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Case law important in religion debate

Robert Parker, Breckenridge

RE: Gideons ask local students: ‘Would you like a free Bible?’ (SDN, May 24)Thank you for publishing this story. I am a progressive Democrat, and as a matter of opinion, I think the “Religious Right” is neither Christian nor correct. However, as a case-based system of law, it is important to look at similar cases that have established prior precedent. For example, Peck v. Upshur County Board of Education. In this case, a school district with an “open forum” allowed the Gideons to make Bibles available. The court supported the School District’s policy allowing them to make their material available. There is at least one difference. In Peck, no representative was allowed to stand next to the table, but a sign was posted “Please feel free to take one”. And in ruling, the Court ordered another sign be posted that the district neither supported nor endorsed the material. Mr. Brady is correct that if the school district considers itself an “open forum” then any group that wishes to make available information must be allowed to do so. Thus, if Wicca offers to make available information, then so be it. Yes, there are Contextual differences between the Bible and dictionary. To maintain neutrality for or against religion, the school district must not base decisions based on context.There are numerous other cases that discuss religion and public education. I highly encourage people to research this topic and discuss it publicly and privately. As it turns out, the Bill of Rights and Case Law are important and interesting.


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