Sunday, February 22, 2009

Top-Shelving God

Move aside, Dewey! Not content with the damage they've done to humanities and the sciences, religious zealots have proposed changes to library organization:

[S]ome Muslims in Leicester had moved copies of the Koran to the top shelves of libraries, because they believe it is an insult to display it in a low position.

The city's librarians consulted the Federation of Muslim Organisations and were advised that all religious texts should be kept on the top shelf to ensure equality.
Naturally, the library appears to have complied with this idiotic request because -- I am guessing here -- the Dewey decimal system (and similar systems), as useful as it might be, is nothing to get beheaded over. So this becomes yet one more emboldening example of successful faith-based whining.

Looking on the sunny side, suppose we run with this top-shelf-for-holy-texts idea. Granted, the physical layout of libraries will vary, but generally speaking, putting all the holy texts on top shelves will make it harder for shorter people to reach them, which is what I call a good start.

And because the holy books are filed according to some corner screamer's theology rather than the orderly system the library actually uses to organize the placement of books, the books are going to be harder to locate for everyone, apart from the broad clue to check the upper shelves. Excellent!

Better still, if you really want to run with this idea, you have to take top shelf quite literally. Technically, there can be only one true top shelf in any library -- possibly the highest shelf on the highest floor, or more to the point, the roof of the structure.

Yes! Remove all the holy texts from the library shelves, and stack them on the roof of the library. There, as close as possible to the god(s) they document, they can enjoy god's protection from the elements. And as the roofs to public buildings tend to be tightly restricted in most cases, only the most deeply-committed and/or suicidally-inclined book browsers will check for reading material there.

There's no obvious reason this logic shouldn't apply to book stores and private homes where holy books are shelved. If you are keeping a copy of any of the leading holy books in your book store or dwelling, put it on the roof lest god and his earthly spokesmodels take umbrage. God will protect the text(s) from the pigeon scat and the rain, and if he doesn't, well, god famously has his reasons.

(via Ophelia Benson)

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