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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:52 PM
Original message
Poll question: Should religious flyers be distributed on public school grounds?
Woman Sues Schools Over Bible Flyers

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/education/16962276/deta...

Suit Claims First Amendment Rights Violated

POSTED: 6:18 am EDT July 23, 2008

CONCORD, N.H. --

A woman has sued the Hudson, N.H., School District, saying the superintendent was
wrong to reject her intention to distribute vacation Bible school flyers to students.

Patricia Regan claims that Superintendent Randy Bell rejected the flyers because
of their religious content.


In her suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Concord, she said the district has permitted
other nonprofit groups like drama and soccer clubs and the Cub Scouts to distribute flyers.

The suit said her First Amendment rights have been violated.

A phone message and e-mail left for Bell were not immediately returned Monday night.


Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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Parche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hell NO
How would she like Islam flyers, or Jewish Flyers, or Atheist Flyers

:grr: :hi:
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loveable liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. I would expect her not to whine when they were handed out also...
Maybe have her list all the different religious camps on hers then too. Then we have a choice of which camps we wouldnt send our kids.
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Clark2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. I voted "not sure" because my son's school
distributes flyer for summer camps from any religious or non-religious entities in the community who want to advertise their camps.

My son is at a chruch camp (not VBS) this week. Yes, I'm aware they have worship and, since I'm Christian, it doesn't bother me.

For the record, there's only one mosque in my town and it's on the other side of town, so I doubt they would ever try to put flyers for camp in our school, but the Jewish organizations do and no one bats an eyelash.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. "I doubt they would ever try to put flyers for camp in our school"
Maybe because they feel your school discriminates?

:shrug:



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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
23. Atheism is not a religious group
If you don't believe me, try calling it a religion in R/T and see what response you get. Flyers for Islam, Judaism, etc, however, are fine.
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Parche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. I KNow
But it always gets them!! :woohoo: :hi:
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 03:16 AM
Response to Reply #32
94. I'm an agnostic.
Will you capital A Atheists accept me into your "religion"?
:rofl:
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
38. It's not her place to decide
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loveable liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. No harm in distributing flyers... others do it all the time...
I would never send my kids to indoctrination camp though. Aint no thang...
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. There is a harm - it violates our Constitutional rights when a government official allows
recruitment by a religious group.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
19. Only if they favour one over another
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #19
45. Apparently the superintendent felt it did favor one over the other.
:shrug:

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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #45
57. "It" being what? Their district?
Somehow I doubt the Super. declared their school district's policies unConstitutional. We're not talking about individual flyers, here, but the attitude of the school toward all comers.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. Yes we are talking about a religious flyer for a bible school.
It depends on what was on the flyer.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #58
67. You have misunderstood
Me: it isn't unConstitutional if it doesn't favour one group over another

You: Maybe the Superintendent thought it did

Me: I doubt a Superintendent would declare that their policies are unConstitutional

You see, it's obvious that a single flyer for any group may favour that group over others. That isn't what we're talking about (well, it isn't what I'M talking about). It wouldn't even make sense for each flyer to include some disclaimer about other groups being just as good. If the POLICY does not favour one group over another, then it is fine. And no Superintendent is going to say, in defending their decisions, that they're acting against the Constitution. So I doubt that was their reasoning.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #9
37. Which of our Constitutional right does it harm?
:shrug:
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. Drama and Soccer clubs are clubs organized by the school itself ...
and the Cub Scouts use the school property for some of their activities.

If you are not on school property and not a distraction or a hazard, then you can hand them out.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Many sports clubs are NOT run by the schools
Little League and Pop Warner football are two well-known examples.

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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
60. I did not know that ...
I sit corrected.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
47. The soccer clubs here are organized outside the school. n/t
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freesqueeze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. All she needs is a reminder that
there are other religions out there that would love to reach those captive children...

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panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. My local K-8 grade school has religious (Baptist) services on Sunday.
While i'm fairly sure there is some fee for the use of the facilities, I am also fairly sure they wouldn't rent to a Buddhist group or Muslim services.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
18. Why wouldn't they rent space to other religious groups?
:shrug:
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
71. Your evidence for this is what>?
How are you "fairly sure?"

