‘Bible Man’ in Schools? Seriously?

‘Bible Man’ in Schools? Seriously? April 17, 2015

A few weeks ago, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the superintendent of Grundy County schools in Altamont, Tennessee about the school allowing a guy who calls himself Bible Man to come into the school and proselytize students. Nothing that happened next will surprise you in the least.

Bible Man has been visiting Grundy County Schools for nearly 40 years without any problems, until recently. Last month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote the school after hearing a local complaint.

The letter warns that Bible Man assemblies violate the constitution, and Bible Man is currently taking a break from visiting the schools.

“I believe the perception was that we’re trying to get rid of him, and that was not the perception we wanted to present,” said Dr. Willie Childers, interim Director of Schools.

“At the last board meeting, there were several concerned citizens wanting to make sure that Bible Man or Mr. Turner will continue to be in Grundy County,” said Childers, who hopes the school will adopt a “club schedule.”

That schedule would allow students to have the freedom to participate in a club of their choosing, which could include a religious-based club.

“We are trying to make sure that the procedures that we do are legal and constitutional for every citizen,” Childers said.

They let this guy lead a school assembly once a month, for crying out loud. It’s true that students can form Christian clubs and invite in speakers, but the Equal Access Act only applies to secondary school. Elementary children are likely not mature enough to organize and run a club. The EAA says that adults may not “direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend meetings,” and it’s highly doubtful that elementary school kids could create and run a club without that.

They obviously know they can’t continue the school assemblies, but it isn’t clear that they can do this through a club at the elementary level either. And of course, those who oppose allowing Bible Man in to the school are being threatened:

While the concerned mom says she’s glad it’s being addressed, she still worries about the lack of acceptance for those who don’t support Bible Man.

She points to threats made on Facebook against her child that include pictures of a burning house.

“We just can’t get over how much hate there is in their loving, Christian hearts,” she said.

As always, there’s a very simple test for all this: Would the people supporting this be okay if it was Quran Man instead of Bible Man? But here’s what I guarantee would happen. If it were Quran Man, that man would be threatened and run out of town on a rail and so would anyone who supported it. The school board would be recalled, administrators fired for allowing it. So when it’s Bible Man, anyone who opposes it is threatened. When it’s Quran Man, anyone who supports it is threatened. As always, when they say “religious freedom” what they really mean is Christian privilege — maintained through threats and violence if necessary.

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