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Old February 4th, 2012, 09:55 AM   #1
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I'm filing this under Christianity but it's really an Establishment issue not a religious issue per se....DTT doesn't really have a category that fits.



This is a classic case of Christofascism in the public schools, where the Gideons were using the public school system to distribute their bibles (and thus proselytize to children), but when a pagan non-Christian parent wanted to do exactly the same thing in order to distribute a witchcraft spell book, suddenly the school thinks it's a problem:



Quote:
http://www.au.org/bl...ut-but-balks-at



When the Buncombe County (North Carolina) School System called Ginger Strivelli’s bluff, the Pagan mother of a student at a Weaverville elementary school didn’t back down.



In December, school officials had allowed a local chapter of The Gideons International to make Bibles available at North Windy Ridge Elementary. When Strivelli’s son came home with one, she complained and asked to drop off some Pagan books at the school.



According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, Principal Jackie Byerly initially said, “If another group wishes to do the same [as the Gideons], I plan on handling that the same way as I have handled this.”



But when Strivelli showed up at the school with her books, she was informed that she couldn’t leave them because “a new policy is being crafted.”



“I’m not surprised a bit,” Strivelli told the Citizen-Times. “That’s fully what I expected. Basically, they were calling my bluff thinking I wouldn’t bring in the books.”



Buncombe County School System issued a statement, explaining its actions.



“Buncombe County school officials,” it said, “are currently reviewing relevant policies and practices with school board attorneys; during this review period, no school in the system will be accepting donation of materials that could be viewed as advocating a particular religion or belief.”



Said Strivelli: “They’re changing the policy, which is wonderful. They shouldn’t [allow] it, but they shouldn’t have done it to start with. That makes it unfair after they have given out Christian propaganda. I’m glad they’re changing the policy, but the people who made the wrong decision to start with still need to be punished and held accountable. They should’ve had the correct policy in place to start with.”



Strivelli has a good point. Schools are often perfectly happy to expose students to the majority faith’s scriptures, but if someone from a minority religion or other point of view wants to make that literature available, the school suddenly decides to “change its policy.” How coincidental and hypocritical!



The Gideons have since apologized for putting the Bibles in the school and picked up the remaining Bibles within 48 hours of dropping them off. Strivelli also said she found the school officials to be much more receptive to her concerns lately than they were initially.



But the fact remains that religious groups shouldn’t be using the public schools as proselytizing points at all, and school officials should not have allowed the Gideons access to the school in the first place.



The Citizen-Times reported that Strivelli’s experience has sparked some unintended consequences. Other groups have expressed interest in dropping off materials at North Windy Ridge, including someone in New York City who offered to send 500 Qurans.



I suspect that offer will not be accepted.



More:

Quote:
http://www.foxnews.c...arolina-school/



"You can either open your public school up to all religious material, or you can say no religious material," Michael Broyde, a professor and senior fellow at Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion said. "You can't say, 'You can distribute religious material, but only from the good mainstream faiths.'"



Preventing government from favoring or restricting any one religion may have helped the U.S. avoid the bloodshed experienced in some other Western nations, such as Germany and Ireland, according to Broyde.



"America runs a grand, noble experiment in religious diversity without violence," he said. "There's no killing of the Jews. There's no Catholic-Protestant violence. We are very successful in this grand experiment."



Traditionally, that "grand experiment" has involved Judaism and a handful of Christian denominations. But as non-traditional faiths spread into new communities, longstanding customs such as prayer, Christmas plays and Bibles that once went unquestioned in public schools are finding themselves under increased scrutiny.



"Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, not on Wiccan principles," Bobby Honeycutt, who attended public schools in Weaverville during the 1970s, said.

"Our children have access to more non-Christian print material in the libraries and online than they really do Christian stuff," he said.



While many Weaverville Christians see recent events as a threat to tradition, others see a purpose in enforcing church-state separation in public schools, because even the nation's traditional faiths have divisions.



"Many Christians have stood up and said they agree with me too," Strivelli said. "Because, as much as they may like the Bible, they don't want Jehovah's Witnesses coming in with Watch Tower (magazines) or Catholics coming in and having them pray the Rosary."


I wonder which the Christofascists would have a greater problem with - the Koran, the book of witchcraft spells, a Freedom from Religion pamphlet, or the Jefferson Bible.



On the larger point of government silence on religious issues vs providing access to all religious groups to distribute literature in public schools, I don't really know whether the courts have taken a position on that. Personally I think non-distribution is better and much less constitutionally problematic, although the schools are still free to discuss such literature in a comparative religion class. I just don't think the public schools should be used as a vehicle for religious proselytizing.
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Old February 4th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #2
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I had a good friend who was a member of the Gideons. I'm rather surprised that they were involved in a school in the first place. Normally, they present the free Bibles in a take-it-or-leave-it situation, but giving one to everybody at a school doesn't really afford the "leave-it" people much of a chance, especially since it is really the parent's decision whether their kids are take-it or leave-it people.



I wonder if that school has any policies on parents passing things out at show and tell. When my children were in 1st grade, I went to their classes in my mailman uniform and handed out a coloring book and a magnet that the post office had given me. Could a Gideon parent hand out Bibles?



I don't suppose the school could prohibit one child from giving a gift of a Bible to some other child.
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Old February 4th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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If I understand correctly the Gideons gave the bibles to the school to make available - I don't think the Gideons were in school passing them out to the students.



But it sounds like both the Gideons and the school district now recognize that what they were doing was wrong. This is the better outcome than what happened in the recent Ahlquist case, where the ACLU had to take the school district to court to remove a blatantly unconstitutional school prayer - even though the district knew it was unconstitutional.
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Old February 5th, 2012, 01:41 AM   #4
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If America was really the Land of the Free then both Christians and Pagans could distribute literature in schools



The current idea of throttling all religious messages is more akin to the Soviet Union
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Old February 5th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #5
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No one is forced to read a Gideon Bible. They are free to anyone who wants one. Contributions pay for this and always have. Schools are not "Christianity Free Zones" in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
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Old February 5th, 2012, 05:38 PM   #6
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i think it would be a really good idea for schools to teach the basics of all religions to all students. a total blackout of religious education is doing children a disservice, a focus on one religion to the exclusion of others is an equal disservice.
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Old February 5th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by hot dragon View Post
i think it would be a really good idea for schools to teach the basics of all religions to all students. a total blackout of religious education is doing children a disservice, a focus on one religion to the exclusion of others is an equal disservice.


Comparative religion is offered in many public schools - teaching about religion is different from religious indoctrination. What was going on in NC was closer to using the schools as a marketing vehicle for one religion.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 08:55 AM   #8
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I say we start handing out Chick Tracts to kindergarteners.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mytmouse57 View Post
I say we start handing out Chick Tracts to kindergarteners.


I'm pissed that when I was in school, I didn't get a copy of a witchcraft spell book. I probably would have read it, unlike that little red Bible the Gideons used to try to indoctrinate me. I never opened that sucker.



It's mere speculation at this point, but I wonder just how my life would have been different....



I wonder if I can sue the Houston Independent School district? Hopefully, a statute of limitations won't apply....
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Old February 6th, 2012, 11:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Perkins View Post
No one is forced to read a Gideon Bible. They are free to anyone who wants one. Contributions pay for this and always have. Schools are not "Christianity Free Zones" in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.


Well, if that's the case, then don't distribute them at school...let them freely get one elsewhere.
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