Are you PREjudging?

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underseasurveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. HELL NO!
The last thing I'd want is anybody trying to cram their religious agenda/views down my child's throat when they're at school.
That's MY job :-)
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
27. While I see where you're coming from, mere exposure to
other ideas at school is not really cramming and is, to me, the whole point of school. People here seem to want their children sheltered from religion like RWers want their children sheltered from sex ed.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. I don't agree. Religion belongs in church,
due to all the different religions or lack there of in PUBLIC schools.

Those VBS's are recruitment "schools".
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. Which is why they cannot favour any one religion over another
That is what the law says. If it's so threatening, then homeschool your kids so they'll never be exposed to anything you find objectionable.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #34
41. they cannot favor one group over another.
Court rulings specified that schools can refuse to rent to religious groups,
but then they cannot rent to outside secular organizations as well.


http://www.religioustolerance.org/ps_pra9.htm#past

"In summary, the law guarantees students' fundamental religious freedoms
while requiring the school to maintain a religiously neutral environment."
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #41
72. Finally somebody who UNDERSTANDS the law
If they allow other groups to distribute flyers on campus, then they can't discriminate AGAINST religious groups.

That is (imo) an unconstitutional violation of the 1st.

Schools could ban (for example) ALL non-school groups from distributing literature on campus. Since that ban was not content based, it would pass scrutiny

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underseasurveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #27
54. I hardly sheltered my child from religion
As a matter of fact we've had many discussions about all kinds of religions and beliefs through out his growing up years. But whether or not I sheltered him or not from religion is not my point, it IS a personal thang and should be left in the privacy of families, not public schools.

The only way I'd say OK to advertising any religion at schools is if they allow ALL religions and beliefs to be seen and heard.

Otherwise like I said, it's my job but ultimately his decision to believe what he wants.
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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
7. Advertise your bible school at your church.
Don't use public school grounds to recruit or convert.

If this had said Coca-Cola was onsite advertising a summer camp, they would not have been allowed to do so.

It this had said a Muslim organization was advertising a summer camp, they would have probably been jailed.

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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. I agree. Hand them out at the library, the grocery store, etc.
Besides, I've seen many churches advertise the Bible camps and they have huge signs
in front of their churches every spring that you can't miss, imho!





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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. That's all I'm saying. :-)
They can use their tax-exempt property to advertise their school.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
40. I agree. Separation of Church and State needs to be respected.
Get your religion at church or at home, not a publicly funded institution, please.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #7
73. Evidence please
?
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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #73
76. Evidence of what?

My point was merely that because it's a Christian organization that it's considered "normal" and in a LOT of communities, they're invited. My public college was overrun regularly with different Christian organizations trying to get people to attend their church, handing out bibles, etc.

If a company sent representatives onto a school's property to advertise, they'd be removed. Some school districts take money from companies to fund their system because the local voters won't vote for an increase in taxes. So in places like Colorado Springs, CO, there were buses with Mountain Dew painted all over them because it was the only way to fund upkeep on those buses.

If a non-"normal" religion went on campus, it would be huge news as all of the "normal" tolerant types came out of the woodwork to protect the students from "terrorist recruiting" or however they'd refer to it.

I'm not judging any organization over any other. I'm saying it's public property and as such, private and exclusive companies should not be allowed on campus/school grounds to push their product. These private organizations have their own buildings, and their own budget to advertise in other places.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #76
77. And I'm saying
I see no evidence (in case law or elsewhere) to support your assumption about what would happen if a "non-normal" religion attempted to exercise their right to distribute flyers

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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #77
82. Ah. You can't exactly say you were "saying" something when all I got to work with was a "?"

:-)

So anyway, I guess I worded it badly. My point is, how would Christians behave if their kids came home with fliers for a Muslim, Wiccan, Satanic, Atheist, Spaghetti Monster summer camp?

In a lot of places in the USA, there would have been trouble. Not necessarily legal trouble, but I think we both know what kind of intolerance is out there these days.

