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Utah Parent Challenges Bible As 'Pornographic' Under State's New Book Ban Law

Utah's Republican leaders passed a bill in 2022 allowing the removal of 'pornographic or indecent' material from school libraries and classrooms.

Different Bibles on a bookshelf
Lincoln Rogers/Getty Images

A Utah parent has submitted a request to the Davis County School District to review the Bible for any inappropriate content, citing concerns over its "pornographic" nature.

The request comes amid outcry from conservative parents' groups pushing to have titles removed from Utah schools that contain "pornographic or indecent" content, in accordance with a law passed by the Utah legislature in 2022.

The parent's request cites various topics contained within the religious text that would typically run afoul of the GOP law, including incest, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide. They argue that the Bible, according to Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227, has "no serious values for minors" because of this content.

The district spokesperson, Christopher Williams, stated that the challenge has been given to a committee to review, but due to a backlog as more parents have been questioning books, the process typically takes 60 days. According to a copy of the request obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune, the parent submitted their challenge on December 11, 2022.

The parent's request specifically targets Davis High School and demands the removal of the book from shelves.

They point to the actions of Utah Parents United, a right-leaning group that has been leading the efforts to challenge books deemed inappropriate. However, opponents have argued that this effort steps on First Amendment rights and limits students' access to diverse viewpoints.

Many applauded the parent's move.

Utah Republican state Representative Ken Ivory, who sponsored the bill to remove pornographic books from school libraries, called the request to pull the Bible "antics that drain school resources."

Ivory argued that the purpose of the bill was not to ban books but to limit access to age-inappropriate materials for children in schools. He added that parents could still purchase banned books on Amazon or at a bookstore or even check them out at a public library.

In response to the request, Utah Parents United stated that they "believe in following the law" and that they are not challenging books based on race or LGBTQ+ relationships. However, they have repeatedly targeted the same titles in school districts across the state, including The Bluest Eye by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison and Gender Queer, a graphic novel about the author's journey of self-identity.

The Bible is undoubtedly one of the most widely read books in the world, and its inclusion in school libraries is a long-standing tradition. While the parent's concerns about its content are valid, it remains to be seen whether the committee will agree with the request to remove it from the shelves of Davis High School.