Americans United for Separation of Church and State is urging a federal appeals court to stop a Missouri public school district from allowing Bible distribution at elementary schools.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, American United argues that the South Iron R-1 School District in Annapolis, Mo., violated church-state separation by permitting members of the Gideons International to distribute Bibles to fifth-grade students.
After a legal challenge was filed against the school district over the Bible distribution, members of the school board voted on a new policy that allows material to be disseminated by private groups on school grounds in certain cases.
Americans United’s brief in Doe v. South Iron R-1 School District argues that the new policy was a transparent effort to permit distribution of religious material.
“The law is crystal clear: Public schools are not supposed to be in the Bible-distribution business,” said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn in a press statement. “Handing out Bibles is a job for churches, not public schools.”