So, you got me, I injected a little hyperbole as my way of trying to say "how would they like it if the shoe were on the other foot?" And it didn't work out so well for me. :-)

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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #82
87. I think they'd generally accept that we have religious freedom
Sorry for not being clear in my earlier post.


I think more importantly, it was The State (tm) that prohibited the free exercise in this case, specifically the principle iirc.

Intolerance is perfectly legal. For example, anybody could tell this lady with the flyers "I think your religion sucks". That's the 1st amendment.

Same goes for a muslim distributing flyers, or any other religion

What you can't do, cause it's unconstitutional, is use the power of the state to prohibit the religious person from distributing HER flyers while allowing other non-religious flyers.

That's content based discrimination.

The case law has been cited elsewhere, so I won't :)




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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
10. Only if other groups are permitted to do so
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Religion doesn't belong in a public school. n/t
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. That isn't a valid response to the post
If they do not favour one group over another, then they aren't doing anything unConstitutional. Your belief that religion "doesn't belong" is not relevant.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. Separation of church and state.
The fliers are selling a BIBLE Vacation School.

Not soccer, swimming lessons or basket weaving summer vacation school.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. To my knowledge, Jefferson's personal opinions
are as irrelevant as yours, because our actual governing document only declares that the state cannot establish/favour one religion over another.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #31
39. Your opinion is irrelevant about how irrelevant my opinion may or may not be....
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 03:40 PM by Breeze54
What the constitution prohibits: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ps_pra9.htm#past
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #39
59. You keep citing things that agree with me
What I'm posting in this thread is not opinion, it is Constitutional law.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #28
50. And the state cannot prohibit religion
You seem to be a big fan of the Establishment Clause, but are forgetting Free Exercise Clause.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #50
56. Public schools may not provide religious instruction but may teach about religion
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 04:13 PM by Breeze54
as in a history class but they can't teach religion.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #56
61. And how is that affected by these flyers?
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #61
81. See post # 53
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #56
62. The school was not providing religious instruction
Did you read the article?
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #62
84. You are commenting on a comment about another comment.
Please read the comments in sequence to gain understanding.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #21
74. Yup
And not only is it not relevant. It's not constitutional.

There's this pesky thing called a constitution. 1st amendment. You cannot discriminate based on religious content.

*if* they allow non-religious groups to spread flyers, they MUST allow religious groups.

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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #14
25. Actually, the Supreme Court ruled in 1981 that schools must be content neutral when allowing access
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
11. from "The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States"
"By contrast when religious activity in public schools results from choices by students, parents, or other private individuals, the Court has repeatedly held that the activity can or even must be permitted. The progression began with Widmar v. Vincent (1981), which held by an 8-1 vote that religiously oriented student organizations at a state University were entitled to the same access to meeting rooms as secular student groups."

ergo Patricia Regan should have the same access as other non-profit groups.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. But that's assuming all are willing participants.
This is about a public school. I doubt all the kiddies are of the same religion.
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. "...By contrast when religious activity in public schools..."
The previous post was about public schools, too.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #11
75. Thank you
This thread is 95% incorrect unsubstantiated opinion, and 5% actual relevant data.

You fall in that 5%

Thanks for that.

If I read one more post with the ignorant, unconstitutional claim that religion could be banned from school, or this woman didn't have the same right as other posters- i think I would scream.

Softly...

Cause my cat's sleeping

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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
22. In an ideal world, all groups should have equal access to hand out flyers at school.
I voted "other".

If atheists, wiccans, satanists, muslims, sikhs, jains and other minority religious groups were to have exactly the same access as mainstream christians then I think such flyers should be permitted.

Since we know that being completely evenhanded would be impossible in the political/cultural climate that exists in America today, then I have to say that no religious organizations should be able to hand out flyers in the schools.

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bigwillq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
26. No
Not at a public school.
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ncliberal Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
29. Absolutely not.
Religious flyers are not the same thing as flyers for the drama club or soccer club.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. Agreed and Welcome to DU, ncliberal !
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ncliberal Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. Hi! Thanks for the welcome but I've been here a long time.
I just don't post very much. :)
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #35
43. Then you're still "new" !
:P

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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #29
36. How are they different?
:shrug:
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #36
46. no one's come to the door lately to convert me to Arsenal.
Although I do expect redqueen to try some day.
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tkmorris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #46
52. How about Crystal Palace?
Come on, the real football is played in the lower divisions anyway. No overpaid prima donnas and fans that actually care.

