In Maryland: A Bible Club for children is prohibited from handing out meeting notices to students. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the prohibition a violation of free speech. Much like the Missouri case profiled below, according to school policy, the Bible Club need only request to distribute their materials. The school took the position that a “third party” needed to approve the request, like the PTA, any sports team…or any government agency. The Bible Club is allowed to meet after school on school property, but is not allowed to notify parents of meeting dates. Decision of the second appeal is pending.
In Los Angeles: A police sergeant was denied promotions (9 times the sergeant claims) and demoted because he quoted scripture on off-duty hours. His lawsuit alleges that this is common practice for the LAPD. The sergeant, when off-duty, is a senior pastor. At the request of an officer’s family, he conducted funeral services for the officer, and he quoted Corinthians 6, which mentions the “unrighteous:” fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminates, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. The officer was in civilian clothing, off-duty and “in a church outside the city.”The objection of the LAPD seemed to be the reference to the “effeminates.”
In Missouri: A judge ruled that Bibles cannot be handed out to students who want them, but the Koran can be. Here’s the rest of the story:
The Gideons, the oldest Christian business and “professional mens association in the U.S. is prohibited from distributing free and unsolicited Bibles to students who want them in Missouri.
The South Iron School District’s policy is that outside literature by “various groups under set rules, irrespective of whether the literature is secular or religious” is allowed, and this policy includes accepting materials from atheisits, communists, gay rights, etc.,” if a group so requests.
According to WorldNetDaily:
Judge Catherine Perry [in a trial court ruling] issued an order specifically prohibiting distribution of the Bible, and the Bible alone, after calling it an “instrument of religion.”
She said the district’s neutral treatment of literature is unacceptable, because it actually would allow the distribution of the Bible.
Matthew Starver argued the case before the 8th circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, on behalf of the school district.
The veto power, the judge wrote, must be provided to veto religious, but not secular, literature.
According to Starver, Perry’s ruling legislated that a “private third party (like the ACLU)” had the right to veto the distribution request of the private applicant (in this case, the Gideons).
Staver said the Constitution simply doesn’t allow the Bible to be singled out, like contraband, for special penalties.
How ironic [Starver said] that in America, until recent times, the Bible formed the basis of education, and now its mere presence is radioactive in the opinion of some judges,” he said. “The Founders never envisioned such open hostility toward the Christian religion as we see today in some venues. To single out the Bible alone for discriminatory treatment harkens back to the Dark Ages. America deserves better. Our Constitution should be respected, not disregarded.
The Quran is OK, and other kinds of religious texts; just not the Bible. The Bible alone is impermissible in the public school,” he said.
The ACLU initiated the challenge in 2006. According to Starver, a decision is not expected for about two months.