IFAS | Freedom Writer | June/July 1991 | bibles.html

Gideon Bibles in the schools

In December of 1989, action initiated by the Freedom Writer ended the Gideons' 40-year tradition of Bible distribution in the Rapides Parish School District of Alexandria, Louisiana. Since 1950, when the New Jersey Supreme Court banned Bible distri bution in New Jersey public schools, courts have ruled against the practice.

However, this past May, a federal judge in Lafayette, Indiana ruled in favor of permitting the Gideons to distribute Bibles in its district's public schools. In his ruling, Judge Allen Sharp said that the distribution of Gideon Bibles is "no more an endor sement of Christianity than allowing Little League baseball to disseminate its materials is an endorsement of the national pastime." The policy of the Renssalaer School District is to allow all groups, "except Satan worshipers," to distribute their materi als and address the student body.

Although, at present, the ruling is binding in that federal district, we predict that Judge Sharp will be reversed on appeal.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.