Utah school district bans “sex-ridden” Bible for “vulgarity and violence”.
Suit: Mississippi law requiring protest permits infringes 1st Amendment rights.
Train crash in India kills nearly 300 people.
Utah school district bans “sex-ridden” Bible for “vulgarity and violence”
A school district in Utah has removed the Holy Bible from libraries in its elementary and middle schools after a parent complaint. In 2022, Utah’s Republican government passed a law making it possible to ban any book a parent deems “pornographic or indecent” from schools. The conservative group Parents United has lead the charged on book banning in the state. So far, most of the books banned in the state’s school districts have had to do with sexual orientation, gender identity, or race.
One parent, expressing frustration with Parents United’s push for censorship, submitted a formal complaint stating that “Utah Parents United left off one of the most sex-ridden books around: The Bible”. Referencing the wording of the state law, the parent wrote, “You’ll no doubt find that the Bible has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition”. The complaint explained that the Bible contains numerous instances of incest, prostitution and rape.
The complaint was submitted to a local committee of parents, teachers, and administrators which follows up these complaints by reviewing books for anything they consider inappropriate. The committee ultimately did decide that the Bible contained “vulgarity or violence” which was inappropriate for young children.
Another complain has already been submitted for the Book of Mormon, the scripture of Utah’s leading religion.
Suit: Mississippi law requiring protest permits infringes 1st Amendment rights
The state legislature has passed a raft of laws in recent months carving out special, state-controlled police and judiciary jurisdictions in the city of Jackson. Supporters of these laws claim the laws aim to reduce crime in Jackson while critics say it is a naked attempt by a white Republican state government to trample the autonomy and rights of Jackson’s majority Black and Democratic population.
Several groups are suing to challenge one of these laws. The law, which goes into effect July 1, requires anyone wanting to protest peacefully near a state building (or within the newly-created Capitol Police and special judicial district) in Jackson to obtain a permit from the Department of Public Safety (DPS), a state agency.
The defendants in the suit are the only two people who could issue these permits – DPS head Sean Tindell and Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey. The suit reads, “These two officials, both white men, will now have veto authority over protests”, including ongoing protests about their own newly-expanded authority.
Train crash in India kills nearly 300 people
On Friday, three trains in India were involved in a devastating crash that killed at least 288 people and injured over 800. Two passenger trains collided, then one derailed and hit a third train, a freight train parked on the tracks. For the last three days, over 1000 rescue workers have worked round the clock pulling survivors, the wounded and the dead from the massive tangle of debris and carnage.
The crash is still under investigation, but initial reports say that a signal error is to blame. Workers are using heavy equipment to clear tracks and hope to be done by tomorrow. In the meantime, the crash has created a snarl that has stopped train traffic for hundreds of miles around. The service interruption means families are having to make lengthy trips by road to claim the bodies of their loved ones.
India has one of the largest and oldest working train systems in the world. The oldest trains and rails date back to the British occupation of India, which ended in 1947. The trains are vital for the movement of goods and people, and especially poor people. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invested billions in updating the train system, with a focus on high-speed rail. The trains in the crash were all older trains.