What does the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals say about distributing religious materials in public schools? Find out at Firstliberty.org/Briefing.
Thank you for joining us for the First Liberty Briefing, an exclusive podcast where host Jeremy Dys—also First Liberty Senior Counsel—provides an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
Can Religious Materials Be Made Available to Public School Students?
Ed McDaniels was a local pastor in Upshur County, West Virginia. One day, he asked the local school superintendent if he could place Bibles on a table in the local public school. He didn’t want to hand students anything; he just wanted to set out the material as a resource the students could take if they wanted to.
The school had a policy of allowing the local Little League, Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H Club, and other community organizations to set their materials on a table. Students passing by could take the material or simply ignore it.
In a separate policy, the school prevented the distribution of religious and political materials.
Local residents sued the school system, claiming that the policy preventing distribution of religious materials also denied McDaniels access to the community information table.
Eventually, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit determined that distributing meant physically handing out materials. In fact, the court explained that, if the school kept the Bibles off of the community information table, it would breach its duty of religious neutrality and, in the words of the court, “evince the hostility toward religious speech that the Establishment Clause does not require and that the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses forbid.”
So, look around at your school. Perhaps there’s a community information table waiting to be stocked with Bibles.
To learn how First Liberty is protecting Religious Liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.
First Liberty Institute is the largest organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. Find out more here.
(This podcast is by First Liberty Briefing. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)