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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #52
55. true.
Then again, the only soccer that seems to go on around here is part of that Upward thing ("every child is a winner!") and they'd probably think Crystal Palace is a drug.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #46
64. You lot are letting other feelings seep into this
that don't belong in this context. It doesn't matter what you feel about churches, evangelicals, door-to-door knockers, televangelists, or anything else. This is simply about school access.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #36
63. One is specifically proselytizing for a religion.
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 04:35 PM by Gormy Cuss
One isn't, but frankly since distributing any flyers for outside organizations is a tacit endorsement by the school none should be allowed to recruit within the schools.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #63
65. Presence is endorsement?
That makes no sense. And barring everything would INDEED be unConstitutional.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #65
70. Distributing recruitment flyers is more than just presence.
Denying that makes no sense.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
42. Is this just some random woman?
If free and critical thought are worth anything, then I don't see how a flyer is going to reshape the world into this bible school's image. I'm guessing the kids would just throw the flyers away anyway. It's not as if public school is some sacred ground where private interests haven't already come to be part of the scenery.

I don't have a problem with what the school did either. It's their place.

I guess it also depends on who the woman is. Is it just someone? A teacher? A schoolboard member?
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. How about the kids that aren't 'bible' oriented feel excluded? Maybe?
Besides, those VBS's teach religion!

Soccer schools don't. ;)
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #44
66. Maybe soccer makes non-athletic kids feel bad
If "feel(ing) excluded" is to be our measuring stick, a whole lot of things are going to have to be axed.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #66
89. Some kids that chose not to participate in religious activities are harassed.
http://www.atheists.org/publicschools/seattle.html

Students in some states/public school districts who chose to opt out of religious activities are
marginalized, insulted and harassed; in some cases, threats and physical violence have been used
against those students and their families.

For example:

In DeKalb County, Alabama, for instance, there have been recurrent problems involving student religious expression over a school public address system, in class rooms and at athletic events. Federal Judge Ira DeMent, who overturned Alabama's school prayer law, has had to admonish and warn Christian administrators that continued opposition to the guidelines he affirmed in his rulings could result in further legal action. The court has had to actually field "monitors" in these schools to insure that the First Amendment is recognized and to serve as information resources for any students, teachers or administrators who have questions. Unfortunately, not all public officials have cooperated with Judge DeMent. Alabama Governor Fob James has spoken favorably of those students and administrators who "resist" the court's order, and Attorney General Pryor has actively distorted the meaning of the guidelines. And in late July, 1998, a finding by one of the court-appointed monitors, Rev. Chriss Doss, a Baptist minister and educator at Samford University in Birmingham, raised questions about the involvement of a high school principal (Gary Carlyle, Sylvania High School) in encouraging students to join in reading "The Lord's Prayer" at a May 26 graduation ceremony, an activity that contravened the Federal court order pertaining to the separation of church and state.

In 1996 the Washington State Attorney General issued a ruling that officially sponsored prayer at public high school graduation ceremonies was unconstitutional after two students, one an Atheist and the other a Baptist, filed suit to stop the prayers.

In New York, a teacher was recently dismissed for allegedly leading her sixth-grade students in prayer and healing services. While she gave students who did not wish to engage in this activity the "option" of spending time on a classroom computer instead, her actions were nevertheless highly inappropriate and she was dismissed. Her case is on appeal.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the local school superintendent was the target of gunfire after suspending a principal in Jackson for allowing Christian prayers to be read over the school's public address system.

Again, in Mississippi, Lisa Herdahl's son was required to wear a football helmet, or musical headphones, or leave the room because he refused to participate in organized religious rituals with the majoritarian sect (Baptist). He was Lutheran.

In Oklahoma, Ms. Jo Ann Bell, a mother and homemaker, was assaulted in a parking lot and her home burned down after she protested school-sponsored religious activity.

