Right-wing Christians will say they appreciate religious freedom, but it’s always with a wink and a nod. Anyone who knows them knows better than to believe that lie, and it’s incidents like the one in Orange County, Florida, that engender this distrust.
According to the School Board, religious expression in schools is fine so long as Christians are the ones doing it; once other members of our pluralistic society enter into the equation, though, it’s time to shift the paradigm a bit.
Sharing, like respect, manners, and basic socialization, is apparently something right-wing Christians are adverse to.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Orange County School Board moved away from allowing outside groups to distribute religious materials on Thursday, which is a victory in and of itself in this Christ-haunted, religion-addled country. Prior to the change, the school board didn’t have a problem with World Changers, an evangelical group, handing out Bibles on multiple separate occasions in the school. They were going to hand out the Bibles again, and had already purchased copies of the New International Version to be handed out in 18 of the district’s high schools. The school board called it an “open forum.”
Unsurprisingly, it turns out their forum was as open as North Korea’s border. When Satanists announced that they were going to distribute an activity book that included coloring pages, a maze, a word jumble, other educational materials, lessons in morality, and so forth, the game changed. According to School Board chairman Bill Sublette, it meant that the situation had “gotten out of hand” and that the Satanists were going to “take advantage of the open forum” the school had.
Clearly, as you can see, this activity book is just brimming with offensive and inappropriate materials.
It just chaps their ass to know they live in a society that doesn’t 100% share their same religious views, doesn’t it? Notice how they never said that World Changers was “taking advantage” of their forum. The minute someone with a different outlook and religion gets involved, things get “out of hand.”
Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple spokesman, noted that it would be a first exposure for many children to Satanism; Greaves felt that many students would be “very curious” to see what the temple offered. He added:
If a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students — as is the case in Orange County, Florida — we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation also announced that they were going to distribute materials, including an eye-catching pamphlet that would almost certain draw the attention of teens, called “An X-Rated Book: Sex and Obscenity in the Bible.” The cover, appropriately enough, features the image of a Bible sexually assaulting a woman.
Anyone familiar at all with the Bible knows this is hardly offensive. This is the book where Lot’s daughters got him drunk and raped him to have his children. This is the book that features lines more graphic than anything you’d fined in erotica (Ezekiel, as a general rule, is pretty wild, but 23:20 takes the donkey-sized cake). As far as I’m concerned, this book is effectively disqualified from any sort of moralizing at all.
The FFRF is on sold ground, as their attorney, Andrew Seidel, pointed out:
I think if you look at the content of that brochure and what is actually in the Bible, and some of the things that are in the Bible in terms of sex and compare that to the cover [of the pamphlet], the cover is pretty tame compared to anything that is in the Bible.
The sudden change has made a lot of people unhappy; invoking the persecution complex right wing Christians are well known for, World Changers described the policy shift as “an attack on Christians” and likened it to the district’s decision in August to ban football chaplains at the school — a policy amended after they received complaints of Christians using the events to proselytize.
Greaves is also unhappy, and noted the obvious by saying: “It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices.”
Board member Christine Moore openly admits that the cause for the shift is the result of non-Christian interest in the so-called “open forum,” saying that “everyone” was upset about the “Satanists and the atheists coming.”
Having to share; imagine that. The indignity of it all.
h/t Addicting info