The First Amendment Guarantees Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, the Press… but not Comfort

A few months back #BringYourBible to School Day made headlines, and not surprisingly, stirred up some controversy. The event, sponsored by Focus on the Family, was intended to educate and remind families that children can, in fact, bring their Bible to school for reading during non-instruction times. With all the ruckus about “separation of church and state” many do not even realize we still have that protected right!

One California school district sent a notice about the event to all families via email. As you might expect, they received concerned responses:

One parent wrote:

“Religion should be taught at home, with their church or whatever their beliefs are, but their beliefs should be separate from the public school system.”

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Hmmm… he must not have read the flyer completely. This was not about teaching religion, though it could be construed as a Constitutional lesson, because even kids are covered by the 1st Amendment protections on school campuses.

A Jewish center spokesperson said:

“It will not only make Jewish children feel uncomfortable, but those that are Hindu, those that are Muslim, those that have pretty much no faith that they practice.”

I’m sorry to hear that. But no one guaranteed anyone the right to feel comfortable all the time. How about those children who feel uncomfortable because they think they CAN’T read their Bible at school? And why would someone BRINGING a religious book to school cause discomfort? The same protections afforded Christians to bring their Bibles are also afforded Jews and Muslims to read their Holy texts on campus. Maybe they should follow suit and bring their own… maybe that’d make them feel more comfortable.

Bible ConstitutionAnd then there’s this Christian pastor who opposed it:

“It’ll cause problems, because where do you draw the line, where do you stop?”

This man, whose primary job is to spread the gospel (teach what’s in the Bible), doesn’t think bringing the Bible to school is a good idea. Why? Because other people might be allowed to bring their “stuff” on campus!!! So he’s all in for censorship and regulation. He’d rather forego allowing kids on campus to read the Bible, if it means other kids might get to read some other non-Bible. That makes NO SENSE! If he’d take the time to read some of the smut that is ASSIGNED reading for the upper grades, maybe he’d reconsider his stance. Kids who want to read their Bible during non-instruction time should be allowed to, without penalty.

And to answer his question… the line stops where indicated in the school’s policy. This school’s policy was clearly written.

What wasn’t clear from news accounts was WHO initiated the flyer being circulated? If it was a school club and/or was student initiated, it’s perfectly legal. Just as a promoting a #BringYourTorah or #BringYourQuran day would be… and every other day of the year can be #BringYourAtheistText day… that’s pretty much the status quo.



From the Real Side with Joe Messina

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