His demand is being taken seriously.
There’s a strange bit of hypocrisy going down in the state of Florida. During the COVID pandemic, it was a place where some protested lockdowns and mask mandates under the umbrella of personal freedom. But now, some of the same lawmakers in the state are doing an about-face and pushing to ban certain books in its public schools.
Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allows parents to recommend certain instructional materials be banned from the schools. More than 200 books (mostly those that deal with race, sexuality or LGBTQ+ issues) have been banned in school districts across the state since the law took effect.
Chaz Stevens, a resident of Deerfield Beach, Florida, believes that parents and districts are overlooking one book that contains genocide, slavery, talk of LGBTQ issues, bestiality, misogyny, rape and child sacrifice. You may have heard of it. It's commonly referred to as "the Bible."
A Florida activist is asking state school districts to ban the Bible \u2014 saying it's not an age-appropriate book for kids and contains references to rape, bestiality and infanticide.https://n.pr/3ENOO2m— NPR (@NPR) 1650989014
Stevens sent petitions to public school superintendents across the state asking districts to "immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and any instructional material," Stevens wrote. "Additionally, I also seek the banishment of any book that references the Bible."
"My goal is to use the law as our expert politicians in Tallahassee intended," Stevens said. "There were no carve-outs for religious texts, so I would assume they meant for them to be in play.”
Billy Epting, assistant superintendent of Leon County Schools, is taking the suggestion seriously and reviewing the complaint.
“If I don’t, that creates a situation where I’m showing favoritism or injecting personal opinion in the process," he said. "The last thing I want to do is pretend or take something as a joke or satirical and it comes back to bite us.”
In Stevens’ letter, he gives numerous reasons why the Bible is inappropriate to have in Florida schools. One reason he claims is that the bible teaches “wokeness” which is a clear jab at the state’s recent ban on teaching Critical Race Theory.
“With the constant babbling concerns about teaching Critical Race Theory, should we not take stock of the Bible’s position on slavery? I am concerned our young white students will read such passages and wake up to civilization’s sordid past,” Stevens writes before referencing Paul’s pro-slavery Epistle to the Ephesians where he notes that servants should be “obedient to them that are your masters.”
Stevens also warns that the talk of bestiality in the Bible violates Florida law. “Taking a cue from Florida Statute Ch. 847.001 6(a,b,c), one should consider such discussions to be harmful to minors and obscene,” he writes.
BREAKING: My home county, Walton County, Florida has moved forward on banning 58 books from Walton County Public School Libraries. \n\nHere is the list:pic.twitter.com/IDjnq0XKNP— Daniel Uhlfelder (@Daniel Uhlfelder) 1650492010
He also cautions that some of the positive, humane messages in the Bible may teach children “to show empathy for their classmates” and that could lead them one step closer to “getting their LGBTQ+ freak on.”
The self-proclaimed “stunt activist” successfully got several cities in the state to drop the religious invocations that open their city commission meetings seven years ago. Stevens demanded they either stop the invocations or allow him, a self-described “minion of Satan" to lead a prayer to the Prince of Darkness before meetings.
To avoid having to give equal time to a “Satanist,” the cities stopped doing religious invocations, with some switching over to a moment of silence.
"My activism in the past has been wildly successful," Stevens said. "And, I imagine, will continue on a similar trajectory."
DeSantis' craven use of political power to give anyone with an ax to grind the right to silence the voices of people of color and diminish LGBTQ+ visibility is as regressive as it is short-sighted. Stevens’ campaign has brilliantly exposed the unintended consequences of DeSantis’ law. Once like-minded people begin to follow his lead, lawmakers will have to learn a lesson humanity learned decades ago: banning books is no way to create social change.
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