THE two members of Congress—serial liar George Santos (New York) and far-right secessionist Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), above—have co-sponsored a bill designed to prohibit publishers from “furnishing sexually explicit material” to public schools or educational agencies.
Bill HR 863 played right into the hands of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which warned the two “Comstockians”:
History has taught us that banning books is the wrong path. HR 863 is wrong in principle, as well as being unworkable and having unintended consequences, such as for a book that Christian nationalists like Greene hold dear in their hearts.
We strongly urge you to abandon this misguided bill and to instead focus on efforts that will actually help U.S. public school students,
In a letter to the Congress members, the FFRF suggested:
If you care about protecting children, you are looking at the wrong books. If schools comb through their libraries for sexually explicit content, the first book that would certainly need to be removed would be the Bible.
Attached to the letter is “a shocking but only partial list of sexually inappropriate and explicit biblical passages.”
Below is just one:
And then there’s this passage: ‘My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.’ (Song of Solomon 5:4)
FFRF pointed out that there are several major problems with this bill.
First, the definition of ‘sexually explicit material’ is notoriously difficult to state with clarity. Second, most of the material that has garnered recent media attention for being ‘sexually explicit’ is tame compared to some classic literature. Rather than objecting to sexual content, the real objection appears to be against books that discuss same-sex relationships or include transgender characters.
Furthermore, the Bible’s sexually explicit passages are far from the only objectionable material. There are lots of unsavory themes in the Bible.
As Richard Dawkins put it so memorably in The God Delusion: ‘The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.’
The FFRF then mentioned US Founder and patriot Thomas Paine. In The Age of Reason he observed:
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God.
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