Orange County School Board Bans Religious Groups From Distributing Books After Satanists Try To Giveaway A Coloring Book

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

In January 2013, students at many public high schools in Orange County, Florida, were offered Bibles by World Changers of Florida, Inc. Though students were not forced to take a copy, the Orange County School Board agreed the distribution was legal since non-Christian groups were also allowed to give out materials.

Shortly thereafter, the Central Florida Free Thought Community encountered resistance when they planned their own giveaway. The organization was barred from offering books such as Sam Harris‘ “Letter to a Christian Nation” and Ibn Warraq‘s “Why I am Not a Muslim.”

According to Patheos, the pro-separation of church and state group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit against the district in June 2013. However, the district relented and agreed to give atheists the right to distribute their own materials before the case went to court.

Last year, the Satanic Temple announced they would file a formal request to giveaway materials about Satanism in schools, namely a coloring book. This provoked the Orange County School Board to ban all outside groups from distributing books in November. 

"This really has, frankly, gotten out of hand," chairman Bill Sublette told the Orlando Sentinel. "I think we've seen a group or groups take advantage of the open forum we've had.”

Doug Mesner, co-founder and spokesman for The Satanic Temple, also told the Orlando Sentinel that the move reflected poorly on the Orange County School District. "It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices,” he said.

The Satanic Temple was the only group to submit a formal request. 

Sources: Patheos, Orlando Sentinel/ Image via The Satanic Temple