An elementary school in Missouri has been allowing the Gideons to distribute bibles to students on their lunch hour. It’s crazy stupid, a clear violation of the separation of church and state (not that fundie churches care about that anymore). Fortunately, Americans United is on the ball.
In its brief, AU asserts that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that school district promotion of religion puts pressure on nonbelievers or dissenters and is unconstitutional.
“In the cafeteria, students who choose to take Bibles and those who choose not to will be visible to much, if not all, of the student community — a prospect made more likely given the school’s small size, 427 students,” the brief said. “Any child visibly ignoring the availability of the Bibles or returning to class empty-handed will stand out to his peers and thus feel pressured to take a Bible.”
The Gideons distribute the Bibles “to encourage the children to accept Christ as their personal savior.” The Bibles distributed at South Iron also include a place for students to sign under the written statement: “My Decision to Receive Christ as My Savior.”
That’s a sound, frequently-used strategy. May I suggest another? Next time the Gideons invade the school, dispatch a crack team of radical atheists to the lunch room to:
Show students where the racy/violent parts of the bible are.
Teach them how to fold an origami pigasus from the pages.
For students with less dexterity, to referee paper airplane flying contests.
Let’s teach students to disrespect foolishness!