Friday, June 14, 2013

Suit Claims Discriminatory Treatment In Censorship of Atheist Materials Handed Out In Schools

As previously reported, last month the Central Florida Freethought Community made materials on Atheism available to students in eleven Orange County, Florida high schools.  This was permitted in order to allow them the same privilege as was given to World Changers of Florida which handed out Bibles in the schools in February. Now, however, the free thought group's parent body (FFRF) has filed a lawsuit claiming that their literature faced censorship while World Changers did not.  The complaint (full text) in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Orange County School Board, (MD FL, filed 6/13/2013), charges that school officials allowed FFRF to distribute only 11 of 20 of the books and pamphlets it submitted. The others were prohibited as age inappropriate or because they would create substantial disruption.  In particular one publication was disallowed because its claim that Jesus was not crucified or resurrected made it age inappropriate, even though the Bibles distributed expresses an opposite viewpoint on the same issue. The suit claims unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, prior restraint and violation of the equal protection clause. Freedom From Religion Foundation issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.