American Atheists testing the “equal treatment” waters in Florida.

In Orange County, Florida, a group has been allowed to distribute bibles at public schools.  American Atheists has the right idea.

Cranford, NJ-Orange County, Florida school leaders have given approval for members of World Changers of Florida to distribute Bibles by placing them on tables near student lunchrooms on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

David Silverman, President of American Atheists said, “Orange County is showing favoritism by allowing the distribution of Bibles in the county high schools. This is an issue of preserving the rights of all students, regardless of their beliefs. “Silverman continues, “We will be moving forward to distribute books written by Madalyn Murray O’Hair on atheism in the same manner. Our request will be presented to the school board asking for a specific date when we can place our books in the schools. We expect equal treatment for us; as well as any and all other religions that want to distribute their literature in the same manner.”

This type of passive distribution isn’t a new occurrence in the Orange County Schools. According to the group’s web site, the distribution is an annual practice. An article on the website states, “We are excited to again be able to distribute Bibles in Collier and Orange county high schools.  We have given out thousands of Bibles over the last few years and we are working to expand the program to many other school districts.” (Emphasis American Atheists)

It’s beautiful.  If the school board denies them the opportunity, then they’ve revealed their religious discrimination, which would give even an incompetent lawyer all the tools they needed, and then some, to make it stop.  If they let all religions (and lack of religion in), then I have no doubt that reason will prevail.

In all honesty, I’d prefer they kept them all (including atheism) out.  School is for learning.  The rest of the world is an ideological battleground, let’s keep it out of the way of students preparing to become stewards of the earth.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • invivoMark

    Wasn’t O’Hair the one that nobody (including atheists) liked*? Shouldn’t we pick someone like Hitchens or Dawkins?

    *I admit ignorance on why she wasn’t liked, but my understanding is that she wasn’t, and didn’t make a very good spokesperson for atheism. Hitchens and Dawkins seem alright for that purpose, on the other hand.

    • Chakolate

      O’Hair is the perfect person to use to make the point.

      O’Hair was often portrayed by the media as a real harpy, and often they’d use pictures of her that made her look like a witch. She was apparently not the sweetest temper in the world, but if she had been she’d never have accomplished what she did. She was angry and combative and accomplished a lot, in spite of being threatened in really ugly ways. (Son’s cat was strangled, rocks thrown at her windows.)

    • eric

      I suspect the goal is to have the SB rethink the policy altogethre and not allow non-school materials to be handed out. O’Hair is probably a better choice to achieve that goal than Dawkins, because fewer parents and admiistrators would probably object to Dawkins. He’s written a lot of popular biology books, after all, while O’Hair is known pretty much only for ‘strident atheism.’

  • Loqi

    Oh man. It’s so hard to predict how the school board will react to this one. It’s like anticipating the end of an M Night Shyamalan movie.

  • Sunny Day

    Show up and ask for a table where people can drop off unwanted books.
    Offer free Bacon for every bible donated.

    • edwin

      better have alot of bacon with you.

  • Stefan

    This is going to be so amazing.

    It’s a win-win, either they accept that they are discriminating against other belief-systems and make themselves look like fools, or they allow atheistic literature to be distributed in schools. :D

  • docchilie

    Please keep us updated on this one. This will be very interesting.

  • ewok_wrangler

    Can’t they find even one Muslim to say, “I want to put out Qurans on the table”? Well, in FL, perhaps not; but boyoboy would that get a quick reaction. But there must be a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Jain with books to distribute.

    • Anonymous

      A person can’t covert to Hinduism, although some of the stories are good in the way folk tales are good.

      • Brad1990

        “A person can’t convert to Hinduism”? What are you on about?

        And yes, some of the stories are good in the way folk tales are good… just like every other religion. All that really differs is the folk telling the tales.

  • Tarn

    ‘Twould be more effective to get some Muslims or Wiccans or Satanist to do it, but this’ll be funny too…

    • John Horstman

      Kind of like this?

  • Oldniceguy

    Some one should inform the Freedom From Religion Foundation They will send a legal letter telling them to stop giving away bibles at school or face court.

    • Baal

      Time line:
      xtians get approval to hand out bibles
      someone complains to the FFRF
      FFRF sends letter to school, “us too or nothing else law suit” <–standard line
      Bible hand out happens
      school allows FFRF to hand out something
      FFRF is picking what to hand out and when (logistics) <—we are here

      The more usual event is for the schools to say, "Yikes, we're so afraid of atheist / secular literature that they also stop handing out the bibles." That's really the best outcome. Most of us secularists aren't really interested in proselytizing our view points and law suits are a PITA even when you know you're going to win. They also cost the schools $$ which is a bad thing ™ (a point the xians know and exploit).