Missouri school district removes two books because principles were contrary to the Bible

Posted on by

Image of a stack of books with a red line through themThe Republic Missouri school district voted 4-0 with 3 absent to remove two books from the high school curriculum and from the library. The books were removed after a single complaint that challenged the use of the books and lesson plans in Republic schools, arguing they teach principles contrary to the Bible. The decision forced the theistic beliefs on all the children who will now not be able to get the books from their school library or study them in class. Can you say hypocrisy?

The two books were “Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler and “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut.

Superintendent Vern Minor said the vote brings a conclusion to the complaint filed a year ago.

“We very clearly stayed out of discussion about moral issues. Our discussions from the get-go were age-appropriateness,” he said.

“The discussion we’ve been having was not are these good books or bad books … It is is this consistent with what we’ve said is appropriate for kids.”

Two books pulled from Republic school library shelves

Obviously they did decide based on moral issues because the reasons they gave for removing the books was for language, sex, and violence. The Ockler book was banned because it was “sensationalizing sexual promiscuity.”

But then the Superintendent said:

“I just don’t think it’s a good book. I don’t think it’s consistent with these standards and the kind of message that we want to send,” he said. “…If the book had ended on a different note, I might have thought differently.”

That is a moral decision. The school board adopted some standards but they don’t take the artistic value of the work into consideration at all. That is what happens when you mix church and state in these kind of situations – the art and context are left out. Besides there is worst things a child sees in other media. People like Superintendent Minor believe they are “protecting the children” when the children probably know more then the adults think they do.

Wesley Scroggins, with an assist from the school board, was allowed to force his beliefs on all the children of the district no matter how their parents felt about it. How arrogant of Scroggins to assume everyone has the exact same beliefs as he does.

It is big time hypocrisy in my book.

The better way to handle the issue is if a book is controversial, it should be noted and parents notified. Require the parents to sign-off on their child to read or study the book in question. Then those who have different beliefs can opt-out while letting the other children to read and study it.

*Update*

According to a UPI report only one of the four school board members actually read all three books under review.

That adds to the argument that the censorship was based on religious considerations.


Comments for this post are closed. If you still wish to send a note to the editor, visit our contact form

  • Divided Under God

    I don't see any mention of the bible here. Appropriateness and morality are different than religion. Sorry, but I can't agree with you on this one. I'm all about separation of church and state, just read my blog. I just don't see this one as a church-state issue. I think you're reaching.

    • http://www.secularleft.us cadfile

      The fact that they had one complaint based on something not in sync with the Bible and the school district supposedly had no previous standard and the one they finally decide on was missing any artistic context led me to make to the connection.

      Of course the school is going to say it wasn't about religion but the decisions they made was specifically religious. Fiction is NOT about teaching morals but to entertain and expose one to worlds unlike their own.

  • sbj1964

    If any book in any Library should be pulled out because of it's profanity, Violence , Vulgarism,Sexual content,Poor morals for children ,and absolute retardation it should be the BIBLE ! The bible should only be available to adults, ( Over 21 ) and sold in a brown paper wrapper in the backroom of bookstores .And those who buy it should be registered with the state ! Just like gun owners,they should have to prove they are not likely to kill with this book. The Bible has been used to kill more people with it's ridiculous Bullsh!t,than every hand gun ever made. On the brighter side for kids these days Libraries are mostly considered smelly book vaults across town. They have the InterNet both of these fine books are available for free downloads.Welcome to the 21 century Christian Zealots .

  • Jeremy

    Somehow those books were placed into the curriculum/library in the first place.

    I would imagine that all books in any curriculum are there because people value them as an educational opportunity for the classroom. There is no mention in the original article on why the board of education thinks that those books suddenly lack in merit. Sure, they say that the books aren't 'age-appropriate' but that is just their dissenting opinion. Why didn't they give the curriculum's out liners a chance to state their opinion on why the books should stay?

    I wonder what books will replace them in the curriculum? I sure hope they are of equal, or greater, educational value.

  • greyhound1405

    One step away from stoning dissobedient children for reading banned books (It's in the Bible so why not?).

    • sbj1964

      Love the sarcasm ! Keep it coming greyhound !