Ky. Gideons’ freedom to distribute literature like others reaffirmed

Second Alliance Defending Freedom letter answers critics
Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Attorney sound bites:  Rory GrayJeremy Tedesco

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Alliance Defending Freedom sent 174 school districts in Kentucky a follow-up legal letter Wednesday after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened them for the second time with litigation if they have refused to ban literature distribution by the Gideons at their schools. The letter notes that Alliance Defending Freedom’s previous letter to the school districts forced the ACLU to reluctantly admit that there are constitutionally permissible ways in which Gideons Bibles may be distributed on campus.
Also signing on to the letter are nine Kentucky attorneys who are among the nearly 2,300 Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorneys worldwide.
“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas. Kentucky schools can enact literature distribution policies that reflect this. They do not need to single out the Gideons or other faith-based groups for censorship, as the ACLU suggests,” said Litigation Staff Counsel Rory Gray. “In fact, to do so would be flatly unconstitutional.”
Alliance Defending Freedom sent Kentucky school districts a legal letter in July when the ACLU first threatened them with litigation concerning the distribution of literature by the Gideons. The ACLU then responded to that letter with another letter of its own.
The new Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains that the ACLU now grudgingly acknowledges that school “districts can draft neutral equal access policies that allow community groups--including religious groups like the Gideons--to distribute literature in a manner that allows parents and students to receive information and materials that they want.”

The letter also reasserts the offer of Alliance Defending Freedom to assist any school district in drafting policies that will continue to allow the Gideons and other religious groups to distribute religious literature at school as part of a neutral community literature distribution program.

“Federal caselaw overwhelmingly supports the decision to grant religious and non-religious community groups an equal opportunity to provide literature to willing students,” the letter affirms.
“Providing community groups with equal access to literature distribution channels is, in fact, the easiest way for schools to respect the First Amendment, which is why thousands of public schools across the nation do it every day,” added Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We are offering Kentucky school districts a solution rather than legal threats.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-ko)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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