A Florida school district abandoned its plans to allow Christian groups to hand out Bibles after atheist groups threatened to distribute other controversial materials.
Orange County Public Schools had planned to allow outside religious groups to take part in Friday’s observance of Religious Freedom Day by giving Bibles to students who wished to take them. But they placed those plans on hold after the Satanic Temple and Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) said they would hand out pamphlets and coloring books promoting non-belief, reported WFTV-TV. The Satanic Temple intended to distribute the “Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities” to students, while the FFRF planned to give them pamphlets describing the Bible as “An X-Rated Book.”
The school board decided to review its policy about materials made available for students after the groups announced their plans. Atheist materials had previously been permitted, but the board changed its plans after the Satanic Temple asked to include its activity book. An attorney for the Christian groups said he was disappointed by the change in plans.
“It seems like the momentum right now is to a policy that would exclude all religious materials, which is unnecessary,” said attorney Roger Gannam.
But a spokesman for the FFRF said the protest worked exactly as intended.
“We don’t want our schools to become religious battlefields,” said David Williamson, of FFRF. “We’ve advocated all along to close the forum.”