The Brick Testament Banned from Sam’s Club

Brendan Smith is best known for his work on The Brick Testament — Bible stories told through carefully placed Lego pieces. Like the story of Lot getting raped by his two daughters.

The site is so popular that Smith just released his fourth book, The Brick Bible:

Despite all the success, one major retailer is banning the book from its shelves because it’s not happy with the content. Smith explained on the book’s Facebook page:

I have just been informed that Sam’s Club is pulling The Brick Bible from the shelves of all of their retail locations nationwide due to the complaints of a handful of people that it is vulgar and violent. This despite the book containing only straightforward illustrations of Bible stories using direct quotes from scripture.

The Brick Testament has won tens of thousands of fans across a wide spectrum of beliefs who appreciate it as a fun, engaging way to get a better knowledge of the Bible’s contents. I know that The Brick Bible book will not be right for everyone, but it saddens me to think that a ban at Sam’s Club will prevent thousands of people from coming across The Brick Bible and being allowed to make up their own minds about it.

All this happened after Smith agreed to eliminate certain scenes from the book:

[Smith] also addressed the fact that “it was reps from Walmart/Sam’s Club who had seen an advance version of the book and said they were very interested to place a large order of the book for their stores, but only if we were willing to remove or replace a dozen of the Old Testament illustrations — out of 1,400 total — that showed Lego people in sexual poses. So there are no illustrations of the Bible’s sex content in the book.”

Sam’s Club denies having that conversation with him.

They added that they were just responding to complaints from customers who said the book contained mature content and was *clearly* aimed at children.

Think about that for a second. Some parents were trying to buy a version of the Bible for their kids, but when they opened up The Brick Testament, they were shocked at how graphic and disturbing the scenes were. They don’t see the irony that it’s really the Bible that’s to blame for their reaction, not the Lego pieces. Hell, it’s not like the Lego characters were reenacting something that was never in the Holy Book in the first place…

So Sam’s Club doesn’t like the vulgarity and violence in The Brick Testament, but does anyone doubt they’re going to keep the actual Bible on their shelves?

How’s that for hypocrisy.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Piet Puk

    Head exploded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    I felt the same way after I watched The Prince of Egypt. You never realise how awful bible stories are in the bible because you are too busy being bored.

    Package it in a medium where you actually see what’s happening and you get horrified!

    • http://profiles.google.com/kelvins273 Kevin Smith

      True. And when the story’s told in plain English, you can also see the context behind it more clearly. For example, it’s easy to see that the story of Lot’s daughters was the ancient Israelites’ way of slandering two nearby peoples as the products of incest.

      • Tom

         There must be countless contemporary political and cultural references in the bible that nobody on the planet knows about any more.  Who knows how many stories have likely been totally misinterpreted for generations because nobody now remembers some esoteric bit of once-common knowledge like why you should never buy a camel on the second day of the week if you live next door to the temple.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

          a pretty common response to bible stories (when they are mde explicit) is “I didn’t think of that” not “I didn’t know that obscure piece of cultural context”

          So with Lot and his daughters (are these the daughter he offered to a mob to be raped?) you look at it and think “ewww” but in the bible you gloss over it, because it is dull and you were introduced to it uncritically.

          Watching The Prince of Egypt I realised it never occurred to me reading the bible that -in all the ways that matter- the Pharoh is Moses’ brother! The firstborn son is his nephew! How twisted is that!

  • Michael
  • http://dramatic-exaggeration.blogspot.com/ WhiteJM

    The 1-star reviews on Amazon are pretty damn funny.

  • Anonymous

    Meh, I’m not entirely persuaded by the “It’s the Bible’s fault it’s shocking, what are you complaining about?” argument.

    There are plenty of examples in literature of mature content being taken out to make it more accessible to kids. Greek mythology is jam-packed with extreme violence and a huge number of…er…imaginative ways to imagine all sorts of sex. That doesn’t make this in any way hypocritical.

    The key difference with the Bible is that it is expected to be a book exemplifying morality and goodness, when it pretty obviously isn’t. Still, even a book that truly does reflect good ethics could contain very mature themes inappropriate to a young child.

    No, I’m more amused how parents still don’t understand that animation/illustration/comic  does not mean it’s meant for children. I watched the South Park movie in the theatre in 1999. There were giant orange signs at the entrance warning parents that it contained mature content. 5 minutes after the movie started, a couple of groups with little kids scurried out of the place. Talking to employees afterwards I learned that this happened at every session. Some parents cannot get it in their heads that animated =/= kid friendly, and some seem to think that adult animated content is inappropriate by definition, since animation means it’s targetting children.

