Florida schools banned from Bible distribution to keep other groups from handing out Satanic material
Does the end justify the means? The school board in Orange County, Florida was forced to ban the distribution of Bibles and other religious materials in all of its public schools just to prevent the Satanic Temple Organisation from handing out satanic colouring books to students.
In a report by WFTV, the board members voted 7-1 to amend school policy and ban all religious materials. This all started in 2014 when Christian group World Changers of Florida began distributing Bibles in different public schools. Not to be outdone, the Satanic Temple Organisation shortly followed suit and began handing out satanic colouring books and fact sheets to students.
The move alarmed the Orange County school board so much that they decided to ban the distribution of religious materials entirely just to keep the satanic group from spreading their material. But the World Changers of Florida isn't too happy with their decision.
The Liberty Counsel, which is representing the Christian group, reasoned that the school blocking the distribution of religious materials is "unconstitutional," and it may decide to sue.
"If my client is turned away because my client is a religious organisation, then I think we'll have grounds to sue the school board based on an unconstitutional policy," said Roger Gannam of the Liberty Counsel.
But Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette said that the school is ready to deal with any legal cases, since they have already been briefed regarding the legal issues of their decision.
For its part, the Satanic Temple Organisation accused the school board for not wanting anyone but Christian groups to distribute religious materials, adding that they are simply promoting "tolerance and personal liberty" in its messages.
"If a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students — as is the case in Orange County, Florida — we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth," said spokesperson Lucien Greaves in a message published in their website last September.