Calif. school district’s new book ban must include the bible, FFRF advises

A bible with a warning sticker on it

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the Chino Valley (Calif.) Unified School District to ban the bible after a local district resident registered an official complaint with the district under its newly enacted policy targeting “sexually obscene materials” in its schools.

A local district resident recently requested that the school system remove the bible from district libraries and classrooms after the new policy was announced. FFRF has written to the school district in support of that community member and requested that the district either remove the bible based on the criterion of “sexually obscene materials” it has established or do away with the policy altogether. The district cannot ban only some “sexually obscene” books while allowing others, such as the bible.

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 children is a 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)

These and many more unpalatable and sexually explicit stories are found in the various books of the bible. FFRF’s educational association has published a brochure, An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity In the Bible, which exposes nearly 150 bible verses displaying a “pornographic view of sex and women, lewdness, depravity and sexual violence often ordered or countenanced by the biblical deity.” It can be read for free on FFRF’s website.

Such passages make the bible a prime candidate for book-banning — the sort of activity that the Chino Valley Unified School District is engaging in.

“FFRF advocates, above all, for freedom of thought,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to Chino Valley USD Board of Education President Sonja Shaw. “We oppose the concept of banning books from school libraries. We believe that there is no true freedom of thought, conscience or even religion, unless our government and its public schools are free from religion and its control over thought.”

What’s important to note here is that those who propose book bans target gullible audiences with selective material. Much of the book-banning impetus is manufactured, with premade lists of books and quotes circulated by self-righteous grandstanders who are hostile to critical thinking.

That’s why the best solution 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, FFRF emphasizes.

However, so long as the district is choosing to remove books containing sexual content, the bible may not be given special treatment and must be removed, too.

FFRF stresses that removal of the bible would not constitute hostility toward religion. The district must hold religious texts to the same standards it holds all other library books.

In conclusion, FFRF reiterates that since the Chino Valley Unified School District has established a removal policy that clearly encompasses the sexually obscene materials contained in the bible, and a district resident has lodged a complaint, it must immediately remove the bible.

You can read FFRF’s full letter here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 5,000 members and two local chapters in California. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

If you are an FFRF member, sign into your account here and then update your email subscriptions here.

To become an FFRF member, click here. To learn more about FFRF, request information here.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Send this to a friend