The Bible may wind up banned in Utah schools for ‘vulgarity or violence,’ as parents push back against draconian laws meant to censor LGBT and anti-racist content.
In 2022, Utah passed a law banning any book containing “pornographic or indecent” content from being included in school libraries or classroom collections. The law included requirements that any individual could ‘challenge’ a book as being inappropriate, forcing a review by a politically-appointed panel. Books found to violate the new law would then be required to be removed from every school and classroom in the state.
On December 11, a parent submitted a challenge against the Bible, which is present in nearly every school in Utah, either as a reference or religious resource. The challenge, which was submitted at Davis High School in Salt Lake City, included eight pages of cited passages they found to be offensive and in need of review.
“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, all of which are in fact mentioned. “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.” The new definition specifically disallows taking ‘offensive’ passages in context of the whole work.
“I thank the Utah Legislature and Utah Parents United for making this bad faith process so much easier and way more efficient,” wrote the anonymous parent. “Now we can all ban books and you don’t even need to read them or be accurate about it.”
Utah Parents United, which backed the bill as it became law, is a conservative activist group that goes from school district to school district writing in challenges against LGBT books for children and books calling out racism. They claim they’re only protecting children, but they plainly only mean protecting white, straight, Christian children. Its time for this bad-faith law to bite back.