The guy’s got a point.
In what is seemingly a move to troll Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration’s latest effort to censor school children from non-existent “prohibited” material for no discernible reason, a Florida man and atheist activist recently asked some of the state’s largest school districts to ban the Bible from public schools, citing age inappropriate content.
The activist is Chaz Stevens; an atheist, self-proclaimed “stunt activist” and a seemingly tongue-in-cheek ordained minister in the states of California, Florida and “Jezero County, Mars.” In the past week, Stevens has reportedly sent letters requesting a Bible-ban to school officials in at least eight Florida school districts, including the large Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) and Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) systems, as the Miami New Times was first to report. Stevens argued in the letters that the Christian Bible includes topics that violate “age appropriateness” laws recently passed and signed by DeSantis, whose top state education officials have made quick work of acting upon, banning almost 200 different textbooks from Florida’s public K-12 curriculum.
Earlier this year, the Florida Republican-controlled legislature passed House Bill 1467, which DeSantis signed into law. The measure has been cast by Florida Republicans as an effort to give parents more say in their child’s public school curriculum. But in reality, it serves a pellucid bad faith purpose — giving cover to state Republicans who are clearly helping the national party pull anti-woke ammunition out of thin air via manufactured culture wars to distract from the fact that Republicans have no clear agenda. It also feeds into theories about the party’s broader faux outrage-stoking aim, legitimizing right-wing media propaganda through unnecessary state laws to rile up the most far-right members of the base and encourage voter turnout ahead of the Midterms.
After the bill was signed into law, Florida education officials announced the state would stop footing the bill for 50-plus textbooks, mostly math books, which they claim include language that indoctrinates children to left-leaning political ideologies. And this all comes on the heels of the passage of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms third grade and under.
DeSantis and Florida education officials have been tight-lipped about what language they found to be so alarming in the texts that they swiftly banned them, but, as I touched on last week, recent analysis from Popular Information reveals just how far the right-wing has gone to combat imaginative boogeymen in the public education system.
While atheist activists like Stevens have a history of pulling similar anti-religion stunts, the complaint he filed with several Florida public schools points to this broader disillusionment and seemingly aims to poke more holes in the non-serious nature of the Republican Party’s war on America’s public education system. In his letters, Stevens not only noted that there’s content in the Christian bible that is inappropriate for some school-aged children — like mentions of “drunken orgies,” as he put it — but also points out there are sections of Christian scripture that dig into topics like “bestiality and rape.”
Additionally, he sarcastically suggested that discussions of slavery in the Bible will expose children to aspects of “civilization’s sordid past” that right-wing politicians pushing Critical Race Theory bans claim they’re trying to prevent.
“With the constant
babbling concerns about teaching Critical Race Theory, should we not
take stock of the Bible’s position on slavery? I am concerned our young white students
will read such passages and wake up to civilization’s sordid past,” Stevens wrote in his complaint to Miami-Dade schools Superintendent Jose Dotres requesting that the school district “immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and any instructional
“Additionally, I also seek the banishment of any book that references the Bible. And, as is often the case with banned books, I ask your agency lay flame to that giant stack of fiction in a pyre worthy of a Viking sendoff,” he wrote.
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