FRANKFORT – A nationally-recognized Christian legal organization has sent a letter to school districts throughout the state of Kentucky in an effort to combat an attempt by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to end the distribution of Gideons Bibles in public schools.
William Sharp of the ACLU had sent a three-page letter to 174 Kentucky school districts in April to address an alleged “widespread and persistent practice in Kentucky’s public elementary schools” of permitting the distribution of Gideons Bibles to students. Sharps stated that some parents had expressed opposition to Gideons International’s efforts, which have been sanctioned for a number of years by school officials.
“[T]his practice violates both federal and state constitutional guarantees barring governmental endorsement of religion, and it also impermissibly encroaches upon parents’ prerogative to direct the religious upbringing of their children,” the letter asserted. “By allowing an outside group to distribute sectarian materials directly to public elementary school students during school hours, school officials create the impression that the school endorses those religious views which subjects the students to ‘subtle coercive pressure’ to accept the proffered religious materials.”
The organization advised that it was conducting a statewide investigation into the issue and that it had submitted Open Records Act requests to examine school policies regarding the distribution of religious materials.However, the national Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) disagrees with the ACLU’s contention that Gideons International’s practices are unlawful, and has therefore sent a counter letter to the same school districts throughout Kentucky.