Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Judge orders halt to in-school Bible giveaway

Apr 24, 2010

http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080424/NEWS/804240309\ /-1/NEWS03

NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge ordered a public school system to stop allowing in-school Bible giveaways, saying the practice violates the First Amendment separation of church and state.

“Distribution of Bibles is a religious activity without a secular purpose” and amounts to school board promotion of Christianity, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier ruled in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana against the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.

As requested by both sides, Barbier made a summary judgment based only on the written briefs – something judges may do only if the law is absolutely clear. Defense attorney Christopher M. Moody said late Tuesday that the school board decided to appeal the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.