In Dunn, N.C., Laurey and Rick Wyble received harassing phone calls, were called "communists", and were driven from their home for protesting sectarian bible classes in their son's public elementary school.

In Columbia, S.C., Henry Jordan, a state school board member, and member of the Christian Coalition, proposed the posting of a version of the Ten Commandments in the public schools. When asked about the sensitivities of minority religions to his suggestion, he remarked, "Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims - and put that in the minutes!"

Attempts by Christian-oriented groups such as Family Friendly Libraries to limit our children's access to library and internet resources continue unabated. They are entitled to impose such limits on their own children, but are they not legally empowered to make such choices for our children as well.

In May of this year the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon went to court on behalf of an Atheist family from Portland, to prevent the Portland School District from actively participating in the recruitment of Cub Scouts at Harvey Scott Elementary School. The suit was filed on behalf of Nancy Powell and her son, Remington Powell, who was in the second grade.

After-school staff assisted Cub Scout recruiters in placing wrist bands on students that urged them to join Cub Scout Pack 16.

The suit argued that the recruitment of students to join the Cub Scouts during school hours and on school property is unconstitutional because the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are required by the Boy Scouts of America to refuse membership to boys who do not "profess a belief in God, recognize an obligation to God and declare a duty to God."

In most school districts throughout the country, proper limits concerning the expression of religious beliefs by students are generally (but not always) observed.

If there is a lesson here, though, it is this:

Our public schools are considered not educational centers, but a locus for "culture war" battles waged by certain sectarian groups who seek to introduce prayer, religious proselytizing or inappropriate religious content into the public school curricula (such as "creationism," " bible history") and other extracurricular activities (such as sporting events, graduation ceremonies and other school- sponsored presentations).

In his letter of release of the guidelines on these issues dated August 10, 1995, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley wrote:

"At the same time, schools may not endorse religious activity or doctrine, nor may they coerce participation in religious activity. Among other things, of course, school administrators and teachers may not organize or encourage prayer exercises in the classrooms. And the right of religious expression in school does not include the right to have a 'captive audience' listen, or to compel other students to participate. School officials should not permit student religious speech to turn into religious harassment aimed at a student or a small group of students. Students do not have the right to make repeated invitations to other students to participate in religious activity in the face of a request to stop."


American Atheists has found that in many parts of the country, this admonition is simply ignored or circumvented; there are no independent enforcement mechanisms available to the victims of this harassment in public schools.
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #89
93. Yep. My niece went through a horrible time at a supposedly public school
that was chock full 'o' Aggressive Christians. Those kids were downright VICIOUS to her because she wasn't buying the fairy tales about Magical Jesus. She wasn't instigating any conversations on the subject; these kids would prod her ALL the time about being a "Believer" and about her going to Hell. This was in suburban Denver.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
48. Yes, just as soon as I can distribute Darwin's "Origin of the Species" in their churches...
We'll see how that goes over with the Christofascists...

WHAT??? God's House in on private property??? How could that be???
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AZ Criminal JD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
49. The school will lose the suit
This is a content restriction on First Amendment rights and courts don't allow it.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #49
53. It depends on what was in the flier....Did it contain "proselytizing language.?
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 04:06 PM by Breeze54
Third parties rights to distribute

Third parties likewise have a right to distribute religious literature in public schools; however, that right is more limited than that of the students. For example, in 1993 the 7th Circuit, in Berger by Berger v. Rensselaer Central School Corp., 982 F.2d 1160, found it unconstitutional for an elementary school to assemble fifth-graders every year to allow for the distribution of Bibles by the Gideons. That decision, issued less than a year before Hedges, recognized a concern that a fifth grader cannot be expected to make subtle distinctions between speakers or instructors invited by and those whose invitations are self-initiated, even assuming the children were told how the Gideons arrived in their classrooms.

