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The Spotsylvania County School Board in Fredericksburg, Virginia has taken the insane step of demanding that all school library books with “sexually explicit” content be removed from the shelves… without any regard for the context.

As the Free Lance–Star points out, it’s possible this is just the beginning of the purge.

The criteria for pulling books from circulation this week is “sexually explicit,” but the board plans to refine how material is determined to be “objectionable” for a further review of library holdings.

The board voted 6–0 to order the removal.

As if on cue to make sure no one missed the obvious metaphor, two of the board members said the purged books ought to be burned:

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Two board members, Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail and Livingston representative Kirk Twigg, said they would like to see the removed books burned.

“I think we should throw those books in a fire,” Abuismail said, and Twigg said he wants to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”

Such a policy would remove classic novels from the curriculum. It would equate sexual abuse, rape, and stories of exploration and coming into one’s identity. Hell, even the Bible would be burned if these people have their way.

So why this extreme step? You know the answer. Some parent became aware of a book with gay characters and flipped out when she realized there was sex in the book:

The book, “33 Snowfish” by Adam Rapp, concerns three homeless teenagers attempting to escape from pasts that include sexual abuse, prostitution and drug addiction.

That parent was apparently more concerned about the existence of sex than the existence of three homeless teenagers. Typical conservative Christian mentality right there. That’s not even a joke; here’s one of the pro-book-burning school board members:

[Abuismail] said he doesn’t like the idea of Rapp’s book being on school division library shelves for one more night and that the fact that it is in a school library means public schools “would rather have our kids reading gay pornography than about Christ.”

I assure you kids who are interested in “gay pornography” aren’t learning about it via a young adult novel.

The irony is that the same people whining about “cancel culture” are the first ones in line demanding that books they don’t like be banned, burned, or both. It’s not enough that they don’t want to read the novels; they don’t want anyone else to either. This is what happens when your local school district is taken over by conservative extremists who are more interested in fighting culture war battles than helping students get the best possible education.

It’s the school board members, not the books, that need better vetting. Hard to blame them for their position, though; the more kids learn from books, the less likely they are to fall for right-wing propaganda. Education goes against everything those school board members stand for.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.