Florida School District Sued For Treating Atheist Group Differently Than Christian Group

created image showing The Wall Between Church and State

Some Christians and right wingers cry and whine about their freedom of religion being suppressed when their Christian privilege is called out or shut down. But time and again, when the roles are reversed, those same Christians see no problem in suppressing points of view that contradict their beliefs. Orange County School Board in Florida allowed a Christian group to distribute literature, including the Holy Bible, in their high schools. When an atheist group wanted to do the same the school district and the schools did everything they could to sabotage the effort. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) is suing the school district in Federal court.

Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist has the details:

This alone could have been illegal, but the Orange County School Board agreed that non-Christian groups could also have a distribution if they wanted. The Central Florida Freethought Community called their bluff and planned their own giveaway.

The only problem was that the atheist giveaways were heavily censored:

Orange County Public Schools insisted on vetting the freethought literature from FFRF and other secular groups. It censored many of the materials, including “Letter to a Christian Nation,” Sam Harris’ book; “The Truth,” an essay by Robert G. Ingersoll; “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.”

The school board obviously had no issue with rape or violence since they allowed the Bible in… but why would anyone censor Letter to a Christian Nation or Why I am Not a Muslim?

In fact, the list of literature that was censored is long and much of it makes little sense

FFRF Sues Florida School District Over Literature Discrimination

The article mentions that one of the rules for the distribution was the freethought group wasn’t allowed in the school or to staff the table. Of course the items were vandalized yet the Christian group had “volunteers” at their table.

I agree with Hemant that it would be better not to have any outside group distributions in the schools but if you let religious groups give out literature you have to let atheist groups do the same and under the exact same conditions and rules.