It is surprising how few parents know what is going on in the public school system. Apathy is killing America, especially apathy on the part of God's people.
I have in my hand tonight a book, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. This book is a best-seller. John Steinbeck was the winner of the Nobel Prize. This book was at one time required reading at a school in this area. Now at the school where some of my children go, they made it required reading but backed out because there was so much complaint about it, of which complainants I was one! I will not read this language; I will let you guess what the words are. I want to read to you some statements from this book, required reading not in a college but for freshmen in high school. Will all you high school freshmen stand up, please? Now, this book was required reading in a high school -- at least one, maybe more -- for boys and girls this age. Thank you.
Here we go. On page 33 I read:
"Don't let him pull you in -- but -- if the b#### (son of a female dog) socks you -- let 'im have it."
"Listen to me, you crazy b###### (an illegitimate child)," he said fiercely. "Don't you even take a look at that b#### (a female dog)."
Now one reason I am preaching on this is that a lot of you parents are so lazy that you don't check on it. Tonight I am going to cram it down your throats. You are going to know what your children are reading.
Carlson said thoughtfully, "Well, looka here, Slim. I been thinkin'. That dog of Candy's is so g## d### old he can't hardly walk. Stinks llke h###, too."
Candy went on, "Either you guys got a slug of whiskey? I gotta gut ache."
That kind of stuff is not vulgar but it sure goes against my refinement. There is a word for gut which decent people use -- it is called stomach. And you people who think you are educated and refined, listen, when you use that, you are nothing but a heathen with a degree. Not only do you not know how to use decent language; you are not even cultured. Now that book is required in some high schools.
Page 48 again:
"Gotta bad gut ache," said Candy. "Them g## d### turnips give it to me."
Not only is it vulgar talk, but that is not even good English.
Don't get mad yet. We haven't begun. I see a lot of folks frowning already. You may have a stroke before we are through.
Whit stood up. "I guess maybe I'd like to see this," he said.
"Curley's just spoilin' or he wouldn't start for Slim. An' Curley's handy, g## d### handy."
George sighed. "You give me a good w#### house (place where prostitutes do their business) every time," he said. "A guy can go in an' get drunk and get ever'thing outa his system all at once."
Candy rubbed his cheek angrily. "You g## d### right we're gonna do it .... "
"Yeah?" said Crooks. "An' where's George now? In town in a w#### house."
"This here g## d### little son-of-a-##### (female dog) wasn't nothing to George."
"That big son-of-a-##### (female dog) done it."
"I'll kill the big son-of--a-####### (illegitimate child) myself. I'll shoot 'im in the guts."
Now you hear me, and you hear me well. If you would cram this filthy, rotten, stinking trash down the innocent minds of these little boys and girls who stood up awhile ago, you ought to be in the penitentiary. You ought to be in jail. And, by the way, there was a day in this country when you would have been!
Now this book is required reading. My boy was supposed to read this book, but there were so many complaints about it -- mostly by our people -- that they took this book out and put another one in. It had a lot of these vulgar words and they still DAMN the name of God all the way through it. And when I told the committee, "My boy is not going to read it," the committee said, "Now let's talk about it."
I said, "Talk about it all you want to, but my boy is not going to read it."
"Well," they said, "we will reach an agreement."
I said, "Yes, and I can tell you now what the agreement is going to be: my boy is not going to read the book."
They said, "Well, you find worse things than that on the restroom walls."
I said, "Yes, and when you make the restroom walls required reading, I will come back up here."
The simple truth is, there is too much good literature that has been taught through the years in America to let such trash as this be crammed down the minds of our tender freshmen boys and girls.
The book, Caine Mutiny, is not as bad as this one I have quoted but it condemns the name of God all the way through. I heard a teacher say that she thought Caine Mutiny ought to be read, that there was nothing wrong with freshmen children reading Caine Mutiny. You think this is bad; you ought to read Baldwin's book that some of our kids are having to read. It contains the most vulgar four-letter words you ever saw written on a sidewalk. But they said to me, "Now Rev. Hyles, Caine Mutiny is the language of a sailor. That is the way sailors talk." I know a lot of sailors who do not have to use dirty words to talk!
Now you had better check and see what your children are being required to read. There has been a deterioration in our school system in the last five years that you would not believe. And in the next five years when these demonstrators and long-haired beatniks get out of college and are teaching our children, it will double the deterioration we have seen in the last five years. And that is only the beginning.
One of our students in our church overheard two teachers talking recently in school. One said, "If we are going to get something real vulgar in next year, we had better get something a little less vulgar in this year. And if we can get a certain book in this year, next year we will wriggle in the real vulgar ones." And that is only the beginning.