In a recent House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education hearing, Representative Burgess Owens made a startling claim that the Bible has been banned in the United States since 1963. Here’s the full story.
A Controversial Claim
Owens cited the 1963 Supreme Court ruling in Abington School District v. Schempp, which declared school-sponsored Bible readings unconstitutional.
Holding the bible, he said, “Some say that we are here today to talk about so-called book burning in K–12 school libraries.
One of our nation’s most consequential books, banning was done by the Supreme Court in 1963 when it officially mandated the Bible reading. This book is banned from all of us.”
“Due to the banning of this book, generations of Americans today have no knowledge of the tenets upon which this country has been founded.
Tenets based on the belief that with God and time, we can truly become a more perfect union,” he added.
The hearing, titled “Protecting Kids: Combatting Graphic, Explicit Content in School Libraries,” delved into the contentious issue of removing what some deem “inappropriate” material from school libraries.
Republican members of the subcommittee argued that many of the challenged books are still readily available through various channels.
Representative Aaron Bean, the subcommittee’s chairman, sought to set the record straight, saying that local communities have the right to remove such materials.
Max Eden, a research fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, testified that American parents have been unfairly labeled as “book banners” by leftwing advocacy organizations and the media.
Lindsey Smith, chair of the Montgomery County, Maryland, chapter of the anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty, shared that this issue transcends political and sexual orientation boundaries.
She pointed to books like “Gender Queer,” expressing concern that even very young children may be exposed to content some find inappropriate.
Democratic committee member Suzanne Bonamici criticized House Republicans for introducing the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” which she characterized as a blueprint for book bans.
She said, “These censorship laws are being enacted by extreme MAGA politicians under the pretext of ‘parental rights,’ when in reality it’s a coordinated and apparently well-funded vocal minority of parents and conservative organizations pushing their personal agenda on others.”
Dr. Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America, offered a perspective that challenges the notion that removing books from library shelves does not constitute a ban.
What Banning Means
Friedman argued that if a student loses access to a book due to a content-related challenge, then for that student, the book has effectively been banned.
He said, “Whether that book has been locked in an administrator’s office, moved to an upper-grade library, or permanently removed from circulation, or whether that book eventually gets returned to the shelf after some indeterminate period of review—for the duration that student can no longer access that book, it is banned.”
Friedman also sheds light on what he sees as a larger campaign to disrupt public education, drawing attention to efforts targeting books featuring protagonists of color and LGBTQ identities, as well as those centered on African-American history.
Friedman concluded, “That is what is at stake in today’s movement to ban books.
Whether we can live in a diverse society that upholds our traditions of freedom and democracy for us all or whether we want to allow a vocal minority with a discriminatory intent to narrow our students’ educational horizons.”
“The People Who Are Banning Books Are Saying the Bible Was Banned?”
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Reddit user wrote, “The people who are banning books are saying the Bible was banned… while simultaneously attacking schools for educating kids on things other than the Bible.”
Another user added, “54% of Americans read at or below a 6th-grade level and the Bible is a hard read. They CAN’T read it, too many words they don’t understand. The spines on their bibles are as smooth as their brains.”
A third user added, “Some school libraries ban it because of the violence, sex, and other disturbing goings on in the bible. Burgess Owens is another MAGA with shady financial issues.
I’m surprised the folks from Utah would vote for this guy.”
The post Republican Raises Concerns About Bible Ban in U.S. During Hearing on Banned Books first appeared on Edge Media.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Viktor Hladchenko.
Sasha Salmaan is a highly regarded writer and political commentator, specializing in UK politics, international relations, and issues of freedom and liberty. With a keen analytical mind, Salimaan offers in-depth coverage and critical insights into the British and global political landscape.