The Freedom From Religion Foundation has warned the public schools in Mecklenburg County, Virginia that they either must stop allowing the Gideons to passively distribute Bibles or allow the FFRF to distribute literature as well. The school has turned to the absurdly named Liberty Counsel for help and are apparently circling the wagons.
A hastily called emergency meeting of the Mecklenburg County School Board has been cancelled pending further legal advice.
Announced Wednesday via the division’s Facebook page as well as emails and letters sent to parents and family members of students, the meeting, which was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m., was to deal with the division’s policy on the distribution of religious materials.
Mecklenburg County Public Schools’ policy on the distribution of religious materials in its school buildings has been challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national organization that prides itself on challenging perceived violations of America’s separation of church and state legal precedent.
According to Mecklenburg County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Thornton, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has given the local school division till Monday to decide whether to continue, alter or discontinue its policy of “passive distribution” in regards to the distribution of religious materials.
“MCPS has for several years practiced a ‘passive distribution’ approach to religious materials,” Thornton wrote in the letter. “The Gideons, for example, have been placing Bibles in our schools, with the understanding that they are available to students without any influence or manipulation by the adults in the building. They are simply placed on tables or office furniture, and students may take one if they so desire. To date, this practice has not caused any problems of which I am aware.
“Recently, this practice was challenged by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and as such, our board is now faced with immediately evaluating its past practice and policy… This organization has given MCPS until Feb. 10 to make a decision as to whether to continue the practice of open distribution for all or to refrain from allowing any organizations (to include the Gideons and the Freedom From Religion Foundation) from the opportunity to distribute religious related materials in our school buildings.”
This should be fun to watch.