Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has quite possibly opened public school doors to Satanist literature while defending a teacher’s right to distribute Bibles among her third-grade students. In a letter addressed to school superintendents across Oklahoma, Pruitt promised to defend religious freedom against garbed legal threats over the distribution of the religious text on campus.
This war over distributing Bibles started in February this year, after the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent letters to 26 school districts that allow the practice to take place. The situation flared up again after Duncan Public School District hesitantly decided last week to stop a teacher from handing out Bibles to her students, fearing a lawsuit from the secular group.
Pruitt responded to FFRF’s letter, writing, “Few things are as sacred and as fundamental to Oklahomans as the constitutional rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion. It is a challenging time in our country for those who believe in religious liberty. Our religious freedoms are under constant attack from a variety of groups who seek to undermine our constitutional rights and threaten our founding principles.”
His strong defense of religious freedom ironically put him on a collision course with a Satanist church in Oklahoma City, the Church of Ahriman, which has gone on to seek permission for distributing Satanist literature at the same elementary school. Reportedly, Ahriman’s leader, Adam Daniels, sought permission from the school district to distribute copies of the church’s handbook titled “Ahrimani Enlightenment” among students, reiterating that its content is not as graphic as the Christian Bible.
While defending the distribution of Bibles, Pruitt had pushed back against a threatened lawsuit from the FFRF, alleging the secular group had misrepresented laws against handing out religious literature, an assertion that should also be applicable to Satanist churches, Ahriman noted.
“The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed lawsuits around the country to aggressively advance its agenda,” Pruitt had said. “The group has contacted more than one Oklahoma school with misrepresentations regarding the law, including the false categorical assertion that the law prohibits distribution of religious literature in public schools.”
Responding to Pruitt’s letter, the FFRF pointed out that schools could not permit the distribution of Bibles and also prevent the distribution of other religious literature at the same time.
“As you know, when a school opens a forum like this, they cannot limit it to Bibles, but must allow all literature distributions, including by atheists, Muslims, and Satanists. The FFRF did not dispute the legality of these open forums — though their legality and wisdom is questionable — it simply asked to distribute literature in the forums as well. At that point, the school districts revisited the wisdom of these forums and decided to close them altogether,” said FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel in a letter to Pruitt.
This recent controversy in Oklahoma echoes a similar situation in Indiana, where the Religious Freedom Reformation Act unintentionally allowed members of the First Church of Cannabis to smoke weed as part of their religious beliefs.
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