Almost three months after an unnamed parent from Utah submitted a book challenge to a school district last March requesting to remove the Bible from bookshelves in schools using a state law that prohibits “pornographic or indecent” materials in schools, the district responded by banning the religious book in elementary and middle school libraries.
A Utah school district has banned the Bible in elementary and middle schools after a parent frustrated by efforts to ban materials from schools argued that some Bible verses were too vulgar or violent for younger children. https://t.co/oZ7uwbZihC
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) June 5, 2023
Last week, the Davis School District officially announced its decision to remove the Bible from libraries in elementary and middle schools for containing "vulgarity or violence." The committee that reviewed the Bible book challenge determined that while it doesn’t totally meet the requirements to violate the state law, the material should be limited only to high school-aged students and agreed that it was not suitable for younger grades.
Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, Christopher Williams, the spokesperson for the Davis School District, stated that Bibles would be removed from seven or eight school libraries effective immediately. The Tribune also said another parent appealed the decision, prompting the Davis School District to form another committee reviewing this appeal, which will consist of the three members of its Board of Education and will send a recommendation for the board to put to a vote.
This is great to hear, the Right is going to explode over this, lol
— Denver Guy (@Guy_in_Denver) June 3, 2023
After initially calling the book challenge a “mockery” of the state law he sponsored, Republican state representative Ken Ivory released a statement reversing his position on the ban on June 1st. In his statement, Ivory wrote that the Bible is a "challenging read" for children and that the religious book is "best taught, and best understood, in the home, and around the hearth, as a family."
Congratulations MAGA, this would have never happened without you!
— Mild Rhetoric (@habitatcontrol) June 3, 2023
But the Bible isn’t the only religious book safe from Utah’s broad state law that bans “pornographic or indecent” materials in schools, which saw books written by black and LGBTQIA+ authors removed from school shelves. The Davis School District received a new complaint, this time asking them to review the Book of Mormon, a foundational text for the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
Utah school district that banned Bible considers removing Book of Mormon https://t.co/Y6PA2fbA4L
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 3, 2023
The Davis School District accepted the new book challenge and stated they would review the Book of Mormon for “all elements of the definitions of pornographic or indecent materials,” as defined by Utah law. In the new book challenge, the complainant referenced violence such as beheadings, battles, and kidnappings as reasons to ban the book.
Last 2022, Utah passed House Bill 374 in response to the actions made by Utah Parents United, a conservative group claiming to advocate for parental rights. The bill made it mandatory for public K-12 schools to remove materials deemed “indecent” or “pornographic.” However, these terms were defined loosely and vaguely, which saw age-appropriate books discussing themes like sexuality, race, and gender being targeted by the law.
Try that with the Koran and see what happens
— Shadowrune (@Shad0wrune) June 3, 2023
In March 2023, a parent filed a book challenge to the Davis School District, asking them to remove the Bible from their school shelves. In their complaint, the parent said the book contained “incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide” as reasons to ban the book using House Bill 374.
“Get this PORN out of our schools... If the books that have been banned so far are any indication for way lesser offenses, [the Bible] should be a slam dunk,” the parent also added.