Atheist Group Files Complaint Against NC Elementary School Over Gideon Bible Distribution

(Photo: FFRF)A copy of The Gideons International Bible normally placed in hotel rooms.

A Wisconsin-based atheist group has filed a complaint against a North Carolina elementary school that allowed the distribution of Gideon Bibles to fourth and fifth-grade students inside the school.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the complaint letter last Friday to Carrabus County Schools Superintendent Chris Lowder.

In the letter, FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott wrote that his organization had received reports that Gideon Bibles were distributed at Charles E. Boger Elementary School last month.

"It is unconstitutional for public school districts to allow the Gideons to distribute Bibles as part of the public school day," wrote Elliott.

"Public schools have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion and to protect the rights of conscience of young and impressionable students."

Ronnye P. Boone, director of communications for Cabarrus County Schools, told The Christian Post on Thursday that the school district's attorneys were "looking into the matter."

The FFRF letter referenced the case Tudor v. Board of Education of Borough of Rutherford, a New Jersey Supreme Court decision from 1953 that the United States Supreme Court allowed to stand.

In the Tudor decision, the state's high court ruled against the Gideons, arguing that to allow the distribution of a sectarian book was to violate religious freedom.

"To permit the distribution of the King James version of the Bible in the public schools of this State would be to cast aside all the progress made in the United States and throughout New Jersey in the field of religious toleration and freedom," read the ruling.

"We would be renewing the ancient struggles among the various religious faiths to the detriment of all. This we must decline to do."

Allison J. Davis, spokesperson for The Gideons International, provided CP with a statement, saying, "we have received similar complaints [in past years] to which we choose not to respond."

"The Gideons International distributes Scriptures in public areas that have been approved or places where we have been invited," noted the Gideon statement.

"We operate in accordance with the respected laws and guidelines of the United States and many other countries, territories, and possessions, where we are organized."

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