More than 50,000 gamers from around the world have signed a change.org petition seeking to ban the Bible after the Australian arm of retail giants Target and Kmart pulled Rockstar's "Grand Theft Auto V" from their shelves earlier this month when when customers complained about the "sickening" level of violence against women in the game.
The petition parodies another change.org petition launched by three survivors of sexual violence who call on Target to remove the violent game from store shelves.
The gamers petition that seeks to ban the Bible claims: "It's a book that encourages readers to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'god' points — and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking."
It continues: "This is The Holy Bible. This book means that after various sex acts, readers are given options to kill women by stoning her unconscious, Setting them on fire, cutting off their hands, and killing their children!"
"One of many fan passages on In [sic] the Holy Bible depicts woman being set alight for having sex: 'And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire," (Leviticus 21:9)," the gamers' petition added.
A release from Target Australia revealed that the company decided to pull the R-rated video game from its shelves after customers complained about the violence against women depicted in the product.
"We've been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game's content," said Target Australia's general manager of corporate affairs Jim Cooper.
"We've also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue. However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers," Cooper explained.
Nearly 50,000 people signed the Nov. 29 change.org petition calling on Target to drop the game from its shelves.
"It's a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points — and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking," began the petition.
"This is 'Grand Theft Auto V.' This game means that after various sex acts, players are given options to kill women by punching her unconscious, killing with a machete, bat or guns to get their money returned," it continued.
The petition was launched by Nicole, Claire and Kat who say that they are survivors of sexual violence.
"Please Target — we appeal to you as women survivors of violence, including women who experienced violence in the sex industry, to immediately withdraw 'Grand Theft Auto V' from sale," they pleaded.
"We have first-hand experience of this kind of sexual violence. It haunts us, and we've been trying to rebuild our lives ever since. Just knowing that women are being portrayed as deserving to be sexually used by men and potentially murdered for sport and pleasure — to see this violence that we lived through turned into a form of entertainment is sickening and causes us great pain and harm," they said.
According to CNET, "Grand Theft Auto V" was released just over a year ago in September for Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360. It reached a phenomenal $1 billion in retail sales after just three days after it launched.
Directed at the adult market, the game allows players to participate in a variety of activities including sex with prostitutes, who can restore a player's health through sexual activity. Prostitutes can also be killed and beaten to allow players to get back their money.