During the March 15 Arkansas House debate on Senate Bill 81, filed by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro) to criminalize librarians, Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-Horatio) asked the question, “What happens when someone challenges a book that talks about God and Jesus? It gets challenged or banned because someone doesn’t agree with the content. I think many of us would lose our minds if that happened.”
Well, let’s help these Republicans lose their little minds and start challenging some books about God and Jesus. In fact, let’s start with the most popular book about God and Jesus, the Holy Bible.
First, you will need to locate your local library’s “reconsideration of materials” form. These can usually be found on the “policies” page of your local library’s website. For example, here are the links for the Central Arkansas Library System and the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library. As you will see, these forms ask for your personal information, the item against which you are lodging a complaint, and whether you have read the item in its entirety, to which you will, of course, answer yes. Then follows a question about which particular passages you happen to find objectionable. Here is some information you can cut and paste into your own forms demanding the reconsideration of the Bible:
Genesis 19: 31-36. Contains the story of two daughters making their father drunk and sleeping with him for the explicit purpose of becoming incestuously pregnant.
Genesis 38. A woman named Tamar sees her first husband killed by God, then her second husband also killed after he is caught masturbating, and then she seduces her father-in-law by dressing as a prostitute.
Deuteronomy 20: 16-18. The character of God orders his followers to commit genocide against a number of ethnic minorities, and not for the first (or last) time.
Deuteronomy 25: 11. A passage not only suggests that a common method of conflict resolution when two men are fighting was for the wife of one man to grab the testicles of her husband’s antagonist, but then also demands that, if she does so, her hand must be cut off. This is a commandment presented as statutory for the community of believers.
Judges 11. It narrates the story of a follower of God sacrificing his own daughter due to a religious oath. The passage presents the sacrifice of children in a positive light.
Judges 19: 22-29. Contains a scene of the gang rape of a “concubine” followed by her dismemberment and the distribution of her pieces throughout the country.
Ezekiel 23:19-21. This passage in a racist and pornographic fashion describes African men as possessing “members” like donkeys and ejaculating like stallions.
Song of Songs (a.k.a. Song of Solomon). The whole work constitutes an extended poem promoting lascivious desires and engaging in sexual innuendo.
Ezra 10. A character in authority demands that men in the city divorce their wives if those wives do not belong to their same ethnic group as the men. Contributes not only to the normalization of divorce and broken homes but also promotes a racist worldview.
Luke 9: 57-62. Encourages the idea that obedience to a religious guru entails the necessity of the believer separating himself from his family. Gives divine sanction to children disobeying and dishonoring their parents.
Now, that’s just a handy selection of objectionable passages from the Bible. After relaying those, the person lodging a challenge to any library collection will be asked whether the presence of the work in question violates the library’s collection development policies. The Jonesboro public library, for example, headlines their policy thusly: “The library aims to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected books and other materials to aid in the pursuit of education, information, research, and entertainment.”
So do the passages in question seem informative or entertaining? They might appeal to specifically perverted adults, but they should not be considered appropriate for children. In fact, many of the passages outlined above could easily be judged as being “harmful to minors,” as described in Sullivan’s SB81, given that many describe “nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse.” (This might be the reason there are so many Bibles in hotel rooms. They promote fornication.)
One might well imagine that Sullivan would approve pulling the Bible from the shelves of state libraries. After all, the belief in the Bible has long been central to the ideology of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, while Sullivan has nobly been promoting his vision of a color-blind society.
Vaught asked, “What happens when someone challenges a book that talks about God and Jesus?” Let’s find out.