With that in mind, local political stunt activist Chaz Stevens of Deerfield Beach has taken it upon himself to add another book to the lengthy list: the Bible. This week, in letters sent to superintendents in eight school districts in Florida — including Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) and Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) — Stevens, an avowed atheist, petitions the districts to ban the Christian Bible from classrooms and libraries, citing its inclusion of inappropriate topics.
"If they're gonna ban books, then the whole library should be in play. My hope — and it's a longshot — is that they will apply their own standards to themselves and ban the Bible," Stevens tells New Times.
Free-speech and literary-expression advocates have been sounding the alarm about what they see as a bureaucratic, authoritarian attack on education in Florida, particularly after recent news that the state rejected 54 math textbooks from the curriculum for allegedly containing prohibited topics such as "Critical Race Theory." When the state went so far as banning math books, Stevens says, he was inspired to use the same bureaucracy to strike back against the conservative wave with an operation he calls "Eff Off Jesus."
"I wish to file such an objection, requesting the Miami-Dade County Public School system immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and any instructional material," Stevens writes in his request addressed to MDCPS Superintendent Jose Dotres on April 19. "And, as is often the case with banned books, I ask your agency lay flame to that giant stack of fiction in a pyre worthy of a Viking sendoff."
Stevens cites age inappropriateness, social-emotional learning, mentions of bestiality and rape, and "wokeness" as reasons to ban the Bible. Each reason is accompanied by a corresponding Bible excerpt. (A copy of Stevens' letter is attached at the end of this article).
"With the constant
Though book-banning incidents have been recorded in seven Florida school districts, none has been documented in South Florida's school districts.
But at least one South Florida school district has received Stevens' letter.
"We acknowledge receipt of the subject letter. District staff will review it and respond accordingly," Elmo R. Lugo, a spokesperson for MDCPS, tells New Times via email.
BCPS Superintendent Vickie L. Cartwright's office could not immediately comment as to whether the agency received the request and how it intended to address it.
"They better not fucking ignore me," Stevens warns. "If they ignore me, doesn't that tell you something? The government can't pick and choose religion, but can they choose which books they review for banning and which ones they don't?"