The Davis County School District in Utah has recently caused controversy after deciding to remove the King James Bible from all elementary and middle school libraries. Despite still being available in high school libraries, this decision has sparked outrage with many feeling that it is a violation of religious freedom.
The removal was prompted by an anonymous complaint made in March of 2022 about the book supposedly containing “sensitive material” as defined by Utah law. A three-person committee was then appointed by the district to investigate the matter and after reviewing they found some snippets of vulgarity and violence which they deemed inappropriate for younger readers. Following this decision 33 additional books have since been taken off library shelves due to similar reasons.
This banning of the Bible has caused much dismay amongst those who saw it as a way to express their faith, especially when parents are no longer able to share its teachings with their children through school reading programs. Those in favour of the ban argue that there is more suitable material available for younger students, however they fail to acknowledge that literature can provide much more than just entertainment but also a sense of culture and history. Censoring a book due to certain controversial elements sends a message that these topics should not be discussed, when in fact being exposed to them can often help people understand difficult issues better.
Furthermore, challengers have already filed an appeal against the decision due to its potential infringement on freedom of religion and expression rights and while classes will not resume until August 17th, it will be interesting how the situation will play out in court or if another agreement will be reached beforehand.
While it is understandable why some passages may be deemed inappropriate for certain age groups, banning any book completely removes important opportunities for learning and personal growth which is why many view this move as restrictive rather than protective and overly cautious.
The King James Version of the Bible was deemed to violate a Utah law that prohibits books containing “pornographic or indecent material.”