    • Tom

      Some other people just don’t read; not even giant orange signs right in front of them.

    • KnickNat

      This still happens. The latest was with “Paul”, the newest Simon Pegg movie. We kept having to tell parents that it was rated R. They all seemed confused and would just repeat “But isn’t that the one with the animated Alien?”

    • http://vexorian.myopenid.com/ Victor Soliz

      Guess what? The brick testament is not aimed at children.

      • Anonymous

        Err yes, I’m aware of that. That’s sort of the point of the entire last paragraph.

    • Wondering Woman

      I have seen portions of a full length cartoon which could have no purpose beyond a pedophile’s grooming of the innocent child to exploit them.
      The one’s who make trash like this available should be arrested for pornography, because that is what it is.  If adults want to watch porn
      that is their choice, but to use it to exploit children, should be  a hanging offense.

      As we have witnessed recently, pedophiles come from all areas, including priests, sports players, ministers, judges, doctors, teachers and lawyers, as well as on down into the homeless ones.  Altogether too often, when learning they have a pedophile on the payroll, most businesses do the same thing the Catholic Church did - cover it up by moving them to another area thus leaving  them free to violate more children.

      • Anonymous

        I’m struggling to understand the objective of your comment, other than to say that child abusers are very bad people, which obviously I agree with.

        In terms of where pedophiles come from, you missed the largest culprit: most child abusers come from within or very close to the home. Over 80% of child abuse involves a relative or someone very close to the child. Stranger danger does exist, but it has been massively overblown.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant.  Next step:  Ban the bible.

    • Saiansikian

      Only after The God Delusion, The Magic of Reality, The Blind Watchmaker and all other pro-atheist garbage gets banned.

      “They don’t see the irony that it’s really the Bible that’s to blame for their reaction, not the Lego pieces. Hell, it’s not like the Lego characters were reenacting something that was never in the Holy Book in the first place…”

      The difference is, is that The Bible does not contain illustrations of people getting it on and isn’t aimed at children.

      “But some parents teach it to their children.”

      Then blame them, there’s also atheist parents who teach atheism to their children and brainwash them with it.

      • Saiansikian1

        P.S

        I had a quick look at the Brick Testament once and it quotes everything out of context and centers mostly only on the wars of the Old Testament while misunderstanding the entire narrative and context of The Bible.

        Typical of the atheist really. All of their criticisms of The Bible and God’s actions have all been answered by Christian apologetics who even produce scripture verses to support their side unlike the atheist who cherry picks and quotes out of context.

        My favorite atheist quote out of context is Luke 19:27 which by itself makes it sound like Jesus is commanding his disciples to bring people before him to kill them. In truth, this verse is simply part of a parable Jesus is telling about a king. This parable is called The Parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27).

        Good day.

      • webster

        Um, you can’t “brainwash” someone to NOT believe in something that’s made up. It only works the other way around; you have to indoctrinate someone TO BELIEVE in something made up. I have a feeling *you* have never needed to be “brainwashed” into not believing in Thor, Zeus, etc. You just automatically don’t believe in them because they are obviously stories invented to help simple, ignorant people cope with fear of the unknown (like death). All gods are the same — you simply have to be indoctrinated into believing that one of them is actually real. That’s why kids who are raised Christian grow up to believe in a Christian god, and kids who are raised Muslim grow up to believe in Allah, and kids who are raised as Hindus grow up believe in Hindi gods, etc. On the other hand, people of high intelligence who have been indoctrinated into a wide variety of faiths are able to apply logic later in life and break through the indoctrination to realize that there are no deities.

  • Johannsone

    How many parents bought this for their kids not even thinking about it. I’ve read these comics of sorts for years. I find them “charming” and “endearing” a tale for all agers. 4 stars. and surprise Wal Mart and its subsidiaries banned something, except shitty labor practices in China.

    • pmrc

      they routinely ban “offensive” music, and probably other books, as well.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Another book you might be interested in:
    Illustrated Stories form the Bible
    by Paul Farrell

    I’ll bet you can’t find it at Sam’s Club.

  • Newavocation

    Religion isn’t about the bible or other stories.  When you mess with things like their bible, savior or other sacred things you are threatening their power and privilege.  

    • Anonymous

      Except nobody was messing with it. He was illustrating scenes straight from the bible’s text, and that’s what got people’s panties in wads.

