Bible back on bookshelves after Utah school district banned it for ‘vulgarity and violence’

The Holy Bible has been put back on elementary and middle school bookshelves following the Davis School District banning it in June due to “vulgarity and violence” after an anonymous complaint and a petition were filed by a parent.

(Video Credit: NBC News)

On Dec. 11, the Davis School District north of Salt Lake City, Utah, received a petition from an unidentified parent to have the Bible removed from schools for being what the parent considered a “sex-ridden” book.

In the petition, the parent appears to mock Utah Parents United, a conservative parents coalition that sought to remove inappropriately sexual books from school libraries.

“Utah Parents United left off one of the most sex-ridden books around: The Bible. You’ll no doubt find that the Bible has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition,” the petition charged.

“Get this PORN out of our schools,” the parent demanded with an eight-page listing of “offensive” Bible passages. “If the books that have been banned so far are any indication for way lesser offenses, this should be a slam dunk.”

(Video Credit: FOX 13 News Utah)

Bowing to intense pressure, educational leaders reversed the decision by a parent-led panel to ban it on grounds of “vulgarity or violence,” according to The Guardian.

The Davis School District voted unanimously to accept a recommendation by a subcommittee of three of its members to reinstate the book to middle and elementary school shelves.

“The appeal committee determined that the Bible has significant, serious value for minors which outweighs the violent or vulgar content it contains,” the district noted in a statement taking aim at those who recommended the ban.

“The committee-based process … allows for appeals to be considered when a committee’s decision seems to be at odds with community values. The process takes time and it isn’t perfect, but it is working,” the statement continued, attempting to conduct damage control after the embarrassing move in what is considered a very religious state.

It isn’t over quite yet as the district is still mulling a separate complaint seeking the removal of the Book of Mormon, the foundational text of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Last year, Utah passed a law that allows parents to request the removal of books containing “pornographic or indecent material.” Utah’s “Sensitive Materials in Schools” law “prohibits certain sensitive instructional materials” if they contain “explicit sexual arousal, stimulation, masturbation, intercourse, sodomy or fondling.”

The panel that originally removed the Bible stated that it did not violate the Utah statute known as the Bright Line law, but was age-inappropriate for all but high school libraries.

“Within days of the announcement of this determination, the district received several appeal requests and immediately began processing appeals,” the Davis School District statement defensively claimed.

“Some in the community have intimated that the initial committee’s decision, or the district’s policy/process, have been intentionally manipulated to undermine Utah’s sensitive materials law. This is wholly untrue. The district has always acted with intent to uphold the law and maintain school libraries free from harmful material,” it speciously added.

The district asserts that it has reviewed 60 books so far, with 37 removed from all school libraries due to Bright Line violations and 14 restricted at some grade levels “due to age appropriateness.”

Republicans slammed the school district for removing the Bible in the first place.

“You should be ashamed,” Rep. Brady Brammer (R-Utah) admonished, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

He questioned how the committee “didn’t find any serious literary value in the Bible?” If that’s the case, he added, “your system is broken. There is no way to get there without a broken system.”

He went on to claim that the appeal should be the “shortest appeal you’ve ever seen,” and the Bible should be placed back on library shelves immediately. Not doing so, Brammer suggested, is giving in to those who want “to destroy the moral basis of our society.”

“Frankly, this is embarrassing,” he pointed out. “It’s embarrassing for the state, and it’s embarrassing for the school district.”

“This is offensive,” Sen. Curt Bramble (R-Utah) railed as well.

Rep. Mark Strong (R-Utah) commented removing the Bible off shelves of elementary and middle schools in the district was “bogus” and a move toward “accepting the religion of atheism and hedonism.”

“There is no other book out there that has the same value as the Bible,” Strong remarked, citing the book’s use in the political foundations for America.

Strong noted that the Bible was the first book that many people learned to read from, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

“The Bible and some of these things are core to us,” he contended. “We must stand for these things. … The Bible does have some things that are questionable, but they’re implicit, not explicit. There’s no detail.”

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