FFRF to Oklahoma: Ban the bible for pornographic material

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, noting that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, is attempting to persuade the Oklahoma state superintendent of public education to ban the bible.

The request comes after a video published on May 1 shows Superintendent Ryan Walters calling for Oklahoma public schools to ban 190 books on the American Library Association’s Rainbow Book List, which is a curated list of books with LGBTQ-plus representation. Walters calls them “graphic pornography” harmful to students. Further comments from him suggest that public school students should instead be taught the Christian bible in their classes:
Oklahomans, we have a clear choice in front of us. When it comes to our schools, do we want the radical ideology in our classroom that pushes gender theory, that pushes graphic pornography in order to perform a social experiment on our kids? Or, do we want the U.S. Constitution? Do we want documents like the Federalist Papers and the Bible, so that our kids understand our history and how our government was put together — those core fundamental principles have made us the greatest country in the history of the world?

Titles on the Rainbow Book List include Forever Home: A Dog and a Boy Love Story by Henry Cole, a book about a boy who wants to prove that he is responsible enough to adopt a dog; Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour and Kaylani Juanita, a story about a girl who is learning to cope with missing her mother while she’s away on a trip; and Tiger Honor by Yoon Lee, a science fiction novel based on Korean mythology about a boy who wants to become a star ship captain.

“While none of the books listed above contain the type of graphic sexual content you and your department have said you wish to protect children from, the bible, which you have determined to be necessary reading for public school children of all ages, certainly does,” FFRF Equal Justice Works Fellow Kat Grant writes to Walters.

FFRF’s letter documents several bible verses displaying a pornographic view of sex and women, lewdness, depravity and 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 “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)

“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 true obscenity found in the bible must be judged differently.”

Gaylor also took issue with the superintendent’s “ignorant and untrue” claim that the bible is a U.S. foundational document. She observed that the U.S. Constitution makes no reference to a deity, much less the bible, and established a secular nation.

FFRF believes the best solution is to leave a diversity of viewpoints in school libraries, and trust students to explore complex topics themselves. As long as the Oklahoma Department of Education is interpreting the Oklahoma law as requiring it to remove any books containing sexual content, however, the bible may not be given special treatment and under Walters’ interpretation, he must equally call for its removal.

You can read FFRF’s full letter here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members across the country, including hundreds of members in Oklahoma. FFRF protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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