Missouri School District Censors ‘Anti-Bible’ Books

A school board in Republic, Mo., has censored two books after a resident complained that they taught ideas contrary to the Bible.

By a vote of 4-0, the board banned Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer. The books were removed from the curriculum and library shelves. Resident Wesley Scroggins also sought the removal of another book, Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning Speak, but the board voted to keep it.

“I congratulate them for doing what’s right and removing the two books,” Scroggins told the Springfield News-Leader. “It’s unfortunate they chose to keep the other book.”

The board’s actions may be unconstitutional. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a plurality opinion, struck down a New York school district’s book censorship plan, finding that school board members cannot vote to remove a book simply because it goes against their religious beliefs or they do not like the ideas displayed in the tome.

In Board of Education v. Pico, Justice William Brennan wrote, “In brief, we hold that local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to ‘prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.’ Such purposes stand inescapably condemned by our precedents.”