The Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding that the Menomonee Falls School Board in its home state of Wisconsin ban the bible after the school district’s recent book-banning spree.
The district recently banned 33 books on the basis of their “sexually explicit content” or “profanity.” Some of the books are classics such as Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The district reportedly has a new policy that rejects any materials with “sexually explicit language.”
FFRF is encouraging the school district to be consistent in the application of its policy.
“The bible contains sexually explicit content, and thus based on the district’s policy and practice of banning any materials with ‘sexually explicit language’ it must be removed from your schools,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line writes. “We write to request that the district immediately ban the bible based on its inappropriate sexually explicit content, or cease banning books and return the 33 currently banned books to school shelves.”
As FFRF’s letter to the school district documents, many bible verses display a lewd, depraved, pornographic view of sex and women, with sexual violence often ordered or countenanced by the biblical deity. These include sordid tales of victims forced to marry their rapists, graphic sexual depictions, and countless references to sperm, intercourse, menstruation, homosexuality, bestiality, adultery and “harlots and whores.” Among one of many descriptions inappropriate for the eyes of children is a bible story about a prostitute who “lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses,” who “longed for the lewdness of your youth, when . . . [her] bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.” (Ezekiel 23:20-21)
Such passages make the bible a prime candidate for book-banning — if one engages in that sort of activity.
“We want to make it clear that we are adamantly opposed to banning books,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “But the religious zealots can’t have it both ways. They can’t scour books looking for sexual references or content to offend them — regardless of literary or social value and context — then say that the obscenity found in the bible must be judged differently.”
FFRF advises that, so long as these 33 books are banned, the district must not judge the bible any differently, and it must purge all versions of the bible in order to truly keep obscene sexual content out of school libraries. However, the best solution, FFRF suggests, is to leave a diversity of viewpoints in school libraries, and trust students to explore complex topics themselves by not banning books from school libraries.
You can read FFRF’s full letter here.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country, including more than 1,700 members and its national headquarters in Wisconsin. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.