A Utah school district took the Bible off some bookshelves, officials said Friday, following a complaint from a parent upset by book bans who was hoping to expose the "bad faith process."
The Davis School District — the state's second biggest public system with nearly 74,000 pre-K-to-12th grade students — has largely removed the book from circulation, but kept it in high school libraries.
The parent, in a copy of the complaint obtained by NBC News that redacts their identity, said their effort to boot the Bible was in protest of a 2022 Utah law that made it easier to remove “pornographic or indecent” content from schools. The legislation was supported by conservative activist groups, including Utah Parents United.
"I thank the Utah Legislature and Utah Parents United for making this bad faith process so much easier and way more efficient," the parent said in the complaint. "Now we can all ban books and you don’t even need to read them or be accurate about it. Heck, you don’t even need to see the book!"
An eight-page typed list of examples of objectionable material from the Bible, quoting the exact scriptures, was included in the complaint.
"Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide," the parent wrote. "You’ll no doubt find that the Bible, under Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227, has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition."
A district review committee acted on the complaint and examined the King James version of the Bible, with an eye toward Utah codes covering public obscenity, pornography and other inappropriate material, officials said.
That committee decided to "retain the book in school library circulation only at the high school level based on age appropriateness due to vulgarity or violence," according to a statement to NBC News on Friday from Christopher Williams, a spokesman for the district based in Farmington.
The committee's decision has been appealed "by an individual who would like it retained at all levels" and the matter will be debated by a three-member committee of the district's Board of Education before the full panel finally decides, Williams added.
All of these moves, for now, are moot since district students are off for summer vacation until Aug. 17.
It's believed only seven or eight libraries in the district's elementary and junior high schools even had the Bible on their shelves and the book is not part of any school curriculum, Williams added.
The effort to ban, limit or restrict books at libraries and other public settings is on the rise, according to the American Library Association (ALA).
"ALA opposes censorship of any materials that meet the information needs of a community’s members, including students," Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in statement on Friday.
"Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive rather than exclusive in developing their collections, and should address all information concerns of all those who use the library, including their religious information needs. "
Forces seeking to limit access to books should take note of this Utah case to understand the corrosive nature of bans, Caldwell-Stone added.
"The use of Utah’s 'sensitive materials' law to remove this book and other books demonstrates how efforts to suppress and censor library materials narrows educational opportunities and harms students’ access to information," according to Caldwell-Stone.
"The curation of library collections for young people should not be left to politicians and advocacy groups who place politics above young peoples’ education needs."