At least one court has not gone so far as the 7th Circuit, instead just limiting third-party distribution to specific circumstances in a secondary school. The 4th Circuit, in Peck v. Upshur County Bd. of Ed., 155 F.3d 274, in 1998 held that outside groups may come into public secondary schools and distribute religious literature, so long as that distribution is neutral and passive, and disclaimers are present disassociating the school from the speech in question. Passive distribution in that case involved private groups coming into the school one day a year and leaving Bibles on a table. While no one was allowed to either stand by the table and encourage students to take one, or to enter the classrooms to discuss the Bibles, the groups were indeed permitted to display the Bibles inside the school, per the administrations discretion.

While the holding in Peck did not extend to elementary students, courts recently have found that third parties do indeed have a First Amendment right to send home fliers with a religious message to those younger students. In Rusk v. Crestview Local Sch. Dist., 3798 F.3d 418, the 6th Circuit held that an elementary school could distribute third-party fliers so long as the students would not be able to participate in the advertised activities without parental consent. The 4th Circuit came to a similar conclusion in Child Evangelism Fellowship of Md., Inc. v. Montgomery County Pub. Sch., 373 F.3d 589. In response to these decisions, some school districts have decided to ban all fliers.

However, courts have also found that school may exercise limited discretion in determining which fliers may be sent home with students. In 2003, the 9th Circuit in Hills v. Scottsdale Unified School Dist., 329 F.3d 1044, stated that a school cannot refuse to distribute literature advertising a program with underlying religious content where it distributes quite similar literature for secular summer camps, but it can refuse to distribute literature that itself contains proselytizing language. This subtle, but important distinction helps to highlight the delicate balance schools must reach between the establishment clause and the protections of free speech.

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_liberty/publics...
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AZ Criminal JD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #53
83. Clicking the link doesn't give any relevant facts.
We don't know the content of the fliers, whether she was going to hand them out from the sidewalks, parking lot, or wanted the school to send them out. We don't know how the other groups she cited got their information distributed.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #83
85. That's the point. We don't know the content of the flyer.
Was it refused for having 'proselytizing language'? We don't know.

If it did, then the schools can exercise limited discretion.

However, courts have also found that school may exercise limited discretion in determining which fliers may be sent home with students. In 2003, the 9th Circuit in Hills v. Scottsdale Unified School Dist., 329 F.3d 1044, stated that a school cannot refuse to distribute literature advertising a program with underlying religious content where it distributes quite similar literature for secular summer camps, but it can refuse to distribute literature that itself contains proselytizing language.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
51. If it's during Fairy Tales class, then sure.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #51
68. Substantial contribution as always
And a fine grasp of the issues involved, talking about something during a class. Don't know what we'd do without your insight. Have proper conversations maybe.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #68
80. Indeed. I *am* what prevents "proper conversations" from taking place....
My power knows no bounds.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
69. Geez, they have everyplace else they can distribute whatever
they want. How interesting that they always choose public schools.

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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #69
78. they're never at the DMV when you need them.
:)
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
79. Legally, she is right.
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 05:08 PM by anonymous171
As long as the government isn't paying for her flyers, or favoring her in any war, it's OK. But I, personally, think that schools should ban religious groups from proselytizing/promoting events on school grounds.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
86. Her flyers could cause Jewish or nonChristian children to feel ostracized.
When I was 11 back in 1970, my public school clearly broke the law when it allowed some old guy to come to our 6th grade classroom to hand out New Testaments. There was one Jewish girl in class. He went from person to person handing them out (!!!!) rather than leaving them with the teacher or letting kids come up to him and ask for them. Of course, she declined her copy of the New Testament. By the time he got to me, I was steaming. I was from an agnostic family, so I didn't have any feelings about Bibles one way or another, but I told him I didn't want one and that he was not supposed to be in a public school because of the separation of Church and State. He hurried up and passed out the rest as quickly as he could and got out of there. He probably thought my parents were ACLU and I was quoting them and that they sued people like him for a living, but my mom was a computer scientist at NASA and the stuff I said was all my own opinion. It was 1970.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
88. If they allow any religious flyers they should extend the same courtesy to ALL religions
It's much simpler to exclude them all.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #88
90. Simpler, but unconstitutional
Civil rights matter.

