The Holy Bible has earned a spot on a top-10 list of books most often challenged by parents of students with access to libraries at U.S. public schools.
The Bible was among the nation’s list of books parents found most objectionable, placing sixth on the “top 10.” Also on the list was the raunchy romance novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and a book about transgender children titled “I Am Jazz.”
The Bible has been targeted nationwide, at times for the sex and violence it contains, but mostly for the legal issues it raises with regard to “separation of church and state,” an advocate for intellectual freedom told the Associated Press.
“You have people who feel that if a school library buys a copy of the Bible, it’s a violation of church and state,” says James LaRue, who directs the Office for Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association, which released its annual top 10 snapshot of “challenged” books on Monday, part of the association’s “State of Libraries Report” for 2016.
LaRue said the library association does not oppose having Bibles in public schools. Guidelines for the Office for Intellectual Freedom note that the Bible “does not violate the separation of church and state as long as the library does not endorse or promote the views included in the Bible.”
The ALA favors including a wide range of religious books, from the Quran to the Bhagavad Gita to the Book of Mormon. LaRue told AP the association does get some complaints about the Quran but not nearly as many as it does about the Bible.
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The Bible finished sixth on a list topped by John Green’s “Looking for Alaska,” which has been cited for “offensive language” and sexual content. The runner-up, challenged for obvious reasons, was E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
“I Am Jazz,” a transgender picture book by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, was No. 3, followed by another transgender story, Susan Kuklin’s “Beyond Magenta.” The list also includes Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home,” Craig Thompson’s “Habibi,” Jeanette Winter’s “Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan” and David Leviathan’s “Two Boys Kissing,” with one objection being that it “condones public displays of affection.”
“Many of the books deal with issues of diversity,” LaRue said. “And that often leads to challenges.”
But the fact that the Bible shared a spot on the list with the above books says a lot the state of America, says Christian author, radio host and pastor Carl Gallups.
“It should surprise no one that we are at this point in the life of our public school systems. There certainly will be worse yet to come,” Gallups told WND. “We have rejected the Word of God and we have lost our moral compass. We are being given over to a depraved mind.”
About 100 years ago, U.S. public schools began teaching children they came from apes, and it’s been all down hill from there, said Gallups, whose most recent book is “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”
“Then we told them that life in the womb is not sacred, and can be simply thrown away for convenience sake. Now we tell them that a marriage can be almost anything one desires it to be,” he added. “The foundational truths that gave this nation its opportunity for untold greatness – God is our creator, life in the womb is to be cherished and protected; and a marriage between a man and woman is the foundation of family, community, and future healthy generations – have all been dumped for abject depravity.”
Gallups said he expects the singling out of Christian books, authors and speakers for exclusion will only get worse because America is entering a post-Christian society. In such a society God is not necessarily taboo – only the Christian God.
The natural thing to follow would be the dumping of the Bible, the very place from where the country’s foundational principles emanated, Gallups said.
“If we insist on living without the words of God, certainly we cannot abide the presence of the Word of God,” he said.
The ALA bases its list on news reports and on accounts submitted from libraries and defines a challenge as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”
There were 275 such formal challenges made last year, down from 301 the year before. The ALA has long believed that for every challenge brought to its attention, four or five others are not reported. The association could not provide the number of books actually pulled in 2015.
Gallups lays the blame for the current anti-Christian state of U.S. schools largely with the last several generations of “weak pulpits,” which inevitably lead to “timid pews,” and the corruption of the halls of government, schools and subsequent generations of American minds.
“It is an old story, with historically tragic consequences,” he continued. “The story is recorded in the annuals of man’s history – and ironically – in the pages of the Bible itself. To further emphasize the irony, as we throw the Bibles out of our schools, we are actually living out the prophetic times that the now discarded Bible foretold.”