Florida Public School Bible Distribution Moves Forward Despite Atheist Lawsuit

Reading Bible pdORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A public school Bible distribution went forward in Florida on Thursday despite a lawsuit against the district for prohibiting the distribution of certain atheist publications last year, while allowing religious materials to go uncensored.

The Florida Family Policy Council, World Changers of Florida and several area churches collaborated for the effort, distributing Bibles at nine Orange County schools. The groups simply made the Bibles available to students by setting up tables marked with signs noting that they were free for the taking.

The organizations hosted a similar distribution last year after World Changers sued the Collier County School Board in 2011 for barring Bible distribution on campus. The two groups later reached a settlement, allowing World Changers and others to simply make the Bibles available without handing them out to students.

“This is a great opportunity for students who may never be exposed to Christianity to own and read a book that is not only the best-selling book of all times, but is the most important piece of literature in the development of western civilization,” John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, told WFTV.

However, last year, when the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) learned of the Bible distribution, they—along with support from the nationwide Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)—countered with a plan to supply atheistic and anti-Christian literature to the same students.

“Why Women Need Freedom From Religion,” “Ten Common Myths about Atheists,” and “What is Wrong with the Ten Commandments?” were some of the publications made available to students by the atheists. However, Orange County school officials prohibited the atheists from distributing other more controversial books and pamphlets, such as “Why Jesus?” “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible,” and “Jesus Is Dead.”

In a letter to CFFC, school officials outlined why they rejected several of the secular publications, citing inappropriate references to sexuality, gruesome surgical operations, prostitution and other offensive language. The district noted how one book alone, titled Letter to a Christian Nation, includes overt references to sex, back-alley abortions, cannibalism, as well as the statements that God is the “most prolific abortionist of all” and that killing a fly “should present one with greater moral difficulty than killing a human blastocyst.”

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CFFC then filed a lawsuit against the school district in response to the “censorship” of some of the materials, asserting that since the Bible includes mentions of sex and violence in world history, the secular publications are no worse.

Attorney Andrew Seidel told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday that he found it “appalling” that the Bibles were being distributed on Religious Freedom Day.

“The best way to protect religious freedom is to keep church and state separate,” he said. “To use schools to promote Christianity is betraying that legacy.”

However, others have cheered on the distribution for the betterment of society.

“Good for the school in allowing the Bibles to be distributed,” one commenter wrote. “I hope and pray many of the kids pick one up and read it. Not only since Jesus is the one and only way to God, but because even for those that do not find Him through it, our civilization is based on the Bible, and they need to be familiar with it.”

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  • Karate Kathleen

    I am devout Orthodox Christian and even I think this is a bad idea. Why? Because kids are constantly bombarded with all kinds of hypersensitive topics that distract them from why they actually go to school; TO GET AN EDUCATION!!! MATH, SCIENCE, HISTORY, ENGLISH AND OTHER LANGUAGES, MUSIC, ART AND READING. We MUST stop this nonsense and get kids back to hitting the school books! They NEED time to learn and study to be able to move forward and succeed in life. They do NOT need these distractions.



    • Sir Tainly

      I believe that you would raise hell Kathleen. 😉

      I appreciate you common sense approach to our kids’ education as well.

  • Javier Mejia

    Dennis, your taking the text out of context.

  • dick smith

    I am very thankful for having been given a gideon new testament at my school in 1954. I just don’t know why
    some folks would object to my being given such a gift. My school is still there and it hasn’t turned into a religion. It didn’t establish a religion and it didn’t prohibit the free exercise thereof. I suppose that if the atheist want to call themselves a religion they should be allowed the free exercise thereof by
    distributing their literature.It seems to me that would be sort of self defeating though calling themselves
    atheist and religious at the same time.

  • jean5ez

    Preventing your child’s eternal suffering in hell takes precedence.

  • James J. Grimes

    The idea of separation of church and state is not a constitutional doctrine, as we understand it today. It was an opinion of Thomas Jefferson based on a letter he wrote in 1802. Here is the text of the letter. Please read it carefully as to what the government can and cannot do, according to Jefferson:

    “To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


    The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

    Th Jefferson
    Jan. 1. 1802.”

  • Robert Allen

    Ever since 1791 – when OUR First Amendment to OUR Constitution found adoption – MANY Christians have actively VIOLATED OUR First Amendment by working against the Establishment Clause.

    I DON’T understand WHY these Christians even WANT to live in OUR GREAT Nation – when they HATE OUR Constitution SO MUCH – THE Constitution of THE Nation that IS the Leading Democracy of the FREE World (or so the propaganda says so) !!!!!

    OH – that letter that President Tom Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Connecticut Baptists – The Danbury Connecticut Baptists write to the newly elected President, Tom Jefferson, that the ESTABLISHED (that is State tax-supported) Connecticut Congregational Church was PERSECUTING the Connecticut Baptists in the way that the Baptists wanted to worship. President Tom – NOT wanting to use the POWER of the Federal Government to oppose either the Connecticut Congregational Church or the State of Connecticut – WROTE a letter back to the Danbury Baptists the the First Amendment erects a WALL of separation between Church and state.

    It wasn’t until 1818 – when Connecticut wrote their FIRST Constitution (IN SYNC with the US Constitution) that Connecticut DIS-Established (took away the State tax money from) the Connecticut Congregational Church – that the Connecticut Baptists where NO LONGER taxed by the State of Connecticut – to give the money to the ESTABLISHED (tax supported) Connecticut Congregational Church – to PERSECUTE the Connecticut Baptists – in the way that the Connecticut Baptists WANTED to worship !!!!!!

    President Tom DIDN’T WANT to use the POWER of the Federal government against the Connecticut Congregational Church or the State of Connecticut – Because he and his Republican Party – ran AGAINST the FEDERALISM of the PREVIOUS President – John Adams (who DID USE the POWER of the Federal Government AGAINST the States) – and WON the Presidency ON THIS Campaign Platform of LIMITED Federal Power !!!!!!

    It’s AMAZING HOW LITTLE American History MANY Christians KNOW !!!!!!