Bible’s Rape, Incest Passages Read at Book Banning Senate Hearing

Passages from a number of books that could be considered “obscene” under an enhanced legal definition of the word were read during a Thursday Iowa Senate subcommittee hearing, including an excerpt from the Bible.

Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy for One Iowa Action, read the Old Testament story of Lot and his daughters during the hearing. The passage came from Genesis 19 in which Lot’s two daughters get him drunk on wine so they can sleep with him without his consent to keep their family lineage going.

“It contains rape, it contains incest, it contains many other difficult subjects, but I think the Bible belongs on school shelves because I don’t think that just because this story is in the Bible, the Bible is about rape, incest, or any of those other things,” Crow said.

“That’s why we have the task to take the work as a whole and examine it for literary, scientific, or other kinds of value.”

The hearing was over SF 2198, a bill introduced by Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman (R-Adel) who has led the charge on book-banning and finding ways to prosecute Iowa educators who don’t agree with his definition of obscenity.

Chapman’s wide-ranging bill covers everything from civil litigation to how long a teacher should be placed in jail for assigning certain books to stripping county attorneys of legal immunity for not acting on obscene material cases in a timely manner.

It also punishes teachers and administrators for assigning reading materials considered obscene, which is used interchangeably by Chapman with “hardcore pornography” in the bill.

Crow’s comments were to prove a point to lawmakers that the Bible, which they said can be found in school libraries, contains a number of items that could fit under Chapman’s definition of that.

“I don’t believe that there is pornography in our schools today and, therefore, I don’t believe that we need to crack down on the pornography that is not in our schools,” Crow said.

Chapman’s crusade against books began in the fall when some parents began showing up to school board meetings in the Des Moines suburbs to complain about books written by people of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community.

Chapman, and others who favored his bill, argued during the hearing that his bill isn’t about attacking teachers or devoicing marginalized communities. He said it was about parental rights. Opponents of the bill—including the Iowa Library Association and the Iowa Association of School Boards—noted parents can already be involved in education in a number of ways.

State Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig), who sat on the subcommittee, took on Crow’s biblical argument. He called it an “absolutely ludicrous connection.”

“The Bible, I believe, should actually be in schools if the school chooses to,” Schultz said. “It is a book for adults intended to be taught to their children by parents.”

An unrelated bill to create a public high school course on the Bible is being considered in the Iowa House.

State. Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), another member of the subcommittee and who previously made threats to have teachers arrested, spoke in favor of the bill. Zaun also said this is about fighting for parents’ rights to review material—something they can already do in Iowa.

He also said Chapman’s bill wasn’t about teachers, although the bill specifically mentions having teachers legally prosecuted and opens them up to civil litigation.

“This is about parents,” Zaun said while hitting his hands on the top of the table. “I think we learned a lesson in Virginia. Parents stood up and said they had enough.”

 

by Ty Rushing
2/10/22

3 Comments on "Bible’s Rape, Incest Passages Read at Book Banning Senate Hearing"

  • The parting anecdote regarding State Sen. Zaun reminds me of this old aphorism:

    If the law is on your side, pound the law. If the facts are on your side, pound the facts.
    If neither the law nor the facts are on your side, pound the table.

  • When people ask me where I’m from, I say “do you know where Minneapolis is”? When they say yes, I tell them i’m from a little south of there, too embarrassed to say Iowa, for fear they’ve read a paper.

  • And I thought Nebraska was bad! Apparently the GOP wants to send even more gifted teachers out of Iowa. It is hard enough to each our kids these days, now let’s make it even difficult.

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