The concerted effort to ban books that offend Christian fascist sensibilities rages on across the United States.
While I suspect the 2023 numbers will be even higher, 2022 was The Year of Banned Books, according to the American Library Association, with 2,571 different titles challenged.
"Overwhelmingly, we're seeing [book] challenges come from organized censorship groups that target local library board meetings to demand removal of a long list of books they share on social media," Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, told ABC News.
Hey, as the old adage goes: Books, you can’t live with them, you must live without them. Especially if those books are in any way queer.
According to an ALA press release, ”Of [the] titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.”
Wait, and people of color? Wait, are Christian fascists racist, too? Why, yes. Yes, they are.
As Caldwell-Stone told ABC News, “Their aim is to suppress the voices of those traditionally excluded from our nation's conversations, such as people in the LGBTQIA+ community or people of color.”
You don’t say. Or rather, “You can’t say.”
The supposed aim of these book challengers is to protect children from what they deem pornographic material in our country’s libraries and schools.
So God bless the parent in Utah who is using the state’s Sensitive Materials in Schools act to challenge a book that they call “the most sex-ridden books around.” The book includes, as the parent details in their written challenge, “Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide.”
Oh, wow. That definitely sounds like a book inappropriate for children. Kind of shocking that a book like this would be available in any school libraries. Until you realize that the book in question is the Holy Bible.
Oh, and if you, like me, are thinking, “Wait, there are dildos in the Bible?” The answer is yes. I had to Google it (pray for my search history). It’s from Ezekiel 16:17: “You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.” I don’t know who the “you” or the “I” refers to in this gem, but the same people trying to ban books don’t believe in pronouns, so I guess it’s cool.
The parent’s challenge continues, “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. Get this PORN out of our schools! If the books that have been banned so far are any indication for way lesser offenses, this should be a slam dunk.”
I suspect that this is not the kind of challenge the authors of the bill expected to see. But, as the saying goes, “One man’s porn is another man’s Bible.”
“I thank the Utah legislature and Utah Parents United for making this bad faith process so much easier and way more efficient,” the parent continues. “Now we can all ban books and you don’t even need to read them or be accurate about it. Heck, you don’t even need to see the book! Ceding our children’s education, First Amendment rights, and library access to a white supremacist hate group like Utah Parents United seems like a wonderful idea for a school district literally under investigation for being racist.”
Oh, and about the school district being racist. In October of 2021, the Department of Justice settled with the Davis School District, requiring them to address their "racially hostile environment and discriminatory discipline” against Black and Asian students. Yikes!
Christians are, of course, very upset. Not about the racism, but about the Bible being challenged.
Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, sponsor of the Sensitive Materials in Schools Act, says that the challenge to the Bible makes him “very sad.”
“There are any number of studies that directly link sexualization and hyper-sexualization with sexual exploitation and abuse. Certainly, those are things we don’t want in schools,” Ivory told the Salt Lake Tribune. “For people to minimize that and to make a mockery of it is very sad.”
Ivory, who has no concept of irony, called the challenge to the Bible an antic to “drain school resources.”
There was no response in the story from a school district librarian, probably because they were too busy reviewing challenges to books that acknowledge that LGBTQ+ people and racism are real.