Duke Students Protest Assignment of Novel They Say Violates Their Christian Beliefs

Duke Students Protest Assignment of Novel They Say Violates Their Christian Beliefs

Some Duke University freshmen are protesting the assignment of Fun Home, a book with content they say violates their religious beliefs.

Fun Home is an award winning young adult graphic novel and memoir that tells the story of author Alison Blechdel.

The novel has also been adapted for the theatre and has won five Tony Awards, including the prestigious Tony Award for Best Musical, reports the New Civil Rights Movement.

Despite its popularity, some Duke students are taking a stand against being forced to read the novel as part of a summer reading assignment.

The novel tells Blechdel’s story of growing up, discovering she is a lesbian, and discovering that her father, who commits suicide, was gay; content which the students claim violates their Christian beliefs.

Duke Freshman Brian Grasso commented, “I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it.“ Grasso cited the novel’s “graphic visual depictions of sexuality” as one of the reasons why he felt morally compelled to take a stand. 

In an email to Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, Jeffrey Wubbenhorst stated, “The nature of Fun Home means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature.”

Although many students joined in protesting the assignment of Fun Home, some students supported reading the novel.

Freshman Marivi Howell-Arza stated, “Reading the book will allow you to open your mind to a new perspective and examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar.”

There has yet been no decision on whether the book will remain as a reading assignment for Duke students. 

Publication date: August 24, 2015