The world's largest bookstore has one less book on its shelf following a nationwide protest launched by Charles Colson, a noted evangelical author and founder of Prison Fellowship. Amazon.com will no longer sell or stock the book Varieties of Man/Boy Love: Modern Western Contexts. Amazon.com's spokesman said the company was originally not aware of the book's content.
"When we physically examined the book, we were offended by the pictures on the cover," said spokesman Bill Curry. "It was so close to kiddie porn that we removed the book from our catalog."
Colson said he was pleased with the company's response. "I'm glad we blew the whistle on that," he told Baptist Press. "It's a good example of how Christians can make their case. We didn't make the case that what they were doing was a sin. We made the case that it was illegal and that's what did it."
Colson's campaign against Amazon.com began in October 1999 when he told listeners of his BreakPoint radio commentary that he was discontinuing his partnership with the online business. The partnership enabled visitors to BreakPoint's Internet site to purchase books that were recommended in the broadcasts. Colson said the partnership was broken because Amazon.com refused to stop selling books on the subject of pedophilia, which happens to be a crime in all 50 states. Colson's efforts brought national attention to the issue when radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger discussed the subject during a broadcast and expressed her outrage over a company that supported illegal behavior.
It was shortly after that November 1999 broadcast that Amazon.com stopped selling the questionable book. Although Amazon.com pulled Varieties of Man/Boy Love from its catalog, critics say the company continues to sell a number of other books deemed pornographic, including pedophilia fiction. Concerned Women for America launched a nationwide petition drive aimed at Attorney General Janet Reno and Jeff Bezos, the founder and chairman of Amazon.com. CWA accused Bezos, recently named Time magazine's man of the year, of encouraging the sexual molestation of children. Curry said that CWA's charges aren't true. "Just because we offer the products doesn't mean we endorse the products," he said. "These books aren't out there for everyone to see. You have to know what you are looking for to want these books."
A CWA spokesperson said their crusade against Amazon.com will continue until the company agrees to remove all child pornography from its site.
Copyright © 2000 Baptist Press. Used with permission.
See a response from Amazon's customer service to a member of the Christian Comics discussion group.
Copyright © 2000 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Read These Next
- TrendingDon’t Pretend the Ugandan Homosexuality Law Is ChristianNot everything that’s a sin is a crime—let alone one punishable by death.简体中文繁體中文
- From the MagazineWhen Politics Saved 25 Million LivesTwenty years ago, Republicans, Democrats, evangelicals, gay activists, and African leaders joined forces to combat AIDS. Will their legacy survive today’s partisanship?
- Editor's PickPCA’s 50th Anniversary Comes During a Season of GriefPresbyterians expect less fight and more fatigue as they gather following the Covenant shooting and the deaths of Harry Reeder and Tim Keller.