A Colorado school district allowed Satanic and atheist literature to be distributed to its students Friday in the craziest turn yet in the battle between Gideon Bible distributors and activist atheists.
Delta County Schools administrators gave middle and high school students access to atheist and Satanic booklets Friday after activist atheists demanded the same opportunity as people providing Gideon bibles on campus, the Coloradoan reports. The activists provided booklets about sex in the Bible and pamphlets featuring Satanic symbols to students, a symbolic protest by the Freedom From Religion Foundation over the school’s policy of allowing Bibles to be distributed at the school. Materials are placed on a table in the library and not handed directly to students.
The battle began in December of 2015 when a parent, upset that people were offering bibles to students at the school, reached out to the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, who then teamed up with FFRF. The FFRF say they would rather there be no religious material distributed at all, but if it is allowed, then they will provide an opposite viewpoint to the students. Providing the pamphlets is a tactic to get the school to stop allowing the distribution of religious material altogether.
“We do not think schools should be a battleground for religious ideas,” FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote in a letter to the district. “But when schools allow the Gideons to prey on children, their message of eternal damnation for any who don’t believe in their God must be countered.”
Parents were upset about the distribution of the atheist pamphlets, but the school says it cannot discriminate about what kind of content is offered. The school district has said it is reconsidering its policy, but has not yet made a decision about what to do next.
This is not the first time activist atheists have gone after Bible distribution at schools. In Fort Riley, Kansas in November, a public school banned Gideon representatives from distributing Bibles on campus after the American Humanist Association threatened legal action.
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