Florida Teen Fights Back Against Bible Distribution at His School

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We found out late Monday night that the School Board had given a group permission to hand out Bibles at our schools. The news reported it and David Williamson, leader of the Central Florida Freethought Community, alerted several local leaders in a message headed “URGENT.” It certainly was. That night, we found out that a possible church-state violation would occur two days later.

The next night, we prepared to monitor the distribution and ensure the group was following the rules. These were pretty simple rules: The Bibles were to be placed on tables which could not be attended by anybody, and no volunteer from World Changers Florida — the group behind the distribution — could speak to any student. (It’s called “passive distribution.”) Members of the group I lead at my school, Wekiva Atheist and Secular Alliance (WASA), would take notes and pictures if they broke the rules. (Students at a few of the many other schools receiving Bibles prepared to do the same.)

Wednesday came… and, as expected, they broke the rules.

Tables covered with Bibles appeared during lunch, one just outside the cafeteria, one inside. Both were looked after by people talking to students. (The people came from a different group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, but they were at the tables, nonetheless.)

We decided not to worry too much about the broken rules because we figured there was a better way to make a point. If the school only allowed Christians to proselytize in schools, that would be unfair, no doubt a violation of church-state separation. The only way it would be fair is if everyone — Jews, Muslims, Scientologists, Ron Paul supporters, The Flat Earth Society, etc. — could hand out their own materials. That included atheists, too. So we asked the school if they would allow other groups the same right the Christians had, and they assured us that we would (provided we met certain criteria… though I can’t imagine the Good Book passed any sort of “appropriateness” test).

Written By: Daniel Koster
continue to source article at patheos.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. I have mixed feelings about this topic. On one hand I think exposing young people to the disgusting horrors of the OT is unforgivable. It’s probably THE worst book I’ve ever read for railing against everything that stands for humanism.

    On the other hand, reading the bible from start to finish is almost guaranteed to produce an atheist from any sort of educated, intelligent person, believer or on the fence, and reinforcing to atheists just why they don’t believe.

    One of the religions came to my door a few weeks back and shoved a booklet in front of me that showed a young girl with a lovely smile on her face clutching a bible to her chest. “Doesn’t she look happy?” the religidiot asked me. My reply was, “Well, she doesn’t look old enough to read yet.” He had no reply .

  2. While I think, like ArioNo, that a good reading of the OT can push a rational person toward atheism, I don’t think that is a reason to support HS distribution. MOST Christians don’t read the OT, and many even disavow it, saying it was superseded by the new doctrine of Jesus. And in general, I think just having a bible, at least in the mind of a young person, goes a way toward sustaining an identification with it. They carry it around, believing that if they need good moral advice, they can always check it, and so continue the notion “Yeah, I’m a Christian. This is where I get my morals from,” without ever checking the printed word. Rather like a contract you sign but never read. I’m guessing that this high school will reject the atheist table and a law suit will follow, and there will be yet more screaming about the ‘war on Christianity.’

  3. If, instead of reading [why we believe in god(s)] (http://old.richarddawkins.net/pages/books) by Dr. Thomson, I didn’t give up on trying to read Persecution, in which David Limbaugh, Rush’s brother, only seems to kvetch about the unfairness of secularism, I might have been able to post a witty comment.

    Nevertheless, even as an atheist, I would have taken a free bible, inasmuch as, as Professor Dawkins, in his article [Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible] (http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2012/5/21/why-i-want-all-our-children-to-read-the-king-james-bible#.UP-oB30w6Xo), professed that “the good book should be read as a great work of literature – but it is not a guide to morality,” I, too, enjoy the imagery found in the apocalyptic book of Revelation.

  4. That included atheists, too. So we asked the school if they would allow other groups the same right the Christians had, and they assured us that we would (provided we met certain criteria…

    I would suggest that the atheist group organise a discussion group with astronomers and Humanists to discuss Genesis Noah and other selected passages which are usually omitted by Xtians. – Possibly after school to avoid any spurious objections.

    As the Bibles are free, the atheists should accept some of them – and also buy some highlighters to mark appropriate passages, before passing them on to others.

  5. Why not simply take a bible and thank them for the free toilet paper (or being winter, free kindling). They’ll soon get the message about what the students think of their book of depravity.

  6. Well, first I must admit that I live about 10 miles from this school. I have offerred my services to them as an attorney, should they be needed.

    I also wrote to the mods here to see if RDFRS could part with a case of The God Delusion for the effort. Seems the least we could do. Hopefully, I will get a second out of one of you. (Wouldn’t it be grand if RD signed the books?)

  7. You’re absolutely correct there will be little reading done but it’s a good opportunity to reinforce the meme that everyone’s a christian!

    In reply to #3 by justinesaracen:

    While I think, like ArioNo, that a good reading of the OT can push a rational person toward atheism, I don’t think that is a reason to support HS distribution. MOST Christians don’t read the OT, and many even disavow it, saying it was superseded by the new doctrine of Jesus. And in general, I think just having a bible, at least in the mind of a young person, goes a way toward sustaining an identification with it. They carry it around, believing that if they need good moral advice, they can always check it, and so continue the notion “Yeah, I’m a Christian. This is where I get my morals from,” without ever checking the printed word. Rather like a contract you sign but never read. I’m guessing that this high school will reject the atheist table and a law suit will follow, and there will be yet more screaming about the ‘war on Christianity.’

  8. I would like to second JHJEFFERYs idea! Many thanks for volunteering and I hope the mods can help!!!

    In reply to #10 by JHJEFFERY:

    Well, first I must admit that I live about 10 miles from this school. I have offerred my services to them as an attorney, should they be needed.

    I also wrote to the mods here to see if RDFRS could part with a case of The God Delusion for the effort. Seems the least we could do. Hopefully, I will get a second out of one of you. (Wouldn’t it be grand if RD signed the books?)

  9. In reply to #10 by JHJEFFERY:

    I also wrote to the mods here to see if RDFRS could part with a case of The God Delusion for the effort. Seems the least we could do. Hopefully, I will get a second out of one of you. (Wouldn’t it be grand if RD signed the books?)

    Good as this is! – It’s a school – Why not “The Magic of Reality”?

  10. another good idea. And the mods could write a piece about RDFRS helping fight religious bigotry in Central Florida.In reply to #14 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #10 by JHJEFFERY:

    I also wrote to the mods here to see if RDFRS could part with a case of The God Delusion for the effort. Seems the least we could do. Hopefully, I will get a second out of one of you. (Wouldn’t it be grand if RD signed the books?)

    Good as this is! – It’s a school – Why not “The Magic of Reality”?

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