A liberal activist who sells sex toys online is getting national attention for calling on Florida’s public schools to ban and even burn the Holy Bible over what he says are “obscene” and “harmful” passages.
Chaz Stevens of Deerfield Beach, Florida, wrote letters to superintendents in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and other school districts throughout the state asking them to “immediately remove the Bible from the classroom, library, and any instructional material” in their schools.
The campaign comes weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1467, allowing Florida residents to request the removal of books they find objectionable from school classrooms and libraries. Critics have alleged that the measure stifles the free speech rights of students and faculty on LGBT issues and other matters.
Citing HB 1467, Stevens’ letter calls not only for the removal of the Bible and the “banishment of any book that references” it but also calls on education officials to burn what Stevens described as “that giant stack of fiction in a pyre worthy of a Viking sendoff.”
Stevens presented Jose Dotres, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools, with his objections, including references to verses from the Old and New Testament. He sent a similar letter to Kenneth Savage, the interim superintendent of Lee County Public Schools, indicating that his effort to ban the Bible from public schools extends to the entire state.
In his letter to Dotres, Stevens misquotes Genesis 2:18 as “It is not good enough for man to be alone, therefore, encourage one another and build each other up!”
The verse written by Stevens actually (and incorrectly) combines Genesis 2:18 with a New Testament verse from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, to which Stevens comments: “The most troubling of issues for many, as it’s obvious once we teach little Jimmy and Susie to show empathy for their classmates, they’re one giant step closer to getting their LGBTQ+ freak on.”
Genesis 2:18 actually reads: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 reads, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, as indeed you are doing.”
Stevens’ letter also takes apparent umbrage with the words of Jesus in a warning of the depravity of the human heart in Matthew 15:19: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
Additionally, the letter cites the Apostle Paul’s inspired words in Romans 13:13 as a cause for concern: “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”
“As the Bible casually references such topics as adultery and fornication — or as I like to think, Date Night Friday Night — do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?” Stevens writes.
The context for Matthew 15:19 is when Jesus is teaching His disciples that it’s not food that defiles a man but rather what comes out of his mouth. Paul, meanwhile, was writing to the church in Rome — where sexual promiscuity was a cultural norm — when he described “orgies and drunkenness.”
Quoting God’s warning to the Israelites not to participate in bestiality in Leviticus 18:23, Stevens says, “one should consider such discussions to be harmful to minors and obscene.”
He also linked the Bible’s view of slavery — which calls on masters to treat their servants justly and for servants to obey them as they would obey Christ Himself — with critical race theory, saying he was “concerned our young white students will read such passages and wake up to civilization’s sordid past.”
A note on Stevens’ website says the Bible has been “used to justify slavery, homophobia, and wars for centuries” and “it’s long past time to ban this dangerous book from our public schools.”
He’s asking supporters for donations to his campaign of demanding “every single Florida school board banish the Bible.”
Stevens identifies himself in his letter to Dotres as an ordained minister for the “Church of Mars” in California and Florida.
In addition to his activism, Stevens also sells non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of sex toys featuring the names of DeSantis, former President Donald Trump and other political figures on his website.
Last December, he reportedly sent similar objects to DeSantis and other state and local officials who landed on his “naughty list.”
According to PEN, which characterizes itself as “a literary and free expression advocacy organization,” Florida had the third-highest number of books banned in schools with 204 across seven districts, coming behind only Pennsylvania and Texas. It’s also one of only five states with at least five districts banning books.
Stevens’ effort to ban the Bible from public schools in Florida follows the enactment of House Bill 1557, a bill that prevents school officials from discussing matters related to sexual orientation and gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade.
Derisively called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, critics of HB 1557 claimed that it censored the speech of students and faculty regarding LGBT issues.
Supporters of HB 1557 contend it is a necessary law to support the rights of parents who question the morality of teachers to young children about sexual matters.
“Parents’ rights have been increasingly under assault around the nation, but in Florida we stand up for the rights of parents and the fundamental role they play in the education of their children,” DeSantis said in a statement last month.
“Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old,” he added.