FFRF Files Suit Over Atheist Book Distribution

You may remember that a few weeks ago a number of atheist-themed books and pamphlets were passively distributed in public schools in Orange County, Florida. This was done because the school had allowed a Christian group to distribute Bibles in that same manner earlier and the school agreed that it was a limited public forum. But now the FFRF has filed suit because the school did not allow many of the books and pamphlets they wanted to distribute.

When the agreement was made for the distribution of the atheist materials, the school said that they had to submit all of those materials to the school in advance so they could vet them to ensure that they were “age appropriate.” But as the complaint notes, they did not do this with the Bible itself when World Changers of Florida distributed them. But the school did not have any written policy on what types of materials could be distributed, so they were making ad hoc decisions on each book and pamphlet.

One pamphlet the school rejected was called Why Jesus?, which the school said it “will cause a substantial disruption because it argues that Jesus did not promote equality and social justice, was not compassionate, was not reliable and was not a good example.” That’s nonsense on its face as there is no argument whatsoever why it would cause a “substantial disruption,” only an illogical assertion that it would. Worse, it’s clearly content-based discrimination. They allowed the distribution of a book that says Jesus was a wonderful example but rejected one that said he was not.

They similarly rejected a pamphlet called Dear Believer, claiming it “will cause a substantial disruption” because it “asserts that God is hateful, arrogant, sexist and cruel.” Why exactly would that cause a “substantial disruption”? They don’t say. They also rejected Robert Price’s book Jesus is Dead because the “claim that Jesus was not crucified or resurrected is age inappropriate.” Uh, why?

But the most audacious rejection was of Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation. The school said:

“On page 94, when describing the religious rituals of many ancient societies, the book described the sacrifice of virgins, killing and eating of children in order to ensure the future fertility of mothers, feeding infants to sharks, and the burning of widows so they can follow their husbands into the next world. These concepts are not appropriate for the age and maturity of high school students.”

Seriously? Have they read the Bible, for crying out loud? It’s full of such atrocities and worse, yet they automatically accepted that book for distribution. Can’t wait to see how this suit turns out.

13 comments on this post.
  1. Deen:

    They walked right into that one, didn’t they?

    This is my favorite:

    They also rejected Robert Price’s book Jesus is Dead because the “claim that Jesus was not crucified or resurrected is age inappropriate.”

    Unlike the crucifixion itself, of course. Great bedtime reading, that story. Kids love it.

  2. Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon:

    This is going to be a fantastic lawsuit.

    “Your honor, let me read to you a quotation from a book…”

  3. Modusoperandi:

    And the end result of this will be that nobody gets to distribute anything. Kudos, Athiests. Now where are kids supposed to get bibles, if not public schools? Where?!

  4. d.c.wilson:

    How can you say the Bible isn’t age-appropriate? I mean, sure the main character commits genocide by global flood, but it has animals in it. That makes it a cute kids story.

  5. trucreep:

    @3

    LOL

  6. JohnnieCanuck:

    Doesn’t take much thought to realise that many of the animals on the ark were in distress. No windows, crowded, predators next to prey, no food, excrement everywhere, it would have been a disaster. Not to say that the rats and flies and bacteria wouldn’t have been fine with it.

  7. John Pieret:

    They similarly rejected a pamphlet called Dear Believer, claiming it “will cause a substantial disruption” because it “asserts that God is hateful, arrogant, sexist and cruel.” Why exactly would that cause a “substantial disruption”?

    Why, because little Dick and Jane might go home and say something to mommy and daddy about God being hateful, arrogant, sexist and cruel, get their bottoms tanned, and then the school would have to fill out all those child abuse forms.

  8. jimnorth:

    No matter what guidelines the school district finally publishes, the bible will fail. Alternatively, other books will have to be included.

    Nice color choice on the the rest of the room. When you gonna paint that corner you sittin in?

  9. chilidog99:

    Is the part of the bible that talks about the dudes who were hung like donkeys and who ejaculate like horses, age appropriate?

  10. doublereed:

    Uhh… I’m pretty sure schools talk about sexism, hate, cruelty, and arrogance. It’s perfectly age appropriate.

    And besides, that’s kind of weird rules considering it’s passive distribution in the first place. But then, I guess the whole point is show how ridiculous passive distribution really is.

  11. Matt G:

    It’s only a matter of time until someone claims that the Bible is not a “religious” book, but rather an “historical” one, and therefore fair game for distribution in public schools.

  12. andrewryan:

    “the dudes who were hung like donkeys”

    How does one hang a donkey?

  13. lofgren:

    It’s pretty clear that the school administration is actually on the side of the atheists here. There’s no better way to get a high schooler to read something than to tell them it’s not age appropriate for them.

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