A Florida activist known for his tongue-in-cheek petitions to local government agencies has called on Florida school districts to ban the Bible.
In petitions sent to public school superintendents statewide, Chaz Stevens called on districts to “immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and all instructional materials,” Stevens wrote in the documents, which were shared with NPR. “Furthermore, I also call for the banning of any book referring to the Bible.”
His petitions cite a invoice signed last month by Governor Ron DeSantis, which allows parents to object to educational materials. This bill came about after some parents complained about the teaching of sexually explicit books in Florida schools.
Many of these books, like Gender Queer: A Memoir, deal with LGBTQ themes and coming-out stories. DeSantis celebrated the retirement of Gender Queer at a press conference after the signing of the law. It’s “a cartoon-style book with graphic images of children performing sex acts,” he said last month. “It’s wrong.”
The Liberals criticized the bill. After her stint, the state’s Democratic leader, Lauren Book, lamented Florida’s adherence to “places like Russia and China, modern examples of what happens when freedom of thought and freedom of expression are strictly limited at all levels of society, including at school”.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Child Mind Institute
So, with Florida being the latest culture wars hotspot, Stevens decided it was time to take up arms. His target: the Bible. “My objection to the Bible being in your public schools is based on the following seven points, offered for your scholarly consideration,” Stevens wrote.
Stevens then asked if the Bible was age-appropriate, pointing to its “occasional” references to murder, adultery, sexual immorality and fornication. “Do we really want to teach our young people about drunken orgies?
He also took issue with the many biblical references to rape, bestiality, cannibalism, and infanticide. “At the end of the day, if Jimmy and Susie are curious about the above, they can do what everyone else does – grab a room at Motel Six and catch the Gideons,” he wrote.
The 57-year-old from Deerfield Beach says his anger was stoked after Florida lawmakers decided this month to ban 54 math books that allegedly incorporated topics such as critical race theory. “I love algebra,” says Stevens, who studied applied math in college. “And those Tallys [Tallahassee] the loons just banned a bunch of arithmetic books? »
Stevens sent the petitions to point out the hypocrisy, he said. “If you want to teach morals and ethics, do you really want to turn to a book that wants you to hit babies against rocks?” he told NPR, pointing to Psalm 137:9.
Stevens, who has no children attending Florida public schools, says he hasn’t heard from school districts yet. But his group monitors when emailed petitions are opened. As of Monday night, the Pasco County School District had shared the email internally 35 times, he said — and Duval County has reached out to the state capitol for guidance.
“My activism in the past has been hugely successful,” Stevens said. “And, I imagine, will continue on a similar trajectory.”
Stevens said he was particularly interested in drawing attention to hypocrisy. “I don’t have the voices,” he said. “My job is just to turn hypocrisy against itself and let the bureaucrats eat each other for lunch.”
This isn’t the first time Stevens has made waves for his activism. In 2015, he asked 11 South Florida municipalities to drop the prayer that opens their city commission meetings or let him lead a prayer in the name of Satan.
After Stevens’ requests, some cities in Florida ended up dropping their prayer time altogether. “The Satanic gaze has withered them,” Stevens told the Sentinel of the sun.