Atheist, agnostic books to be offered to Orange County students

Group petitions Orange County School Board after Bibles passively distributed

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A Central Florida Freethinkers group will distribute materials about atheism, agnosticism and secular humanism to students in Orange County Public Schools after receiving permission from the school board.

According to a news release from the Central Florida Freethought Community, the group is in the planning stages with the Orange County school board to discuss how they can distribute to students.

The CFFC will meet with the school board in February to discuss the distribution of the atheist materials after the school board allowed Bibles to be passively distributed to students earlier this week.

Orange County Schools said the group's materials must first be reviewed by the county's legal department and the group members placing the items in schools must get clearance through a background check, just as the previous group did.

The Bible handout was allowed after the World Changers sued Collier County School Board for not allowing the passively distribution of bibles. The outcome resulted in the consent decree, which allows the passive distribution of Bibles under certain requirements. The court order states that anyone must be allowed to distribute materials in a school, with certain exceptions, such as no promotion of drugs, alcohol, pornography and advertisements for products.

"This group of Biblical Literalists has somehow convinced the School Board that our public schools should be a religious battleground of sorts. This is unacceptable to freethinkers and persons of all religious traditions, including many Christians," said David Williamson, of the Central Florida Freethought Community. "But because the school board insists on opening the schools up to Christian proselytizers, we think it's important that students receive materials countering their religious propaganda."

Books, pamphlets, and brochures from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, and the Secular Student Alliance are on their way as of Wednesday to Central Florida and distribution will begin as soon as the promised written permission is received from the School Board and volunteers are cleared to come on campus, CFFC officials said.

Officials said some of the items being considered are "An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible," "Ten Common Myths About Atheists," and more.

A news release from the Humanists of Florida Association states they are teaming up with CFFC to place "age-appropriate books on secular humanism and atheism in the high schools, such as The Truth by Robert G. Ingersoll and What on Earth is an Atheist? by Madalyn Murray O'Hair."

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