PA School Deems Bible as Too “Proselytizing”

Excerpts from “Kindergarten cops rule: Witches in, Bibles out” – August 31, 2007

A court decision that opens the doors of Culbertson Elementary School in Pennsylvania to books about witches ““ but rejects the Bible as being too “proselytizing” ““ is being challenged.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund has submitted amicus briefs in a lawsuit filed when a kindergarten student, under an assignment in which parents were invited to read their child’s favorite book, was denied permission to have his mother read a Bible story.

“The school’s decision to ban religious speech is nothing more than blatant viewpoint discrimination,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “This was not about proselytizing anyone,” continued ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “It was about letting students tell the class about what things are important to them, and the Bible is important to this student.”

The classroom assignment was called “All About Me,” and was intended to provide an opportunity for children to “identify individual interests and learn about others,” the ADF said. The activity at the school ““ which lists an unspecified “religious holiday” in September but a “winter recess” in December ““ allowed students to talk about their interests through the use of their favorite stuffed animals, posters, snacks and games and books.

When his turn came, Culbertson Elementary student Wesley Busch asked his mother to read from his favorite book, the Bible. But the ADF said school officials told Donna Kay Busch that the school viewed the Bible as “proselytizing” and as “promoting a specific religious point of view,” banning it from the class.

[T]he Bible reading Wesley requested was rejected because the Bible promotes “a specific religious point of view” and the teacher suggested Wesley’s mother “read a book ‘about witches and Halloween’ instead.”

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