Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Court Bans Bible from Pennsylvania School

A U.S. court says a kindergartner's mother cannot read Scripture during show and tell, even if the Bible is the boy's favorite book.

UPDATE 1/21/10: U.S. Supreme Court allows lower court ruling stand -- Bible banned!

-- From "Judges: No Bible at Pa. kindergarten show and tell" by Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press Writer 6/1/09

The Marple Newtown School District in suburban Philadelphia told plaintiff Donna Kay Busch in October 2004 that she could not read the Bible passages during her son's "All About Me" program. The school did permit the boy to discuss a poster that included references to his church as well as his family, pet and best friend.

"Parents of public school kindergarten students may reasonably expect their children will not become captive audiences to an adult's reading of religious texts," Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the split 2-1 opinion, which upheld a lower court decision.

Schools can more tightly control speech presented to younger students, who may not distinguish a parent from their teacher, the ruling said.

Busch argued that the class heard stories related to Passover, Christmas and other religious holidays, but the court concluded there was a "significant difference" between identifying such holidays and reading from Scripture.

Principal Thomas Cook of Culbertson Elementary School believed such a reading would "proselytize ... a specific religious point of view," the opinion stated.

Busch, who describes herself as an evangelical Christian, is contemplating an appeal, according to lawyer Jason Gosselin. He said he took the case pro bono after a request from The Rutherford Institute, which focuses on First Amendment and religious freedom issues. Busch had contacted the group.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.