Some Christians admit that there are stories in the Bible that are not appropriate for children. They do not, however, suggest ways to keep youth from reading these accounts of sexual violence and other atrocities.

I suggest that these passages be redacted just as Thomas Jefferson deleted parts of the New Testament. The result was the “Jefferson Bible” with the subtitle “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” ( Jefferson took his scissors and cut out what he believed were the offending passages.

Our founders were people of The Enlightenment, sometimes called the Age of Reason. In a letter to his nephew Peter Carr, Jefferson wrote that Carr should “shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God” (Aug. 10, 1787).