Atheists to Distribute Literature at Fla. Public Schools in Response to Bible Giveaway

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    (Photo: AP Images / Alexandre Meneghini)
    A worker arranges a pile of Bibles recently produced in a printing plant in Barueri, 30 miles north of Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 8, 2004.
By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
January 18, 2013|9:12 am

A Florida-based atheist group has recently announced its plans to dispense literature to students at 11 Orange County public high schools.

Central Florida Freethought claims a Collier County court ruling allows the group to dispense atheist-themed literature after the conservative group World Changers of Florida, Inc. distributed bibles in the lunchrooms of these same 11 high schools earlier this week.

The Central Florida Freethought organization reportedly issued a letter to Orange County Public Schools to refute its policy of allowing outside groups on school premises, and vowed to dispatch similar volunteer groups to provide literature should the policy remain.

"The county has invited people in now to do this, and what we need to do is put the views of the biblical creationists into perspective with our perspective," David Williamson, an organizer of the Central Florida Freethought community, told Fox News Orlando.

"It's not tit for tat. Our effort is to ensure the county realizes this is the wrong policy," Williamson added.

Williamson added to the Orlando Sentinel that he would rather see the school district modify its policies so that no religiously-affiliated group can disperse materials on school grounds, but until then, his atheist organization "[wants] to be on a level playing field."

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The Central Florida Freethought group is reportedly affiliated with the more widely-known Freedom From Religion Foundation, and plans to distribute books entitled "Why Jesus?", "What is a Free Thinker?" and "Why Women Need Freedom from Religion" at the public high schools.

On Jan. 16, volunteers from World Changers of Florida, Inc. distributed bibles in Orange County high schools.

The conservative group earned permission to distribute bibles after it successfully sued Collier County in 2010, when the county attempted to bar the group from distributing religious material.

According to a memo previously provided to The Christian Post by Media Relations for Orange County Public Schools, those who distributed the bibles on Wednesday followed the guidelines of school policy, which included background checks on volunteers.

Additionally, volunteers could only participate in "passive distribution," meaning they can leave an unmanned display table on school grounds where students would congregate, and may only be present at the tables to replenish the Bible stock.

Diego "Woody" Rodriguez, general counsel for the Orange County School District, ensured the Christian News Network that the policy will stand and continue to impose strict regulations on what type of literature can be distributed on school campuses.

"Anything that contains pornographic material, any references to advertising, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or anything disruptive to school district and their educational facility [is prohibited]," Rodriguez told the media outlet.

 

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