Alliance Defending Freedom has sent letters to Kentucky public schools reaffirming the rights of Gideons International to distribute literature in public schools the same way other groups are permitted to do so. According to ADF,
“Alliance Defending Freedom sent 174 school districts in Kentucky a follow-up legal letter Wednesday after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened them for the second time with litigation if they have refused to ban literature distribution by the Gideons at their schools. The letter notes that Alliance Defending Freedom’s previous letter to the school districts forced the ACLU to reluctantly admit that there are constitutionally permissible ways in which Gideons Bibles may be distributed on campus.”
If public schools permit outside groups to distribute material legally on campus through certain means, they cannot discriminate against certain groups on the basis of religion. To do so, as ADF points out, “would be flatly unconstitutional.”
You may recall a similar situation that developed in Vilonia, AR, earlier this year when public school officials decided not to allow youth ministers to visit campus–even though other adults who did not work for religious organizations were free to obtain visitor passes from the school office.
That decision was a reaction to a letter sent from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation alleging the school could not legally permit pastors on campus. Ultimately, after consulting with attorneys, school officials determined if they allowedvisitors on campus, they could not bar religious visitors from campus while permitting nonreligious, and adopted a policy clarifying any confusion over the school district’s on-campus visitor programs.