Atheist literature to be distributed in Orange County Public Schools

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation and its Florida chapter, the Central Florida Freethought Community, will be passing out atheist and freethought literature to students in Orange County Public Schools this Thursday.


The distribution of freethought literature is set for May 2, the National Day of Prayer. The distribution is in response to bible distribution in the public schools in February, in which evangelists at tables in about 11 schools were permitted to hawk bibles and promote religion.



The Orange County Public Schools demanded the right to vet the freethought literature. Last week the district announced formally that many submitted publications, including Sam Harris' book, "Letter to a Christian Nation" and an essay, "The Truth," by 19th century freethinker Robert G. Ingersoll, are being censored. Also censored: "Jesus Is Dead" a book by Robert Price, professor of philosophy and religion, "What on Earth is an Atheist," a book by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, "Why I am Not a Muslim," a book by Ibn Warraq, and several FFRF "nontracts," including "Dear Believer," "Why Jesus?" "What Does the Bible Say about Abortion?" and "An X-Rated Book."



Among the handouts which the public schools approved will be several nontracts published by FFRF, including "What is Wrong with the Ten Commandments?," "Ten Common Myths about Atheists," and "Why Women Need Freedom From Religion." A section from "The Age of Reason," a classic critique of the bible by Thomas Paine, and a brochure "Why Atheism" are being distributed by other secular groups involved in the protest.

Written By: Freedom From Religion Foundation
continue to source article at ffrf.org

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  1. Sam Harris’ writings “may ’cause a substantial disruption’ to the school day.”
    That’s not a reason – more of a conjecture – does the law in the Land of the Free demand that the agencies of the government give any substantive reason for censorship? Did they give any reasons?

  2. What an outrage! The Orange County Public Schools ‘demanded the right to vet freethought literature’ while in February ‘evangelists were permitted to hawk bibles and promote religion”! And this in a country whose Constitution demands separation of Church and State! It is truly farcical , not to mention – illegal to hold a Prayer Day in a public school while the Constitution expressly advocates against!

    The list of banned literature vis a vis accepted text of the Bible is equally shocking, and I hope that FFRF will sue the district as one of its options. Are they really that scared of free thought that they banned “The Truth” by Ingersoll who, together with Thomas Paine, should be revered as one of not just greatest free thinkers, but one of the greatest American thinkers of all time?

    • What I find funny is the fact that there were a NUMBER of anti-theist publications available. If censorship was applied to what the religious had to offer (i.e., ONE publication), they would have nothing to hawk.

      In reply to #3 by HenMie:

      What an outrage! The Orange County Public Schools ‘demanded the right to vet freethought literature’ while in February ‘evangelists were permitted to hawk bibles and promote religion”! And this in a country whose Constitution demands separation of Church and State! It is truly farcical , not…

    • In reply to #3 by HenMie:

      What an outrage! The Orange County Public Schools ‘demanded the right to vet freethought literature’ while in February ‘evangelists were permitted to hawk bibles and promote religion”! And this in a country whose Constitution demands separation of Church and State! It is truly farcical , not…

      The catholic church used to be afraid to let people read the bible. You were not allowed to have one. You could not translate it from Latin into the vernacular. That’s sort of like the muslims who can’t understand arabic who memorize the Koran – in Arabic. The clerics tell the illiterate what they want them to know and leave out what’s inconvenient or contradictory and no one’s the wiser. If you find out the truth then god works in mysterious ways, it’s not for us to understand or question god, you must have faith, end of story. They’ve come a long way in 600 years. There was some guy who did an English translation, had to escape to Amsterdam I think…printers there were happy to print it. It was a hot seller. The pages were smuggled back and them assembled.

      • In reply to #8 by Agrajag:

        Available in print, but probably too expensive to hand out. :-(

        Holy mackerel that’s right – moot point anyway, amazon.com just sold out! The students could suggest looking it up on the web; ‘Atheism for Dummies’ may be affordable to hand out.

  3. Couldn’t they just distribute books about science and philosophy?

    The great thing about atheism, and certain degrees of agnosticism, is that they are the natural destination point for people who understand science and have been exposed to a good amount of philosophy.

    If children are raised to see science as the best way to discover truths about the world, and philosophical thought as a useful tool for making decisions about the facts science reveals, and about ethical/moral dilemmas, then I frankly don’t care if any given child also believes in a deity.

    Theism of itself isn’t the problem, anti-scientific ideologies are the problem.

    • In reply to #5 by Jabarkis:

      Theism of itself isn’t the problem, anti-scientific ideologies are the problem.

      Isn’t theism anti-scientific by its very tenets?

      The concept of a supernatural being creating the natural universe? Without one iota of evidence? Worse yet, a hypothesis that makes it utterly impossible to gather ANY evidence due to its very nature. What could be more anti-scientific than that? And that’s just DEISM. I haven’t even begun to discuss THEISM yet.

      Theism IS the problem or more specifically, the apparently incurable tendancy of humans to subscribe to irrational thinking if they like what is being told to them. I come from a region of the world where most people are not interested in science or philosophy. Even journalists and writers, the so-called intelligentsia of our society. The catholic religion has been dying for decades here and the churches are mostly empty. Like Richard Dawkins said: “good riddance”

      But unfortunately, that’s not the end of it.

      Superstition has replaced religion as the new “opium of the people”. Reikki, astrolology, homeopathy, osteopathy, reflexology, and other new age mumbo jumbo pseudo scientific garbage are on the rise here mostly due to the fact that most people have no scientific education.

      And no, I’m not talking about a 3rd world country, I’m talking about the province of Quebec in Canada. Irrational belief IS the problem, regardless of what shape or form it takes and science is the cure. Theism and science are mutually incompatible by their very nature.

  4. The Christians flourish on ignorance. Opening the door to debate will be their downfall. You could say it is greed for converts by hook or by crook will lead to them losing them all.

    Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
    ~ Isaac Asimov 1920-01-02 1992-03-06

  5. “Atheist literature to be distributed in Orange County Public Schools”

    Hang on, isn’t ALL literature atheist literature?… apart from the few books that push a religious viewpoint. But those are tiny compared to the huge diversity of literature in the world.

    Isn’t the literature in question more ‘anti-theist’? in that is saying why not to be religious, what is wrong with religious thinking. Whereas being atheist doesn’t mean that you want to stop others being religious, it just means that you personally don’t claim the existence of a god.

  6. I hope they are clever enough to hand out a list identifying the titles of texts they were not allowed to hand out (and where to get them). How many better ways are there to get a kid to do something than by telling them it’s off limits? There’s got to be something good in there they don’t want you to see.

    They ban a book about what is in the bible, but it’s okay to read the bible?

    Why I am Not a Muslim is banned? Would they ban “Why I am Not an Atheist_?

    The full title An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible would have been better

    Hey kids, read The Truth at http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/truth.html

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