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After Utah lawmakers allowed book banning, one parent went after the Bible
The parent submitted a detailed request to get the holy book banned due to its inappropriate content
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Republicans in several states have moved to ban books that they deem inappropriate for children because they cover racism, sex, and LGBTQ relationships in ways that make conservative parents very uncomfortable. The books themselves aren’t graphic, much less pornographic, but the fear-mongering has been effective, especially in red states like Texas and Florida.
Utah is no different. Last year, lawmakers passed a bill paving the way for the banning of school books that contain “pornographic or indecent” content. Those words, however, are not defined, allowing right-wing groups to declare just about anything they don’t like as unfit for kids.
But at least one parent decided to kick conservatives where it hurts: in their favorite holy book.
According to reporter Courtney Tanner of the Salt Lake Tribune, a parent submitted a formal request last December to get the Bible banned from Davis High School in Kaysville. The newspaper received a copy of it via a public records request. While the submitter’s name is redacted, the content of the request is glorious.
“Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide,” the parent wrote in their request, listing topics they found concerning in the religious text. “You’ll no doubt find that the Bible, under Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227, has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition.”
“Get this PORN out of our schools,” the parent wrote. “If the books that have been banned so far are any indication for way lesser offenses, this should be a slam dunk.”
The parent in question didn’t just say all this. Included in the demand was an 8-page list of specific verses that justified the request. Here’s just the beginning:
The parent also included this bit of sarcasm when introducing the list:
“I thank the Utah Legislature and Utah Parents United for making this bad faith process so much easier and way more efficient. Now we can all ban books and you don’t even need to read them or be accurate about it. Heck, you don’t even need to see the book!”
Was it trolling? Sure. But the request is superficially no different from the ones conservative parents are making, and the school district says it will review the request just as it does all the others they’ve received. (It’s taking a while because there’s a backlog.)
It’s similar to a request that activist Chaz Stevens made last year in Florida. At the time, he said the Bible was not age appropriate because it “casually references such topics as adultery and fornication,” includes scenes of bestiality and rape, and promotes “wokeness.” That last one was tongue-in-cheek; Stevens cited Ephesians 6:5-7 (“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear…”), which he said could remind “young white students” about “civilization’s sordid past.”
The point of all this is obvious: Just because a book mentions sex (or any other potentially controversial topic) doesn’t mean it deserves to be banned from school shelves. Children should have the option of reading what they want—and easy access to books that other people (including adults!) may not want them to read. If conservatives are targeting young adult novels that talk about same-sex attraction, just to name one example, then there’s no reason everyone else shouldn’t target holy books which are far more offensive.
That includes the Book of Mormon.
If the passages in those religious books were written as a young adult novel, you can bet Republicans would want to ban those, too.
To be clear, the purpose of calling for a ban on the Bible isn’t to actually ban the Bible. It’s to highlight the absurdity of banning books, period. The solution isn’t to toss the Bible out of school for children who may want to read it; it’s to make sure public school students have access to all kinds of literature.
Including popular works of fiction.
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