAK UP. Both are gutsy. I am firmly in the SPEAK UP category.

    It doesn't matter what your faith, it's important to talk about things that matter to human beings. These are the things that matter.



  89. Wow. Well said. What a beautiful post about a very ugly topic.

    Even if there was a book in existence that deserved to be banned (there isn't) banning books doesn't work. You may as well try to ban knowledge.

    I am now following this blog.

  90. Excellent post, and I thank you most of all for this reminder:

    "I don't want this man to be the mouthpiece for what I believe. I don't want to be lumped in his category. So, afraid or not, I'm speaking loudly today."

    I grew up in a very Christian household, but the politics and animosity surrounding organized religion eventually turned me off to it in my 20s and 30s. When I see hatred and anger being spouted in the name of religion (ANY religion) I need to remind myself that that person does not speak for ALL members of that religion.

    Thank you for my daily reminder.


  91. Thank you. This book and this discussion is so near to my heart and my experience. I appreciate you choosing to SPEAK.

    Lots of love.... me

  92. As a Christian, I've struggled with the exact issues you brought up - from having my characters cuss to worrying about having my characters do sinful things. It was brave and wonderful of you to discuss this so openly.

    AND I definitely appreciated your take on this professor because I would not have been so eloquent.

  93. This post is amazing. AMAZING. Where do you live? Can I come over and listen to you talk about this for another hour or so? I'm such a walking identity crisis right now, wanting to tell stories but not sure what stories I'm supposed to / allowed to tell. You brave, wonderful person for writing this post.

  94. Wow - thank you for having the courage to write this post, for taking a stand and not letting Mr. Scroggins speak for SPEAK or for Christians.

  95. Thank God for you, Myra. And thank God for courage. You have it in spades. So often, we let silence speak for us because we are afraid to do otherwise. You're an inspiration.

  96. What a BEAUTIFUL post! Wow, I LOVE it. I could not have said it better!

  97. I am so proud of you for writing this post, Myra! I also follow the internet cocktail party rule of no talk of sex, religion or politics, but I'm glad you had the "huevos" to speak out. I as a Christian (Catholic) girl believe that Speak should be in our schools and that stories like this need to be heard. My final words on your post are "Amen, sistah!"

  98. Thank you for your courage and your eloquence. You've just demonstrated that not all Christians are narrow-minded, and foolish in their certainty. Well done.

  99. Thank you so much for your post. I am also a Christian. And, I believe that if God didn't want us to experience the good and the bad or have to choose between what is right and wrong, then he wouldn't have placed us on this earth to be tried and tested. And, I think that if something encourages a victim of a sexual assault to speak up about their attack and to realize that they aren't alone, then it cannot be bad.

    “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15–20.)

  100. Excellent post. Two comments: (1) Scroggins opposes the book because it pushes his button, not because of his religion. The issue is psychological, not theological. (2) the statement that nobody ever gets it right had to do with the abrogation of the Jewish Law, which was a central thesis in ancient Christianity. Nobody can justify herself by following an incredibly complex legal system with 613 commandments, each of which was worked out in reams of legalistic theory. So the Law was tossed and justification took place thereafter via a mystical covenant with God. It does not mean, as some mistakenly believe, that you are some sort of wretch. It means that "the Law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist]" and were no more after that.

  101. Beautiful take! It brought tears to my eyes. I really hate when the extremists come up with these things and make the rest of us look bad.

    and I'm more than amused with all the "freedom of speeshes" people are cool with. Yet, they want to ban books.

  102. When I hear someone describe themselves as Christian, I have a tendancy to take a step back. The reason for this is the Wesley Scroggins of this world. I am delighted and reassured to hear Christian voices of reason.

    Banning of books is the first and most dangerous step of censure. History shows us where this leads and it is not pretty.

    Thank you for this post, I admire your bravery. It is this type of bravery that will twart the madness.

  103. Your post here is amazing and very well writen. I think your voice should be heard and so shuld others on this matter. I will be buying several copies of SPEAK this week and I will give some to friends and my child who is an avid reader and love this book as much as you.

  104. Thank you for this well written post...it moved me in so many ways.

  105. YAY!

    I read speak for a children's lit class in college. Very powerful. As the survivor of an attempted rape in high school who told only my best friend, and only then because she was about to accept a ride from our "friend", it needs to be said.

    I am a Catholic. I am a teacher. I am a reader and a woman. As all of those things, I believe that the outspoken critic of this book should do two things:
    1. Read the book like a man who has a daughter or a wife or a sister or a mother. Then form an opinion informed by those feelings.
    2. Find an actually pornographic book to complain about.

  106. Brava, Myra. Thank you for standing up, and for being brave enough to say the things you did. I completely agree.

  107. Myra, thank you for speaking out. thank you for telling it like it is. I am tired of all the bullshit (I used that word on purpose too) that many Christians try to put on others. I makes me so sad. A voice like the one in SPEAK needs to be heard. For many years mine was not. And I can say that it has taken me 33 years to finally say, ENOUGH and speak out against those who wronged me. These books are so important, more important than we may ever know.
    thank you for your words. They restore my hope in fellow Christians.

  108. Well said. You have officially renewed my faith in the Christians of this world. We only ever seem to hear about people like Scroggins who use religion as an excuse to put forth their own agendas. Thank you for speaking up. I don't think SPEAK is really my cup of tea, but I might give it a try.

  109. Myra, I do not know you, but I was profoundly moved by your entry. Profoundly.

    I am not a Christian; I was born and raised secularly, and I often, unfortunately, have a prejudice against Christians precisely because of people like Mr. Scroggins.

    When I was in graduate school, I met and became fast, close, and best friends with an Eastern Orthodox Antiochian. She changed my life. She made me realize that not all Christians act self-righteous and are hateful people. Today you reinforced that.

    This entry is a work of art. It is beautifully written, emotionally powerful, and utterly important to our national dialogue about faith and the role of faith in our daily lives.

    Others have commended you, and I want to add my name to that list. To say that I love your post is an understatement. Thank you for SPEAKing up.

    Very best,

  110. Hi there

    This post was interesting, how long did it take you to write?

  111. You have captured my own thoughts and beliefs on this! Anderson's book is remarkable. It gives voice to the fear that too many of our young people have about speaking up when they have been abused, bullied, or mistreated. Treating this story as something that is too horrible to speak about silences our children just when they should be able to speak to us! As a fellow Christian, I agree with what you have said. Thank you for voicing it so beautifully!

  112. Late to this but <3. So brilliant.

  113. Like I mentioned in my response to your vlog on this subject, I know this is a late comment, but I had to write it--thank you. Thank you for sharing your views about this subject and about being a Christian in a way that, as a fellow Christian, I can relate to and say, "Amen, sister!" Thank you for addressing some of my concerns as I write (not published YET) and am very aware of being a Christian. Thank you.


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