After Florida governor Ron DeSantis, with help from a compliant GOP legislature, moved to ban 54 books because of claims they were too explicit about sex, too open about racism, and too willing to promote violence, 57-year-0ld tech wizard Chaz Stevens, in a petition to 63 school districts and the governor, said they forgot the dirtiest, most-sexually graphic and violent one of all — the King James Bible.
In his petition, Stevens notes:
As the Bible casually references … such topics as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and fornication — or as I like to think, Date Night Friday Night — do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?
Stevens has a habit of pointing out the blatant hypocrisies of political extremists like DeSantis and his efforts are considered both tongue-in-cheek and needed to point out the “flawless and constitutional concerns” of the growth of stupidity surrounding book banning and other stunts of the rabid right.
Erica Goldberg, a University of Dayton Law School professor who studies First Amendment rights, said Stevens’s petitions could showcase that the new law may cause school boards to engage in “viewpoint discrimination,” or removing information because of dislike of the ideas it contains, which is impermissible per the Supreme Court.
She noted that the Bible is replete with episodes of violence and sexual abuse, including the rape of Dinah in Genesis, which leads her brothers Levi and Simeon to kill every man in the city of Shechem to avenge her honor; the incestuous rape of King David’s daughter Tamar by her half brother Amnon; and the brutal dismemberment of a concubine in Judges. She said the Bible is at least as sexually explicit as some of the books parents are labeling inappropriate, raising the question: Why can the Bible stay in the library when those books have to go?
“This stunt is going to illuminate,” she added. “Many of our First Amendment rights get meted out by edge cases or by people looking to make statements.”
George Washington University law professor Catherine Ross says a Supreme Court ruling in 1982 placed strict limitations on school boards when it comes to removing books from school libraries.
The ruling boards “cannot remove books because they are controversial or disfavored from a political or religious stance, et cetera,” Ross says.
In the 1982 ruling, the Court said: “Local school boards may not remove books from school libraries simply because they dislike the ideas contained in the books.” Trying to do so is “viewpoint discrimination” and discrimination is considered illegal and banned by the American (and Virginia) constitutions.
“I could definitely see some litigation boiling out down the line if parents don’t think schools are dealing with these complaints fairly,” Goldberg told the Post. “The law is requiring schools to deal with these complaints by developing processes, and they’re going to have to crystallize in a fair-minded way what these processes will be.”
We should also note that liberals have also tried to ban books. They wanted Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” removed because of the use of the “N-word” and other language. Same for the Mark Twain’s tales of the racist times of Huck Finn.
Extremists, be they right or left, are dangerous.
In the past, Stevens filed papers that led to the arrest of two-fifth of the elected government, including the mayor, of Deerfield Beach, Florida, his home. They falsified records, violated state conflict of interest laws, and illegally accepted gifts from special interests and lobbyists.
“I’m sorry you’re stuck with me,” Stevens says, “but I don’t see anybody else rising to the challenge. It takes more than just Twitter commentary.”
“It not me, then who?”
I’ve read the Bible, from cover to cover, more than once in my life. I also own copies of the primary books of other religions, including the Koran, and have read and studied them. Most do not resort to the graphic text of sexual behavior, promotion of violence or condemnation of those with different beliefs that we find in the Bible of Christianity.
The misuse of Biblical text by extremists, especially the promotion of White Nationalism and racist outrage by the self-declared evangelicals, turned both my wife and me away from the bias of organized religion. We choose to believe in God, not any religion that claims it is superior to other beliefs.
Corrupt extremist zealots like Ron DeSantis make me doubt that I will ever return to Florida, the state where I was born. But if I do, I will venture down to Deerfield Beach and thank Chaz Stevens personally for his efforts.