FOLSOM, Calif. – Today, atheists’ worst nightmare is coming true.
Students are bringing their Bibles to schools by the thousands.
The Colorado-based group Focus on the Family is working to encourage as many as 100,000 students across the United States to bring the Scripture to school and share it with their friends. The “Bring Your Bible to School Day” event is intended to highlight the fact that students’ religious freedoms are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“We hear from many students who want to be open about their faith and exercise their religious freedoms at school, but don’t know they are allowed to,” Focus on the Family education analyst Candi Cushman told the Gaston Gazette.
“When we let them know they don’t have to hide their beliefs, they feel empowered to do what’s always been on their hearts: to bring their Bibles to school and use their free time to publicly live out their faith,” she said. “That’s why this event strikes a chord. Last year about 8,000 students participated and this year we expect that number to grow exponentially.”
“Students’ freedom to express their faith at school is an issue that’s really close to our hearts,” said Michael Tait, Newsboys lead singer. “Our newest song, ‘Guilty,’ deals directly with this topic. That’s also why we’re supporting the thousands of students participating in ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.’”
Of course, the event has already prompted complaints from some parents.
The Folsom Cordova School District in California sent an email to the families of all of its 20,000 students about today’s event and the response was not good.
“Religion should be taught at home, with their church or whatever their beliefs are, but their beliefs should be separate from the public school system,” parent Al Ernst told KCRA.
District officials told the news site attorneys advised that not distributing the Focus on the Family flyer for Bring Your Bible to School Day could be construed as discriminatory against Christians. Officials said the flyer also met the district’s criteria for distribution, despite a quote from Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light shine.”
The district’s policy states “Materials shall not be distributed to students or advertised in school-sponsored publications if they: Discriminate against, attack or denigrate any group on account of gender, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or any other unlawful consideration; or promote one group over another.”
The Sacramento Jewish Community Relations Council thinks the flyer promoted Christianity over other religions.
Students toting their Bibles to class in plain sight “will not only make Jewish children feel uncomfortable, but those that are Hindu, those that are Muslim, those that have pretty much no faith that they practice,” SJCRC director Jessica Braverman told KCRA.
Local pastor Chan Kim, whose children attend district schools, said he thinks that sending the flyer was a bad idea.
“It’ll cause problems, because where do you draw the line, where do you stop?” Kim said.
While the event is causing a commotion in some school districts, residents in other areas worked to educate their neighbors ahead of time.
Webberville, Michigan resident Olivia Verfaillie wrote a letter to the editor of the Livingston Daily yesterday to explain what ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’ is all about and ensure parents and school officials understand why it’s important.
From the Livingston Daily:
Christian students attending public schools, all the way to college level, have the right, which is guaranteed within the Constitution’s First Amendment, to participate in and promote “Bring Your Bible to School Day” on Thursday, Oct. 8. This is an annual, nationwide, religious freedom event, student-initiated and student-led, when students will bring their Bibles to school and discuss the Bible with fellow classmates during non-instructional time.
“Separation of church and state” is not a reason to ban student religious expression. Atheists would like Christians to believe that the US Constitution insists on this separation. This is a myth. Our founding fathers’ intention: freedom of religion, not freedom from religion; government (the state) should not control religion.
School board fears litigation? Indeed, there may be litigation if the board does not allow students to voluntarily take their Bibles to school on Oct. 8 to exercise and celebrate free-speech and religious freedom.
For verification, contact Focus on the Family (sign up on the web to participate and download a free student guide); Alliance Defending Freedom; and, yes, even the US Department of Education.