After a Colorado school district's decision to allow a Christian group to distribute Bibles on school grounds, the same district has agreed to distribute Satanic and atheist literature as well, under pressure from atheist groups.
The Delta County School District in Colorado met criticism from parents when it gave out Gideon Bibles to students at an event that was sponsored by Gideon. The school received complaints that the move violated the separation of church and state, and the case gained the attention of several atheist advocacy organizations, reports World Religion News.
The pamphlets, which were distributed to students at the beginning of April, included a pamphlet titled "It's Okay Not To Believe In God!" and a coloring book from The Satanic Temple, "The Satanic Children's Big Book Of Activities," according to the Huffington Post.
"If I told you that I had a purple elephant living in my backyard, would you believe it?" asks "It's Okay Not To Believe In God!" created by the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, an organization advocating for the separation of church and state in Colorado. "People make similar claims that God exists somewhere in the sky or in the universe," reads the brochure.
Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group that has sued other school districts for similar policies, was the driving force behind distributing the Satanic and Atheist literature. The FFRF became involved after hearing about complaints from parents in the district through the WCAF. Anne Waldman, the founder of the WCAF, said that there were also reports of students bullying those who refused to take Bibles.
The school district agreed to distribute the literature in order to avoid an expensive legal battle with FFRF, as well as to promote religious diversity and expose students to different faiths.
"We do not think schools should be a battleground for religious ideas," said Andrew Seidel, FFRF's attorney, in a letter to the school district. "But when schools allow the Gideons to prey on children, their message of eternal damnation for any who don’t believe in their god must be countered."
Sources: World Religion News, Huffington Post / Photo credit: Freedom From Religion Foundation via Huffington Post