gideons bibleSometimes you read a news story, and you just can't believe that it's even something that could happen in 2012 U.S.A. This is one of those stories. Intermediate public school, North Windy Ridge in North Carolina's Buncombe County, is currently getting heat for a bunch of Bibles that evangelical group Gideons International had delivered to the school office. Apparently, the school thought it would be a-okay to allow interested students to stop by and pick them up.

But Ginger Strivelli, who practices Witchcraft, a form of Paganism, was understandably caught off guard when her son came home with a Bible. She voiced her concern to the principal, and he assured her that the school wasn't in the habit of making just Christian bibles available. Oh no, apparently any religious texts donated by any group could be distributed. But when Strivelli showed up at the school with pagan spell books, she was turned away.

Surprised?

I'm not. Seems to me this is just another example of how many people are okay with freedom of religion and religious diversity ... just as long as the religions being expressed or promoted fit in line with their idea of conventional and acceptable. Unfortunately for Strivelli, the religion she happens to practice didn't fit the bill.

The thing is ... the First Amendment gives public schools the choice to distribute all/any religious materials or none at all. Thus, rejecting Strivelli's religious texts while distributing the Gideons International ones is unacceptable, according to legal experts. In other words, picking and choosing isn't gonna fly.

The only true solution: Saying abso-freakin'-lutely "NO" to any religious material being distributed in public schools. Hmm ... you would think that would be the obvious protocol, given the separation of church and state. Hopefully it's the conclusion the Buncombe County Board of Education draws when they meet on February 2 to discuss the issue.

Do you think public schools should be allowed to distribute religious materials?


Image via Sento/Flickr