FFRF to Cobb County, Ga.: Ban the bible, too

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is insisting that Cobb County School District in Georgia include the bible in its current book-banning campaign.

The district recently started banning books from its schools based on “highly inappropriate, sexually explicit” content, removing Flamer, by Mike Curato, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, from all of its schools — supposedly because of their sexual content. John Floresta, the district’s chief strategy and accountability officer, exclaimed: “Protecting our students from sexually explicit content isn’t controversial, it’s what our parents expect.” And he continued, “Our board and superintendent are clear — any book, video or lesson which contains sexually explicit content is entirely unacceptable and has no place in our schools.”

The bible certainly fits the bill, FFRF points out.

“The bible contains sexually explicit content, and thus based on the district’s ‘clear’ policy, it is ‘entirely unacceptable and has no place in [your] schools,’” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line writes to Cobb County School Board Chair Brad Wheeler. “The district cannot ban books because it disagrees with the viewpoint expressed while allowing other sexually explicit books to remain because it supports their viewpoint.”

As FFRF’s letter 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.”

FFRF has compiled a list of 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” titled An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible. FFRF Co-President Dan Barker has written an entire book on the evils of the bible, GOD: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction. Chapters document “divinely” ordered genocide, infanticide and filicide, among many other atrocities, as well as the biblical deity’s racism, sexism, slavemongering and sadomasochism. These verses are one reason why FFRF makes available bible warning stickers to place on hotel bibles stating, “Warning: Literal belief in this book may endanger your health and life.” 

And the bible historically  has been responsible for unjust wars, genocide, antisemitism, violent extremism, subjugation of women and pervasive racism. Throughout the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch hunts, chattel slavery, the Holocaust and the history of homophobia, the bible looms large.

“While FFRF abhors book banning, these school districts can’t engage in viewpoint discrimination,” points out FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Since the district has started this dangerous folly of banning books, it must evaluate books on a content-neutral basis. And if it does so, the district will see that the bible must be banned under its new policy.”

FFRF advocates, above all, for freedom of thought and opposes the concept of banning books from school libraries. The best solution is to leave a diversity of viewpoints in school libraries, and trust students to explore complex topics themselves. However, the bible may not be given special treatment.

“So long as you plan to ban other books, and the books you have already banned remain unavailable, you must be even-handed about your purge and immediately remove the bible as well,” FFRF’s letter concludes. “If you find that the vast amount of sexually explicit material in the bible does not warrant its removal from district schools, then this same lower standard must be applied to all books with similar content.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including over 600 members and a local chapter in Georgia. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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