To the editor:
Ignorance and fear. These are the tools of the self-proclaimed moral majority, including Phill Kline and Rep. Lance Kinzer. Using public ignorance and fear, these men try to intimidate people into complying with their narrow religious conservative agenda. Kline's demand for abortion records had nothing to do with prosecuting sex offenders but everything to do with intimidating young women considering abortion. Any honest effort to prosecute sex offenders would have sought records of childbirth by underage girls rather than focusing exclusively on abortions.
Now, we have Kinzer trying to legislate away protection of teachers' academic freedom. Fear mongering is clear in Kinzer's posturing that, under current law, materials "illegal if sold at a porn shop may be legal if displayed to a kindergarten class." By equating kindergarten curriculum with Porn 101, Kinzer is using public ignorance to instill fear in hopes that such fear will lend support to his agenda. If signed into law, Kinzer no doubt hopes his bill will prey on teachers' ignorance of the law, their fears leading them to self-censor or risk prosecution.
But there would be no prosecution. Kansas statute defines obscene material as "lacking serious literary, educational, artistic, political or scientific value." So any material used legitimately to support school curriculum cannot be defined as obscene - even if Harry Potter does scare Phill Kline. And that is what this is really about. The ignorance and fear used as tools in this crusade are, ironically, what motivates it to begin with.