Elementary and middle schools in Utah’s Davis School District have removed the Bible from their premises, citing concerns over “vulgarity and violence” within the text. The decision comes after a parent complained that the King James Bible contains material unsuitable for children. This follows a 2022 law passed by Utah’s Republican government, banning “pornographic or indecent” books from schools. Most banned books so far have related to topics such as sexual orientation and identity. The removal of the Bible is part of a broader effort by conservatives in the US to ban teachings on controversial subjects like LGBT rights and racial identity. Book bans are also in place in states like Texas, Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina.
The decision by the Davis School District, located north of Salt Lake City, was made this week in response to a complaint filed in December 2022. Officials have already removed the few copies of the Bible from their shelves, noting that the text was never part of the students’ curriculum. The committee has not provided details on its reasoning or the specific passages deemed to contain “vulgarity or violence.”
The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reported that the parent who lodged the complaint claimed the King James Bible “has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition,” referring to the 2022 book-ban law. Utah state lawmaker Ken Ivory, who authored the 2022 law, initially dismissed the request to remove the Bible as a “mockery” but later changed his stance, describing it as a “challenging read” for younger children. He wrote on Facebook, “Traditionally, in America, the Bible is best taught, and best understood, in the home, and around the hearth, as a family.”
The district’s ruling determined that while the Bible’s content does not violate the 2022 law, it does include “vulgarity or violence not suitable for younger students.” The book will remain available in local high schools. Bob Johnson, a father of a primary school student in the Davis School District, expressed his opposition to the Bible’s removal in an interview with CBS News, stating, “I can’t think of what’s in the Bible that you would have to take out of it. It’s not like there are pictures in it.”
The Davis School District is not the first in the US to remove the Bible from its shelves following the introduction of conservative-backed book banning laws. Last year, a Texas school district removed the Bible from library shelves after receiving complaints from the public who oppose conservative efforts to ban certain books. Additionally, last month, students in Kansas requested the removal of the Bible from their school library.
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