Plano ISD Violating Separation of Church and State?by
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that:
Some Plano students who are Jewish say they were pressured or taunted to pick up copies of the New Testament from school display tables during recent weeks.
Their parents have called for changes in district policies that allow outside groups to distribute materials on campus.
The Gideons International has set up tables offering copies of the New Testament. The district isn’t violating the law by allowing this — as the story notes, “a judge’s order prevents [the district] from excluding groups based on their beliefs” — but the practice does bother some students.
“Probably the one I heard the most was, ‘If the Bible touched you, like, will you burn or something?’ ” said Jeffrey Lavine, 16, a sophomore at Vines High School. “I sort of played it down as a joke and everything, which it was, but it was definitely a meaner comment than what we’re used to.”
Plano has been a hotbed of controversy regarding religious freedom, resulting in a number of lawsuits.
Which brings to mind this recent quote from Lauren Smith, an associate communications director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Last week, in a final blog post before she leaving for law school, she detailed what she’s learned while at AU. Excerpt:
Not only have I learned that education is essential, I’ve learned that teaching is the best teacher. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share and expand my knowledge of religious liberty issues.
. . .
. . . people’s reckless disregard for the truth hampers constructive discussions about church-state separation.
She also details the accusations and vitriol those of us working to protect religious freedom receive rather regularly.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to watch a week’s worth of religious-right television.[H/T The Wall of Separation, AU’s blog]