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Colorado School Bans 'Inappropriate' Atheists, Satanic Literature

04-04-2016
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A Colorado school board is banning some of the literature placed in public schools recently by atheist and satanic groups.

Leaders of the Delta County School District labeled the literature in question "inappropriate" and ordered it out of junior high schools after seeing images on some of the materials.

"I do think the school's doing its best to avoid censoring any group and taking a common sense approach, but in my opinion, I don't think they're under any kind of obligation to put this at the middle school or the high school because I think there are common sense policies that would apply," said Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family.

Click on the player to watch CBN News' Mark Martin's complete interview with Cushman.

"An X-Rated Book: Sex and Obscenity in the Bible" has the illustration of a Bible with human arms groping a woman. "What Does the Bible Say About Abortion" depicts Adam and Eve naked.

"It is inappropriate in a school setting; we would not allow any of the high school students to wear or otherwise display such a cartoon," Assistant Superintendent of the Delta County School District Kurt Clay said in reference to the image of the groping Bible.

"Why would we allow them to carry it in the building? It may also qualify as hate literature, demeaning women," he said.

"The school district misses the point entirely," Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said. "The cover image is a feminist cartoon whose message is that the Bible itself demeans women."

Freedom from Religion Foundation's Co-president Dan Barker said the push to hand out satanic and atheist books was in response to Gideon Bibles being placed in an open area in schools where students can pick them up.

The materials come from the FFRF, Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, and the Satanic Temple.

FFRF's Barker said they tried to stop the placement of the Bibles, but the district refused, leading them to apply to have their own literature put on display.

However, district officials found the covers of those materials troublesome.

Although Clay says although these materials are objectionable the district cannot forbid groups like FFRF from distributing materials altogether.

The policy is written so that the board cannot discriminate. "We just have to follow the process," Clay told reporters.

In a statement, district leaders said they can only ban literature that contains obscenity, hate, pornography or violence. Literature that is commercial in nature or supports a candidate during an election also is forbidden.

"The school district is not required to maintain this open forum and is free to close it rather than allow FFRF to distribute materials," attorney Andrew Seidel with FFRF wrote to the district. "We do not think schools should be a battleground for religious ideas. But when schools allow the Gideons to prey on children, their message of eternal damnation for any who don't believe in their God must be countered."

Clay also said he found the Adam and Eve cover pornographic.

"Albrecht Dürer's famous depiction of Adam and Eve in Paradise can be called many things, but it is not pornography," Seidel said in a statement.

 "Dürer completed this engraving in 1504, and it is one of the most technically precise woodcuttings in all of art history. It has been displayed in the world's foremost museums and is a staple of most art history classes. The idea that this picture is somehow pornographic is, to be frank, absurd," Seidel went on to say.

The booklets, although banned from junior high schools, will remain in the district's high schools. 

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