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Atheist Books To Be Handed Out in Florida School

Here’s a bit of good news. A collection of atheist, agnostic and humanist books will be made available to students at schools in Orange County, Florida on May 2. This resulted from a consent decree in a court case over the distribution of Bibles in those same schools.

Representatives from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Central Florida Freethought Community will be “passively” distributing atheism, agnosticism and secular humanism materials to Orange County high school students on Thursday, according to officials.

An Orange County Public Schools memo states the passive distribution will be allowed of the approved materials at Apopka, Boone, University, Cypress Creek, Evans, Edgewater, Wekiva, Colonial, Timber Creek, Winter Park and Jones high schools.

Passive distribution, as defined by school officials, states that approved materials must be placed on one unmanned table for distribution in a location where students are during a non-instructional time. A written disclaimer will be on the table saying OCPS doesn’t endorse or sponsor the distribution…

Representatives from the groups aren’t allowed to speak to the students and can’t position themselves at the table throughout the day, according to school officials. The representatives must pass a background screening and be registered as a volunteer on campus.

Among the books to be distributed: The Age of Reason and Why Women Need Freedom From Religion. These are the same rules that were placed on the distribution of Bibles. All in all, this is far better than the way Bibles are distributed in classrooms in so many schools around the country. The second comment on that article is hilariously idiotic:

Next headlines you see are going to read, A New muslime Curriculum Being Passively Distributed In All American Schools. The POTUS Declares, All Students To Be Passively Issued A quran. Don’t think that could happen huh ??? THINK AGAIN.

I don’t have to think again. This guy, on the other hand, still needs to think for the first time.

Comments

  1. ArtK says

    Shall we start the betting pool on when these books will be stolen, defaced or “lost”? We can run a second pool to see when the first parent complaint asking that these books be removed as offensive will be filed. But of course nobody wants to “ban” them, just protect their children’s little sensitive souls.

  2. says

    You have to love how the wingnuts manage to find a way to tie even the tiniest erosion of Christian privilege in this country to a Christian president.

  3. abb3w says

    @1, ArtK:

    Shall we start the betting pool on when these books will be stolen, defaced or “lost”?

    If the terms match those of the settlement agreement, the group is allowed to have volunteers to keep an eye on the table from a distance, to insure that the supply doesn’t run out (but not to interact with the students). Some of the students will doubtless take things just to toss them — just like some probably do with the Bibles. Adults trying that, however, can expect to run into more trouble.

    So… what you suggest actually doesn’t seem likely to happen.

  4. brucecoppola says

    They should also distribute small strings of pearls (suitable for clutching).

  5. ArtK says

    So… what you suggest actually doesn’t seem likely to happen.

    I have a lot of faith in human deceit and nastiness.

    Scenario: Kid takes 15 books and dumps them in the trash. Monitors say “don’t do that” and then get accused of “interacting” with the students. Book distribution is shut down for breaking the rules.

  6. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    Shall we start the betting pool on when these books will be stolen, defaced or “lost”

    First thing I thought of, too. What if there is a sign saying, “One book per person”? Sure, someone could go back time and time again, but it would make it a lot less convenient to do so.

  7. says

    @ArtK #1 – “Shall we start the betting pool on when these books will be stolen, defaced or “lost”?”

    Why do you think the school is not allowing the people handing out the books to be present? The whole point is to make sure that everything can be destroyed while giving the school, teachers and students plausible deniability.

  8. Trebuchet says

    @abb3w: I disagree. I’d expect there’ll be an organized covert campaign to take and dispose of the books, one at a time, very quickly. Because, you know, the very existence of them is persecuting Christians.

  9. escuerd says

    Gregory in Seattle @8:

    Why do you think the school is not allowing the people handing out the books to be present? The whole point is to make sure that everything can be destroyed while giving the school, teachers and students plausible deniability.

    It sounds more like a way of preventing various groups from actively proselytizing. They used the same rule when it was just Christian groups a few months ago: http://www.clickorlando.com/news/-Passive-distribution-of-Bibles-allowed-in-Orange-County-schools/-/1637132/18139430/-/888suqz/-/index.html

    It’s certainly true that atheist materials are more likely to get vandalized than Christian ones, but I’m not necessarily sure that’s the school officials’ purpose in preventing members of the groups distributing the literature from being present, especially since they seem to have done it before there was any indication that an atheist group would participate. I’ll also note that many Christians (at least in certain areas I’ve lived), are also blinded by their religion’s privilege to the point that they don’t realize or believe that this sort of thing is a problem for other groups. This is wrong, of course, but not necessarily outright malicious.

    Honestly, I’m not sure I like the idea that groups other than students should be required to have some any sort of limited public forum in public schools, but given that there, at least there are atheists making use of it.

  10. escuerd says

    And I really would be rather surprised if there weren’t a concerted effort to toss, remove, or destroy the pro-atheism books.

    Cranston was a recent reminder of how a lot of good Christian folk see us.

  11. lowkey says

    Why are we talking about this in the future tense? It happened yesterday and went off without a hitch according to my friends in the Central Florida Freethought community.

  12. thebookofdave says

    @brucecoppola #5

    Not much of interest to the students. Maybe another mission could provide a table with pearls or rosaries in the staff lounge. And a swooning couch.

  13. dingojack says

    brucecoppola (#5), thebookofdave (#15) –
    “… neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you”.
    Dingo

  14. pamsmigh says

    I wish them luck but foresee that the parents of the kids will admonish them w/lines like “Don’t you dear go near them atheists or you’ll go straight to hell. And if any of your friends goes over, you come home and tell me so I can call their ma and pa.”

  15. samgardner says

    Actually, I’m wondering if the kids might be a lot more interested than we might think. My oldest son indicates even among the regular churchgoers in his school, not many have a strong belief in a deity and no one believes in literalism.

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