We Need Hamilton County (Tennessee) Parents to Start Distributing Non-Christian Books

At least one Hamilton County (Tennessee) public elementary school is giving away Bibles to students. But it’s okay, you know, because their parents have to sign a permission slip first:

It all started with a permission slip.

The one Mitzi Yates found among the papers in her fifth-grader’s backpack. If she signed it, it would allow him to bring home a copy of the Gideon New Testament from McConnell Elementary.

An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press talks about the legal battles over permission distributions. In short, either no religious texts can be given out (even with permission slips) or they all can be given out.

The ACLU, FFRF, and Americans United would rather no religious distribution be allowed. It just muddies the water between church and state and parents already can take their children to church as they wish. Why should a school district get involved in that? That makes a lot of sense.

But as it stands, the school district — knowing full well that Christianity is the most popular religion in the area — is saying that anything goes.

Hamilton County’s practice is all-or-nothing when it comes to making outside materials available to students, said school board attorney Scott Bennett. If a principal allows the Boy Scouts to distribute leaflets, then the same privilege must be afforded to the Gideons, Catholic groups or Muslim groups.

“We cannot create a barrier to the distribution of religious literature that is not in place for secular literature,” Bennett said. “We have to be viewpoint-neutral.”

Okay. So this is an easy thing to test. We need atheist parents, Pagan parents, Muslim parents, and all other non-Christian parents to have the schools distribute a pamphlet or holy book of their own choosing.

If they can’t say no, we’ll make things as awkward as possible.

But it begins with parents who can volunteer to take charge of the distribution. Who’s in?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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