A recent challenge to the presence of the Bible in Volusia County Schools in Florida under the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law has resulted in the temporary removal of the holy book from classrooms. The challenge was initiated by Christina Quinn, citing concerns over sexually explicit content within the Bible. Florida’s HB 1069, an extension of the “Don’t Say Gay” law, empowers parents to challenge books they find inappropriate, prompting their removal from school shelves pending a review.
Quinn’s challenge to the Bible was driven by a desire to underscore the principle of equity, stating, “It is basically saying, ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,’ so we can’t pick some [books] and not pick others when they both have similar material.” However, following a three-day review, the Bible was reinstated in school libraries, with the district determining that state law protected religious texts like the Bible from removal.
This incident is not the first time the Bible has faced challenges in various communities across the United States where parents and community members are allowed to challenge books in schools. Sexual passages in the Bible were among the cited concerns, including references to breasts, naked individuals, promiscuity, and other explicit content.
In a similar case in Utah, the Bible was removed from elementary and junior high schools after a parent challenged it under a state law requiring the removal of books containing “pornographic or indecent material.” The challenge described the Bible as containing explicit content related to incest, bestiality, and more.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) also weighed in on the issue, requesting that school districts ban the Bible based on criteria used to remove other books for “inappropriate sexual and violent content.” FFRF argued that religious texts should be held to the same standards as other library books and reviewed accordingly, emphasizing that removing the Bible for obscenity or graphic sexual content should not be considered religious discrimination.
These incidents highlight the ongoing debate over the presence of religious texts in public schools and the challenges they may face under laws designed to address content concerns.