Lauren Moye, FISM News
One industrious atheist activist has used Florida’s new law, which allows the public to challenge books in public school classrooms and libraries, to petition the majority of school districts within the state to remove the Bible. The reason? The Bible contains “obscene” and “harmful” passages.
Last month Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1467 into law on March 28. The law allows the public to challenge books used as instructional material within the school system over potentially harmful material that violates Florida education standards. Although the law does not come into effect until July 1, schools have already received some petitions challenging books.
James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” known for its graphic erotic content, comes to mind as intended target of the law. It was also meant to give parents a chance to challenge some popular woke books, like “Gender Queer: A Memoir” for graphic images and inappropriate sexual content. In fact, DeSantis directly referred to “Gender Queer” as being wrong for education purposes at the bill’s signing ceremony for being “a cartoon-style book with graphic images of children performing sexual acts.”
However, Chaz Stevens, a resident of Deerfield Beach and an atheist activist known for similar stunts, hijacked the bill’s intended purpose by petitioning 62 different school superintendents within the state to “immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and any instructional material. Additionally, I also seek the banishment of any book that references the Bible.”
“If they’re gonna ban books, then the whole library should be in play. My hope — and it’s a longshot — is that they will apply their own standards to themselves and ban the Bible,” Stevens said to Miami New Times.
His petition shares seven reasons the Bible should be considered harmful. These reasons include age inappropriateness for topics like “adultery,” “fornication,” and “drunken orgies” as well as containing passages mentioning bestiality and rape. Stevens also maintains the Bible promotes Critical Race Theory.
Stevens’s letter, which can be viewed at the bottom of the Miami New Times’ article, is written with an acerbic tongue-in-cheek tone that mocks the Bible, conservative views, and the law itself. At one point, Stevens wrote, “In the end, if Jimmy and Susie are curious about any of the above, they can do what everyone does – get a room at the Motel Six and grab the Gideons.”
Targeting superintendents was an intentional move from Stevens, who told Yahoo News, “It’s harder for Tallahassee to shut me down if I get the message across to 62 superintendents.”
While Stevens’ petitions may have stirred up emotions and gained him additional media attention, the 62-year-old shows a troubling lack of reading comprehension. H.B.1467 specifically states, “Each district school board must establish a process by which the parent of a public school student or a resident of the county may contest the district school board’s adoption of a specific instructional material.”
Stevens is not a parent, nor is he a resident of 62 different counties.