Bibles in School

Did you know that in Orange County, FL (Orlando), there is a group that is legally distributing Christian Bibles in the public schools? Matthew Stavers, who represents the book distributing group, is upset because another group is asserting its right to distribute its religious texts in the public schools.

The new religious group demanding the same access is called “The Satanic Temple” and they hope to distribute materials including their forthcoming “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.” This is a situation that brings into glaring focus the reasoning behind the need for a strict interpretation of the Separation of Church and State.

As a public entity, public schools should not be promoting one religion over another. Schools should not be elevating or tolerating religious education or proselytization on its campuses. Bible distribution is one of those activities that clearly crosses the line of a strict interpretation of the principle.

The Satanic Temple demonstrates the danger of allowing religion on campus. This issue has nothing to do with religious people attending a public school but has everything to do with the promotion of a religion in a given public school. Religious people should be able to attend public school without fear of threat or ridicule for their beliefs and also, without fear of proselytization by other religions while on campus.

The Satanic Temple is a protest, a perfectly legal and legitimate one that demonstrates the absurdity of the Orange County Public School System. Lucian Greaves, who is the spokesman for The Satanic Temple is quoted by a reporter at WFTV Orlando as admitting, “The whole point here is not indoctrination but rather counter-indoctrination.”

This episode is another example of why proselytism needs to be kept off of school grounds.

The sad news is how old this battle in Orange County is. I grew up in this county and they were distributing “Bibles” that were only The New Testament when I was in elementary school. This is decades of nonsense.

By Glenn Jacob

Rabbi, Community Leader, Fundraiser, Board Development, Non-profit management, strategic planning, educator, writer, and editor.

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