Gideon Society Letter

Katie McGee, Ed.D, Supt.
and Members of the Board of Education
Brunswick County Schools
35 Referendum Dr.
Bolivia NC 28422

Dear Superintendent and Members of the Board of Education:

We are writing on behalf of taxpayers and complainants in Brunswick County about the shocking action taken by the Board of Education to unlawfully authorize the distribution of Christian testaments to students on school property by the Gideon Society.

Such a practice is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and misuse of public schools. Twice the U.S. Supreme Court has let stand lower court rulings, significantly in cases occurring nearly 40 years apart. In Tudor v. Board of Education of Rutherford, 14 J.N. 31 (1953) cert. denied 348 U.S. 816 (1954), the high court let stand a ruling declaring the distribution of Gideon bibles at public schools unconstitutional. In Berger v. Rensselaer, 982 F.2d, 1160 (7th Cir.) cert. denied. 124 l.E. 2d 254 (1993), the Supreme court let stand an appeals court ruling barring access to Gideons passing out bibles in Indiana schools.

Solid and established Supreme Court precedent barring religious instruction, ritual and prayer in public schools, from the McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 212 (1948) to Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000), expressly protects the freedom of conscience of students and the secular nature of public education. The First Amendment requires public schools to remain neutral on religious matters, and respect the legal rights of parents to direct the religious upbringing of their children.

The Gideon Society is an aggressive proselytizing missionary group which knows it is not permitted to distribute bibles in public schools, yet relentlessly carries on its crusade by hooking up with unscrupulous principals or schools boards. The Society preys on the youngest and most vulnerable Americans–schoolchildren who are a captive audience in our public schools.

If the vote to permit this unconstitutional action is not rescinded, our group will seek an injunction to halt this illegal proceeding. Rogue school boards cannot be permitted to undermine our Constitution and proselytize small children. May we hear from you immediately about what steps you are taking to remedy this egregious violation of the First Amendment?

Yours sincerely

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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