A Mississippi school district is in hot water after it invited a Christian pastor to deliver a prayer at a school function, in violation of a court order. But the best (worst) part of this story is the district’s excuse for the violation: its administrators are incapable of understanding the First Amendment.
When I was in college, we could always tell when the relentless western Pennsylvania winter was finally losing its grip by two key events: A roving evangelist would appear on campus and scream at women he thought were immodestly attired, and the Gideons would stand outside the cafeteria and pass out copies of the New Testament.
I didn't mind taking one. After all, I was an adult and it was my choice. But in looking it over, I noticed one thing: The first few pages emphasized the passage John 3:16. Many fundamentalists see this verse as the key to becoming "born again."
Before American service personnel head off for training, they must make a final stop a Military Entrance Processing Station to have a final physical exam, take the oath of office for joining the armed forces and get their own copy of the Bible.
That's right. Some of these stations have allowed Gideons International, the group well-known for providing Bibles in hotel rooms around the world, special access to our troops.
Jewish students at a public school in Plano, Texas, say they have been pressured by classmates to pick up copies of the New Testament and taunted if they didn't.
For as long as anyone can remember, South Iron R-1 School District in rural Missouri gave Gideons International exclusive access to students in fifth-grade classrooms. The missionaries were allowed to come in, give a short presentation and hand out Bibles to the children.
No one really objected until 2005, when a parent saw the Bible her daughter brought home had a signature line under the declaration: "My Decision to Receive Christ as My Saviour."