BIBLE BANNING….Here’s the latest news from the Republican National Committee:

Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word “BANNED” across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word “ALLOWED.” The mailing tells West Virginians to “vote Republican to protect our families” and defeat the “liberal agenda.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Friday that he wasn’t aware of the mailing, but said it could be the work of the RNC. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we were mailing voters on the issue of same-sex marriage,” Gillespie said.

This is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the RNC, but I’ve actually got a serious question about this. I’m pretty sure my audience isn’t the right one to answer it, but here it is anyway.

I’ve heard this business about liberals trying to ban Bibles over and over but have never figured out where it comes from. I know, for example, where complaints about same-sex marriage or handgun bans come from, and I know that liberals have worked to keep prayer out of public schools and strengthen separation of church and state. But banning Bibles is a very specific complaint from conservative Christians and one that’s been around for a long time.

I know the charge isn’t true, and that’s not what I’m asking about. What I’m asking is what the origin of this complaint is. As with all persecution myths, this one must have its hazy beginnings somewhere, and I’m curious what it is. Does anyone know?

UPDATE: Emailer Marc S. suggests the source of the myth may be the infamous RS-2493, a 1974 petition to the FCC that Christian groups misinterpreted (maybe honestly, maybe not) as a proposed ban on Christian broadcasting. The FCC turned down the petition in 1975 but has nonetheless received over 30 million letters about it since then. Now that’s an urban legend!