It had the makings of a potentially fiery situation. Christians and atheists were poised to go head-to-head in Kentucky's Boone County School system, where two theologically opposed organizations were granted permission to hand out literature on the last day of the school year.
Gideon International, a Christian group, apparently intended to give out Bibles Tuesday, while Tri-State Freethinkers, a local atheist organization, was slated to distribute "The Young Atheists Survival Guide," a book written by blogger Hemant Mehta, the Christian Post reported.
The school district permitted both groups to give out their books, so long as they weren't distributed on campus and were, instead, handed out in the public right of way near the district's four high schools.
But as it turns out, Gideons apparently didn't show up to distribute literature. It's unclear why the Christian group, which has reportedly passed out Bibles in the past, didn't show, but that didn't stop atheists from setting up shop and dialoguing with students.
Tri-State Freethinkers originally decided to hand out the atheist book after parents reportedly complained that Boone County Schools had given Gideons permission to distribute Bibles.
The school board voted last month to allow both groups, citing the Constitution as the basis for extending permission to atheists as well as Christians.
"We cannot allow any groups like this within the schools because the federal court has ruled that unconstitutional," district spokeswoman Barbara Brady told Cincinnati.com. "We also can't deny them access to the public right of way."
Mehta has actively commented on the decision to allow atheists to distribute his book, recently writing, "I suppose we should all also thank the Gideons folks for giving us the opportunity to cleanse people of whatever the Bible is supposed to teach them, though I would be much happier if they just stopped the public school distributions altogether."
(H/T: Christian Post)
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