Sometimes you need a wacky person to step up and show everyone just how stupid they’re being — by acting a little stupider than everyone else. In Florida, that man is often Chaz Stevens, an out-of-the-box activist who is very, very good at pointing out government hypocrisy in the Sunshine State.
His latest stunt? The 57-year-old Deerfield Beach resident is asking every superintendent across Florida to ban the Bible, before any kids get their hands on its graphic contents.
It’s all response to the latest push by the conservative right to ban books in schools around the country — books that are ostensibly too mature for kids, but in reality books that are really just frightening for people who are close-minded, sexist, racist, and homophobic.
Stevens shared the letter he sent with NPR, in which he asks school officials to "immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and any instructional material.”
"Additionally,” he adds glibly, “I also seek the banishment of any book that references the Bible."
He wants the Bible banned because much like the other books being banned across the country, it’s filled with inappropriate sex and violence. More specifically, Stevens points out that the book considered most holy by Christians includes murder, fornication, rape, bestiality, cannibalism, and infanticide, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
"Do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies," he asked NPR. "If you want to teach morality and ethics, do you really want to turn to a book that wants you to dash babies against rocks?"
His point should be a simple one: lots of good books have tough subjects within them. But it doesn’t mean that they should be barred from high schools. After all, the most revered book of the book banners has some extremely R-rated content.
In other words, the book banners who are at work right now have ulterior motives that go beyond protecting our kids from mature topics. If they didn’t, the Bible would be one of the first books out the door.
Stevens, who studied math in college, says his biblical book ban was inspired by Florida’s rejection of 41% of its proposed math textbooks earlier this month.
"I love the algebras," he told NPR. "And those Tally [Tallahassee] loons just banned a bunch of arithmetic books?"
This is far from the first time Stevens has gotten under the skin of local politicians. In 2013, he set up a Festivus pole (referencing the made-up Seinfeld holiday) in the Florida State Capital, protesting the nativity scene there. And in 2015, he told 11 Florida municipalities that they could continue to pray before city commission meetings — as long as they let him have a turn at the meetings praying to Satan. Some of the commissions decided to stop praying at public meetings altogether.
At this point, he hasn’t heard back from any of the school districts. But hopefully his very simple point got through a few thick skulls: books just shouldn’t be banned.