They cannot legally allow outside flyers and then exclude religious flyers. The case law has already been cited. see: 1st amendment btw...

Whether it's simpler is irrelevant. It's ILLEGAL

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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
91. A thousand times NO. Wait, make that a million times NO.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :o
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Irishonly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
92. No
It shouldn't be allowed-ever.
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Kitty Herder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 04:05 AM
Response to Original message
95. The first ammendment doesn't prohibit the establishment of drama and soccer clubs
Edited on Thu Jul-24-08 04:12 AM by Herdin_Cats
by the state, and distributing flyers for those clubs on public school grounds doesn't interfere with the free exercise of any religion.

However, when you start distributing bible school flyers on state-supported public school property, it gets a bit tricky. Is the school denying freedom of expression to other religious groups by promoting one group in allowing this woman to distribute her flyers? Would the school allow a Muslim, a Wiccan, or a Buddhist to distribute materials promoting summer schools for their religions? Not likely. The parents would be up in arms. So they can't allow a Christian to do so either.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 04:10 AM
Response to Original message
96. Of course not.
Why advertise an explicitly religious camp to the broader community via the public school system, rather than through one's own and affiliated churches? Because the idea is to draw in and convert other people's kids, based in the notion that the sponsoring church's brand of nonsense is more potent than the competing nonsense offered by other churches. This is both abusive of the innocence of children, who lack the logical capability to see through the conversion attempts, and a great way to alienate families with other belief systems, which would prove harmful to the mission of the school to involve families and effectively educate children.

Schools distribute flyers for softball, scouting and the usual array of summer camps because these things are compatible with and supportive of the mission of educating children. Unless there's substantial evidence that church camps support education in a measurable way (it is verifiable that religiousness in this country is closely associated with believing things which are demonstrably false, notably related to science and history) than schools have no more business promoting them than they do, say, plumbers. Perhaps less, as we all know and agree that toilets exist.

The church involved, should they want to advertise to the larger community, should stop trying to piggyback on the school's good name and distribution system, buy a roll of stamps (thus rendering unto Caesar, instead of asking for free advertising on the public dollar) or go door to door near the church meeting neighbors and personally inviting people, which is what the pastor of the local baptists does before Vacation Bible School starts. The public gains no demonstrable benefit from their advertised service, and thus it should be advertised on their own dime rather than by the schools.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 04:53 AM
Response to Original message
97. Nothing should be distributed on school property that isn't on the curriculum
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AutumnMist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 05:16 AM
Response to Original message
98. Honestly it wouldnt bother me
My daughter and I talk often about all faiths. If someone showed up at my door with a message (which happened recently) I wouldn't send them away. Which I didn't. Two Mormon boys had ridden miles in the Kern County heat to send whatever message they had. I respected that. Even if I did not agree with their faith. I got them some water and we talked. They cooled down and my family wished them the best with no ill harm. It was ok with me.

I would feel the same in her school. I don't think for one minute that she would change her beliefs or my families because of fliers or even what any church had to say. Faith whatever that means to any family or any person is so much deeper then that. Its not a threat. I would hope that it could invite a new conversation and a new view at the dinner table. You can only convert to theology/spirituality if you have the desire to do so. Free speech is universal. And we all have the right to educate and speak to our children and learn ourselves.

In separation of schools and religion it most likely was not the best place to do it. But like I said. We are flooded with information. We all have the choice to shut it off or talk about it in a responsible debate. I can only hope that we all find what we are searching for, whatever that might be. Its a personal journey. :)

Autumn
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alwysdrunk Donating Member (908 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
99. I voted yes.
I'm too anti-censorship to try to stop someone distributing a flyer. There would have to be a VERY good reason for be to ban flyer- distribution almost anywhere.
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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #99
100. What about the Boy Scouts recruiting class by class...
and telling atheist students that they are not allowed to join?
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
101. If it was only advertising a summer camp, I wouldn't have a problem with it.
Every other group can advertise their summer camps, why should it be different for them? Unless the flyer has some sort of wording like, "You're going to Hell if you don't go to our summer camp" or any other sort of proselytizing, I'm not sure I understand the problem.
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