Chaz Stevens, a 57-year-old tech wizard, noticed that Florida made it easier to challenge books used in schools and housed in school libraries. The law doesn’t take effect until July 1, but Stevens couldn’t wait that long. So he immediately launched a complaint about the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary and requested that they be banned.

As of Wednesday, he has filed near-identical petitions with 63 Florida school districts asking to ban the Bible. He has also filed a second petition with one district, Broward County Public Schools, requesting the removal of the Oxford English Dictionary.

His three-page petition critiques the Bible for its depictions of bestiality and cannibalism, its “eye-popping passages of babies being smashed against the rocks” in Psalms 137 and its “strong pro-slavery position,” citing Ephesians 6:5-7.

“As the Bible casually references … such topics as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and fornication — or as I like to think, Date Night Friday Night — do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?” the petition asks.

Stevens’s subsequent complaint against the dictionary calls it “a weighty tome over 1,000 years old, containing more than 600,000 words; all very troubling if we’re trying to keep our youth from learning about race, gender, sex, and such.”

The Washington Post checked with First Amendment scholars, and one said “that the Bible is replete with episodes of violence and sexual abuse, including the rape of Dinah in Genesis, which leads her brothers Levi and Simeon to kill every man in the city of Shechem to avenge her honor; the incestuous rape of King David’s daughter Tamar by her half brother Amnon; and the brutal dismemberment of a concubine in Judges. She said the Bible is at least as sexually explicit as some of the books parents are labeling inappropriate, raising the question: Why can the Bible stay in the library when those books have to go?

Two districts told Stevens that he is not a resident of their district, but he hopes to find residents in every district to file the same complaint.

A third official, Eydie Tricquet, the superintendent of the Jefferson County School District, wrote to say that her district is still under state control; Florida took over managing the district five years ago because of its failing grades, financial problems and staffing woes. But Jefferson is due to revert to local control this summer, and Tricquet promised in her email to Stevens that she will consider his request then, in accordance with school board policies and Florida law.

“At this time, I do not have a school or a library to place or remove a Bible,” Tricquet wrote.
Stevens, whose day job involves managing a website that connects people with mental health issues to supports including clinicians and therapy animals, said he knows many people see his efforts to ban the Bible as just the latest triviality in a long line of political pranks.

His colorful history includes campaigning to open city commission meetings with invocations to Satan, erecting a Festivus pole at the Florida Capitol to protest the Christmas Nativity scene and sending butt plugs to misbehaving public officials.
He pointed out that his antics once led to the arrests of two-fifths of Deerfield Beach city’s ruling body, including the mayor, over allegations they falsified records and violated state conflict of interest and gift disclosure laws.

“I’m sorry you’re stuck with me,” he said. “But I don’t see anybody else rising to the challenge, just a lot of …Twitter commentary.”

He added: “If not me, then who?”