Orlando, Florida — Atheists in the Sunshine State say that they plan to distribute literature about the Bible being “an x-rated book” and other humanist publications at local public schools within its district to counter a Bible giveaway organized by a Christian group earlier this week.
On Wednesday, members of an organization called World Changers of Florida distributed Bibles to approximately eleven schools in Orange Country by placing free copies of Scripture on tables near the lunchroom. When Central Florida Freethought learned of the event, and the recent decision of the Orange County School District to allow the Christians to do so, it sent a letter to district officials, demanding that they change the policy permitting the distribution of religious materials.
“Our effort is to ensure the county realizes this is the wrong policy,” David Williamson of Central Florida Freethought told Fox Orlando.
The outlet reports that Williamson informed them that if the district refuses to alter its policy, the group will schedule an event of its own at the same schools. However, in a press release issued this week, the organization noted that it has since obtained permission to distribute its materials on campus. It outlined that some of the literature that may be offered to students includes the publications “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible” and “Ten Common Myths About Atheists,” as well as works by popular atheists Dan Barker and Madalyn Murray O’Hair. The first of the publications features a cover depiction of a Bible with arms and legs reaching up under a woman’s dress.
“This group of Biblical literalists has somehow convinced the school board that our public schools should be a religious battleground of sorts. This is unacceptable to freethinkers and persons of all religious traditions, including many Christians,” Williamson said in the release. “But because the school board insists on opening the schools up to Christian proselytizers, we think it’s important that students receive materials countering their religious propaganda.”
A second atheist group has also called for equal time in the school system.
“Orange County is showing favoritism by allowing the distribution of Bibles in the county high schools. This is an issue of preserving the rights of all students, regardless of their beliefs,” said David Silverman of American Atheists out of Cranford, New Jersey. “We will be moving forward to distribute books written by Madalyn Murray O’Hair on atheism in the same manner. Our request will be presented to the school board asking for a specific date when we can place our books in the schools. We expect equal treatment for us; as well as any and all other religions that want to distribute their literature in the same manner.”
The organization did not further explain how it plans to carry out its efforts, although it is assumed that local humanists affiliated with American Atheists will participate in the distribution.
Ken Ham, founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis, commented that atheists already have “more than equal time” in the classroom.
“The secularists have had their arbitrary definition of science forced on millions of kids in American schools. The religion of atheism is being taught throughout the public school system,” he said. “Atheists certainly don’t want equal time in the science classroom now, do they?”
While the atheist groups are unhappy with the district’s allowance for the Bible distribution, an attorney for the Orange County School District says that it has no intention to change its policy, which not only allows free speech, but also contains various restrictions and guidelines.
“Anything that contains pornographic material, any references to advertising, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or anything disruptive to school district and their educational facility [is prohibited],” said attorney Diego Rodriguez.
Those who distribute materials on campus are not allowed to have any contact with students. Literature may only be left on a table for those who are interested.
As previously reported, Satanists throughout the state have also planned to host a rally later this month in support of Governor Rick Scott and his enactment of a religious freedom bill that allows for students to pray in school. The Satanists state that they applaud the measure because it gives Satanist children equal time to “pray” to the devil in class.