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Activist Seeks Bible Ban From Florida Schools.

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[UPDATE]: Recently updated to reflect its status, this 18-month-old campaign is still a very much ongoing effort that needs your support.

Can you envision the Holy Bible being banned from all Florida public schools?

In March 2022, Stevens petitioned all 63 Florida public school districts "seek[ing] an immediate ban on all editions of the Bible accompanying this letter, along w/any instructional material containing citations from these texts." Stevens also sought to ban the Old Testament, Book of Mormon, and Talmud/Torah.

About a year and a half has passed, with little to show. Stevens’ local district, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), denied his Bible ban request, indicating the book was not located on the shelves. His request to ban online access was ignored, along with the other books. Hiring and onboarding an attorney made little difference. While our pathway had seemingly dried up, we remained undaunted and continued to press the issue.

And finally, during the summer of 2023, we caught a break, as this past July, high-ranking BCPS officials reached out to Stevens, seeking a meeting to review his complaints.

Said Stevens, “Those in charge are sharp as a tack. Bright as can be, focused on our kids, highly educated, sort of caught in the middle -- having to follow Gov. DeSantis’ insane law while putting aside their personal feelings about book bans. Operating from a tiny, underfunded, understaffed department. All things considered, they are the right team for this stuff.”

“The meeting was very productive,” noted Stevens. “Came away with an appreciation of their work, a better understanding of the process going forward. So instead of tossing spaghetti up against the wall, we’ll be directing arty in proper fashion.”

“A lot was mentioned about ‘equal equity of voice,’ a balancing act of sorts,” noted Stevens. “You’ll probably hear more about that going forward.”

“For those in the audience who’ve felt powerless watching Moms For Liberty steamroll those without a voice, cry when they learn Huck Finn got the boot, grimace to hear the nonsense about Spiegelman’s Maus, there might be some relief for us.”

Where Do We Go From Here

School Board officials, noting the upcoming release of a vastly-improved review process, asked Stevens to resubmit all of his book-ban requests under the new system.

“We’re getting another look at the Bible ban, a second bite at the apple if you will,” said Stevens. “Perhaps this time, I’ll have better luck than biblical Adam.”

“For each ‘complaint’ lodged, the equity of voice concept will allow for a counterargument, perhaps breathing life back into Maus. That’s a challenge I’d be up for, right up my alley, if you’ve learned one thing here about me, it’s that I’m beyond tenacious. And I need your help, particularly your financial support, as this effort is very costly and time-consuming,” says Stevens.

How We Got Here

His ’22 bible-banning petition cited a then-new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, allowing parents and residents to opt out of inappropriate educational materials. One such book is "Gender Queer: A Memoir," which deals with LGBTQ+ themes and coming-out stories, but some people believe it's too graphic for children still learning how their minds work as well as age-appropriate content about sex.

So, with Florida erupting in culture wars, Stevens decided to take up arms. His target: the Bible. Writes Stevens, "Do we want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?”

Concerned about the Bible's age-inappropriateness, Stevens highlights its "casual" references to murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and fornication. Stevens takes issue with Biblical references to rape, bestiality, cannibalism and infanticide, writing, "In the end, if Jimmy and Susie are curious about any of the above, they can do what everyone else does – get a room at the Motel Six, bring along some beer and smokes, and start perusing the Gideons."

He highlights the Bible’s glaring hypocrisy: "When teaching morality and ethics, what's the value of a book that wants you to dash babies against rocks,” pointing to Psalm 137:9.

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Protecting Democracy Thru Art

As CEO of ESADoggy and an internationally recognized political activist, Chaz Stevens is known far and wide for his spirited entrepreneurship and provocative projects. For decades, Chaz and his team have been producing art and events that highlight the importance of separating church and state, and the need for full and equal civil rights for all - regardless of who you are, who you love, or how you dress.

Stevens has been recently featured on the following podcasts:

A Message from Chaz Stevens

My team's efforts and those of my company can be a powerful lever of change, driving progressive social justice by advancing the strategies and tools that deal with issues such as protecting democracy, LGBQ matters, and racial inequality. Nonviolent methods of conflict resolution have been shown time and again as the most efficient way to achieve peace and justice. Like Ben & Jerry's, I mix corporate duty with social responsibility.

Without ESADoggy, none of my work would be possible. Doggos and kitties rescue us all in more ways than I can count.

My thanks for your support, together we can protect Democracy.

Contributions and donations are not tax deductible. They support the effective, citizen-based advocacy national efforts of Chaz Stevens and his colleagues.

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Chaz Stevens
Deerfield Beach, FL

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