      • Alantas

        He was messing with it, “it” being the sanitized notion of the Bible, the version they expect everyone to be familiar with, the version that glosses over what’s actually in it.

  • Mike

    Awkward. Very Awkward.

  • Mike

    I can see the hypocrisy you speak of. Like all of you I have noticed a lot of violent and sexual material in the Old Testament . .. even advocation of slavery. .. . . hmmm

  • bibliophile

    to be fair, the big boxes tend to stock new releases and remainders, so they probably don’t sell the traditional bible, either. Of course, they probably wouldn’t blink before stocking it if a popular new translation or special version came out.

    • David Barnes

      Been in a wal-mart recently?  Every single one I go to in the book section has 12 feet of shelf space just for the bible and things like Rick Warren books.

  • Punkylove04

    What bothers me is how the story’s in mythology, (Christian, Jewish, Greek, etc ) get dumbed down and kid proofed to the point that when these kids get to be adults their memory of these stories have been clean up so much, that proving to theist the truth of these stories becomes impossible

    • Alantas

      Well, that’s how religion… evolves.

      Unfortunately for them, the text doesn’t evolve with it. That disconnect leads to things like the Brick Testament story here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506560697 Michael Trussler

    Ezekiel 23:20 ?”She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse.”

  • David Barnes

    This really isn’t anything new for wal-mart.  Typically I refer to a quote from Nine Inch Nails (and amazing film score maker) Trent Reznor: “…
     issue I had with Wal-Mart years ago, which is a matter of consistency and hypocrisy. Wal-Mart went on a rampage years ago insisting all music they carry be censored of all profanity and ‘clean’ versions be made for them to carry.”  ”
     I can understand if you want the moral posturing of not having any ‘indecent’ material for sale–but you could literally turn around 180 degrees from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film ‘Scarface’ completely uncensored, or buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto where you can be rewarded for beating up prostitutes. How does that make sense?”

    • Anonymous

      Actually, Wal Mart is a huge reason why the American AO rating for video games is effectively a ban. They – and other big chains – simply refuse to carry such games. Which forced Rockstar to alter GTA:SA when the Hot Coffee incident happened. Though you could unlock that by hacking the game

      • David Barnes

        It’s not just wal-mart that makes it so that AO doesn’t exist in American video games.  Game Stop, Target, and Best Buy (not to mention anyone else you can imagine) won’t sell them either (just like any other form of pornography).  Plus I can buy any number of movies with massive amounts of sex and violence in them, same with video games (I still see plenty of copies of every other GTA game and the edited GTA:SA along with things like God of War) 24/7 at Wal-Mart.  The point is the faux morality policehood they put up to appease a certain consumer market in hypocritical.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          That’s why I love online shopping.

  • dauntless

    I’m not shocked by “Arkansas” banning a book that lampoons the bible. I am more shocked by the fact that the author self-censored to get his book on shelves. That seems like a major blow to his integrity and credibility.

  • Donna

    Is this available in Australia? My brother was a lego fanatic when he was younger. Every birthday and Christmas the relatives knew it would be a sure fire hit to just buy him some more lego. After a few years he had so much it wasn’t funny.

    Like me, he has grown to be an atheist.

    His birthday is soon and I have been trying to work out what to get him as he already has pretty much everything. But I doubt he has this, and he would just kill himself laughing.

  • Themanwiththegreenhat

    Victor Soliz appears to be one of those idiot types you were speaking of  I_Claudia…when one is incapable of comprehending a simple statement the best thing to do is throw a little ridicule around and hope no one picks up on the stupidity.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing like a little “religion” to bring atheist out of the woodworks.  They must get fired up to rebel against anything relating to the Bible.

  • Carpethungry

    The bible is very realistic about what people do and did. I would say making it visual makes it something beyond what needs to be seen to be understood. The thing about the bible is that is always shows the consequences of the behavior, something often ignored today. 

  • irishann

    Peoples actions in the old testament do not represent what kind of a God we have. You have to take it as there are a lot of screwed up people and it’s history and culture all mixed. Man kind has and always will have rules and traditions and diverse cultures past present and future.
    You start with the first question,” could there be God” big bang is theory as well as God, it is all faith.
    On another note. Just becauce people do not want there children to learn about the explicit, graphic, adult topics of the Bible while still a child, does not mean we are keeping them from making. Their ow decision. Do you take a child and show them cartoons with sex because it naturally accures in society?
    I think this article is very poorly manifested and ignorent.


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