Republican Oklahoma Sen. Rob Standridge introduced a bill that would allow people to sue teachers if they offer a view that opposes students’ religious beliefs.
The proposed law, called the “Students’ Religious Beliefs Protection Act,” means that parents can demand the removal of any book with content perceived to be anti-religious from school. Topics like LGBTQ issues, evolution, the big bang theory, and even birth control might be off the mark.
Teachers could be sued for a minimum of $10,000 “per incident, per individual” and fines would be paid “from personal resources” and not from school or individual or group funds. If the teacher is unable to pay, he will be fired, under the law.
The law will be presented to the education committee next week, but it does not specify which religious beliefs will be used to prosecute offending teachers.
Referring to the law as “necessary for the preservation of public peace,” if passed, the law will go into effect immediately, the bill says.
Just over a month ago, Senator Standridge introduced a bill to ban books containing references to identity, sex, and gender from public school libraries.
Banning books has become a trend among the far right lately. Texas State Rep. Matt Krause recently put more than 800 books on a watchlist, some of them dealing with topics like racial issues and LGBTQ issues.
A Tennessee school board recently banned Maus, Art Spiegelman’s graphic memoir of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust, due to what they perceived as blasphemy, in part because of an image of female nudity. They said the book’s themes were “too adult-oriented”. The author called the movement “Orwellian”.
“There is only one type of person who would vote for the ban Mauswhatever they’re called these days,” commented graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, who has Jewish heritage.