The banning of books is, I think, the gut response of a group to a threat and is motivated by fear. The "group" (read: society, library, community, school district, what-have-you) feels that the content of the book is threatening to the group structure and thus that content must not be permitted to contaminate the group. It doesn't matter why the content is provocative. Provocative is "bad." And thus "forbidden."
What saddens me is that most book banning is directed by adults and impacts children.
Fear limits a society's growth. A society governed by fear cannot develop. Children not exposed to a wide variety of ideas, and who grow up controlled by adult fears, perpetuate the societal limits. Or they become extreme rebels because they do not fit the strict norms.
Books that break barriers about sexuality, drugs, beliefs, ideology - those books actually liberate society because they permit the individual to "see" him/herself reflected in heroic/mythic story structure. And a liberated society is one that will grow beyond bounds and - who knows? Create a world where there is no poverty? No exploitation? Reverse environmental damage? Without full and free thought, we are no better than animals - caged by our fears, by the threats to our social structure, doomed to live out our meagre existence with little sustenance to our souls.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?