On Wednesday, January 16, a Christian group delivered copies of the Holy Bible to public schools throughout Orange County, Florida. In response, an Atheist group in Orange County is putting together reading material of their own to distribute. In fact, Orange County officials have already approved of the Central Florida Freethought Community’s right to distribute atheist and agnostic material to Orange County High Schools.
A member of the atheist group, David Williamson said, "’I can tell you our message is more offense to believers than their message is to us’" (KMBC.com 1).
In reality, the Freethought society is trying to prove a point: That schools need to remain as secular entities, and that religious beliefs of any kind should not be brought in from groups outside of the school.
"’Our goal is to have this stop,’ Williamson said. ‘Our message is one of secularism, an absence of God, and that's something people don't want to hear. So maybe the school board will realize there shouldn't be an open forum’” (KMBC.com).
Speculation surrounding the issue is that the representatives from the Freethought Community will not have any direct contact with students; they will simply leave their reading materials available for students to access.
The Christian group from the Wednesday visit, “was only permitted to place copies of the Bible on tables” (KMBC.com 1). The Christian group was not allowed to speak with the teens, so most likely the same protocol will be upheld for the group distributing the information regarding atheist and agnostic beliefs.
The reality is, when public schools open up opportunities for Christian groups to congregate or worship, even if it is not during school hours, they leave themselves open for groups of other faiths to claim their right to hold the same kinds of gatherings and ceremonies. It is a slippery slope, one that public schools can avoid just by not allowing religious groups of any kind to use their facilities.
“Atheists Take Turn at Distributing Literature to Students.” www.kmbc.com Jan. 17, 2013.