In North Carolina, students at the North Windy Ridge Intermediate School were told that they could pick up a free Bible, donated by the Gideons. When Ginger Strivelli’s son came home with a new Bible, she decided to offer her own free copies of sacred books. She is a pagan and brought pagan spell books to the office. She was turned away (though I expect spell books in the age of Harry Potter would be snatched up like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans). The Buncombe County Board of Education now says that it will reexamine its policies. However, this only came after a non-Christian religion asked for the same access to schools.
Strivelli was turned away after she was told that the Gideons like any other religion was free to make the bibles available.
We have previously seen controversies over such programs in public schools. I have no problem with various religious books being available in libraries at schools so long as there is an array of different faiths represented. However, the use of the principal’s office to distribute free bibles sends a clear message of endorsement and entanglement, particularly when other faiths are excluded. I fail to see how a principal or a school board would not see the constitutional implications of such a practice. I also do not see why, with the myriad of other pressing issues for our schools, administrators cannot leave faith to parents and families.
Yet, some individuals like Bobby Honeycutt insist that “[o]ur country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, not on Wiccan principles.” While I would not argue that the Framers contained any practicing Wiccans, I believe our country was found on principles of pluralism and equality. The school district needs to end the use of school offices and officials in the distribution of religious material . . . and reexamine how such constitutional violations could occur without being flagged by counsel or administrators. It should not take a mother to force the issue for the district to comply with constitutional principles.
Source: News Observer