You don’t know what’s good for you. But Amazon does.
At least, that’s the latest message Amazon seems to be sending its customers with its decision to remove books with a certain viewpoint from its online shelves.
And what viewpoint might that be?
That there is hope for people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
For Amazon, this sort of message is no longer welcome on its platform. Included in this ban are books written by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Sr. – a psychologist who has helped many people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction – and books by people who have left homosexuality.
Apparently, Amazon doesn’t trust adults to determine what books they would like to purchase on their own.
And while I am tempted to buy more stuff when I get free two-day shipping, no one has ever forced me to put a book into my online shopping cart and then click “purchase.” Just because Amazon has something available on its site doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it. I’m an adult capable of making those decisions on my own.
It’s the same in this situation.
Whether Amazon likes it or not, there are people who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion. And they are looking for hope and help to change that – for a variety of reasons.
Just look at the clients that psychotherapist Dr. Dovid Schwartz serves.
Dr. Schwartz lives and works in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in New York City. People come to him for help on a variety of issues, including unwanted same-sex attraction. Often, the clients he sees share his faith, and they are looking for help to live lives consistent with those beliefs. They are looking for hope.
Dr. Schwartz meets with them, listens to them, and offers suggestions for how they might think differently about themselves, others, and relationships.
There’s nothing sinister about that.
Just as there is nothing sinister about these books that Amazon has removed from its site.
Still, some have decided that the idea that some individuals who desire change can turn away from homosexuality or diminish feelings of unwanted same-sex attraction is too dangerous for people even to hear.
New York City even passed a law to censor—and even punish with $10,000 fines—discussions that Dr. Schwartz has with patients who come to him asking for his help with same-sex attraction or gender confusion. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on his behalf.
Similarly, Amazon has decided it is now in charge of deciding what books are good for people and which aren’t. But this is curious. After all, you can still purchase Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on Amazon.
Amazon is a private company. But their decision points to a much larger problem: the idea that government or large companies can determine which viewpoints are welcome in the public square and which are not.
We are better off as a culture when there is more diversity and more discussion, not less.
We’re not all going to look at the same issue and come to the same conclusions. We're not all going to agree. And that’s ok. We’re a better and more tolerant society when we can make room for a variety of viewpoints, even viewpoints with which we disagree.
But apparently that’s not the way that Amazon sees it. It would rather decide what’s best for you.