On 30 May 2017 the web site Babylon Bee published an item reporting that California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would require all Christians to register Bibles as “assault weapons”:
“Really, this bill should be implemented nationwide,” proclaimed Freedom From Religion Co-President Dan Barker. “California is blazing the trail for civil rights once again, as the rest of the country lags behind. There is just no place for these dangerous Assault Bibles in a civilized society. This isn’t the Wild West anymore.”
Already known to have strict laws restricting the sale and possession of assault weapons, this will expand the definition of an assault weapon to include any Bible, book quoting significant portions of the Bible, and even the dreaded high capacity Study Bibles which combine the Scripture with commentary creating an even more devastating assault of truth. The official definition of an assault weapon will now be read as any weapon that has a “pistol grip that protrudes from the bottom of the stock, a detachable magazine, or a double column alignment of dangerous words that cut and pierce, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, bone and marrow.”
“These deadly study Bibles can spit out 30 or 40 verses per page—and then explain the historical-grammatical context, and exegete the text!” Governor Brown explained to reporters after signing the bill. “It’s 2017, for goodness’ sake. Can you believe that these religious wackos think they can just open carry Bibles in open public spaces where young children and freethinkers are present?”
The Babylon Bee is a self-described satire sight aimed at Christian readers. Its prominent footer declares:
The Babylon Bee is Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire.
That disclaimer didn’t stop a podcast from picking up the story and republishing it sans disclaimer on their web site.
Although the Babylon Bee’s satirical nature is no secret, this was not the first time that one of their stories was mistaken for real news. Claims that an imprisoned abortion provider Kermit Gosnell was a Democratic National Convention (DNC) speaker, that a church was using a baptismal waterslide, and that an evangelical pastor had apologized for using the name “Jesus” in a sermon confused some readers.