The King James Bible has been banned from primary schools in Utah, a US state with a Republican majority, for its “vulgarity and violence”. The decision was made by a school district near Salt Lake City after a parent argued that the book was inappropriate for children.
The parent cited a law passed by Utah in 2022 that prohibits “pornographic or indecent” books in schools. Most of the books that have been removed under this law deal with issues such as sexual orientation and identity.
The removal of the Bible is part of a wider trend of US conservatives trying to ban teachings on topics they consider controversial, such as LGBT rights and racial identity. Several other states have also banned books they find offensive in schools and libraries. Some liberal states have also done so, claiming some books are racially insensitive.
The school district said it had taken off its shelves seven or eight copies of the Bible, which was never taught to students as part of their curriculum. The district did not specify which parts of the Bible contained “vulgarity or violence”.
The parent who complained referred to the 2022 law and said that the King James Bible “has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition”, according to The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.
The Utah lawmaker who authored the 2022 law initially dismissed the request to remove the Bible as a “mockery”, but later changed his mind and said it was a “challenging read” for young children.
He wrote on Facebook that “Traditionally, in America, the Bible is best taught, and best understood, in the home, and around the hearth, as a family”.
The district ruled that while the Bible did not violate the 2022 law, it did have “vulgarity or violence not suitable for younger students”. The book will still be available in high schools.
A father of a primary school student in the district told CBS News that he was against taking away the Bible.
He said: “I can’t think of what’s in the Bible that you would have to take out of it. Its not like there’s pictures in it.”
This is not the first time that the Bible has been removed from US schools.
A Texas school district last year took off the Bible from its libraries after some people objected to conservatives’ efforts to ban some books.
Last month, students in Kansas asked for the Bible to be taken off their school library.