The Bible, a sacred and highly regarded text by millions of believers worldwide, is currently facing a controversial ban from Utah public schools. Utah’s HB374 is just one of many bills signed into law nationwide within the last few years. Politicians and school boards rush to censor and remove books they deem objectionable or inappropriate from school libraries nationwide. The bill makes it illegal for teachers to “provide instructional materials that endorse, favor, or promote” such topics as “bestiality, incest, pedophilia or obscenity” in any public school in Utah.
One Utah parent is on a quest to remove the Holy Book from their child's school library, arguing that it contains too much pornographic content.
“One of the most sex-ridden books around” is how the parent described the Bible in their formal request to take it off the shelves. “Get this PORN out of our schools!”
The anonymous parent claims the Bible violates the state’s recently passed anti-obscenity law, HB374.
They flagged the specific inappropriate content examples: “Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide."
“You’ll no doubt find that the Bible, under Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227, has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition,” the complaint reads.
And the parent also brought receipts; they submitted a massive list of biblical passages – more than 130 – that they say meet the threshold to get the book banned from school.
Here are a few of the passages that made a list:
- Ezekiel 23:20 - For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
- Leviticus 15:18 - Also, when a woman lies with a man, and there is an emission of semen, they shall bathe in water and be unclean until evening.
- Genesis 19:33 – 33: They made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or arose.
Religious Leaders Response
This ban has drawn considerable criticism from religious scholars and organizations alike, who argue that it is an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of religion. The proposed bill itself states that it seeks to protect students from “inappropriate material” while also ensuring that teachers do not violate the First Amendment rights of their students by introducing them to material that could be construed as endorsing certain religious beliefs. However, critics are concerned that such a broad piece of legislation will have far-reaching implications for public education throughout the state.
Indeed, some fear that this ban could result in the Bible being effectively censored from Utah classrooms altogether—as portions of it depict violence, bestiality, and incest as acceptable behavior or even promotes these things outright. If this were to happen, it would be particularly damaging to those who consider themselves devout members of the Christian faith and rely on the Bible’s teachings and stories as part of their moral code and worldview.
Supporters of the bill maintain it does not target any religion but is meant only to protect students from exposure to inappropriate material in educational settings. They argue no one should be subjected to content that may cause emotional harm—mainly in an environment designed for learning and growth. While this sentiment is understandable, many still questions what makes up “inappropriate” material and how much leeway should be given when deciding what can be taught in public schools.
There are no clear answers regarding this issue. Still, with HB 302 gaining more attention each day, both sides must come together and discuss their differences. Through respectful dialogue, we can ensure our children receive an education free from ideological bias while protecting our constitutional right to worship freely without fear of discrimination or censorship.