Pittsburgh Freethought Community
Promoting Science, Reason and Humanist Values
in the greater Pittsburgh area.

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The Pittsburgh Freethought Community is a welcoming and caring community for those who share an evidence-based perspective and wish to promote science, reason, and humanist values in the greater Pittsburgh area. Is this you?

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Pittsburgh Freethought Community

Celebrates Our Freedom to Read and Write


Pittsburgh Freethought Community (PFC) is proud to celebrate Banned Book Week during September 18-24, 2022. Banned Books Week is the annual celebration of the freedom to read. A coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including the American Library Association, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, Lambda Literary, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, and the People For the American Way Foundation, sponsor this event. As the only organization in Southwestern Pennsylvania dedicated to freedom of thought, PFC endorses the event’s motto “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

A book challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon the objections of an individual or group.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from a curriculum, library, or bookstore because of their content, ideas, or themes, thereby restricting others’ right to read it.  A book ban is the successful removal of those materials. The commitment of librarians, educators, parents, students, and citizens like you prevents most challenges from succeeding and ensures that most materials are retained in the school curriculum, public library collection, and on bookstore shelves. Book banning is a form of censorship.

Anyone or any group can initiate a book challenge – parents, library patrons, political and religious groups, educators, elected officials, and students. The vast majority of challenges occur in school libraries, public libraries, and individual schools. Although books are the most frequently challenged material, films, graphic novels, textbooks, library programs and displays, music, artwork, and electronic databases also face challenges. The most frequently-stated reasons include alleged explicit sexual content, violence, or child abuse, LGBTQ content, profanity, religious or political viewpoints, race/ethnicity viewpoints, unsuitability for children, lack of literary merit, or allegedly contain “harmful,” “hurtful,” “hateful,” “hate speech,” or “problematic” themes. Both the Left and the Right, liberals and conservatives, are censorious.

The American Library Association (ALA) tracks the annual number of book challenges across the country. It compiles an annual list of the most frequently-challenged books. In 2021, The Top 10 titles were Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, and Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin. These books contain the themes mentioned above. However, ALA emphasizes that their annual Top 10 lists are only a snapshot of book challenges. Surveys indicate that 82-97% of book challenges – documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries – remain unreported and receive no media attention.

We are not alone!  According to surveys from ALA and other groups, at least two-thirds of eligible voters oppose censorship in libraries and schools. PFC encourages all of us to fight book challenges and bans. You can contact your local, state, and federal elected officials to oppose censorship in any form. No individual, group, or government has the right to determine what we are allowed to read, hear, and watch. You can get involved  here and here

Most importantly, READ BANNED BOOKS!  Game of Thrones author George RR Martin wrote “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” If someone wants to ban a book, it probably contains information that we need to read. So read it! The more familiar we are with challenged material, the more effectively we can fight challenges when they occur. 

PFC stands with all organizations fighting for our freedom to read, write, and think for ourselves. If you agree, join PFC here.

The information in this document was compiled from the following sources:







PFC hosted Dr. Patricia Demarco to speak about local environmental issues, environmental justice, and opportunities for sustainable economic development in SW Pennsylvania. 

Volunteers attended a training session with Planned Parenthood to learn how to help.

PFC joined the Coalition Against Hate in support of bipartisan crime legislation to "send a message that hate has no place in Pennsylvania".  

See more below:


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Pittsburgh Freethought Community
Promoting science, reason, and humanist values in the greater Pittsburgh area

If you are looking to become part of a community of fascinating people who share secular and critical-thinking worldview and values, if you want to meet some like-minded friends--people who think outside the box when it comes to life--we are your group.

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