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Chicken-Fried News: Illegal books

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Stop the presses!

If you were planning on passing out Bibles or biblical pamphlets to children in Oklahoma schools, you’re going to have to find some other way — preferably one that’s not technically illegal.

Jamison Faught, son of Rep. George Faught of Muskogee, and Gideon International recently passed out Bibles to fifth-grade students in Checotah, Eufaula and Stidham, but when Freedom from Religion Foundation found out, it sent complaints to 26 districts.

“Passing out the scriptures — you certainly can’t be blamed for that,” Rep. Faught told NewsOK.com. “What happens is, this group has used scare tactics.”

The “scare tactics” (the letter from the foundation) stated that the practice is unconstitutional because allowing the Bibles to be passed out on public school property counts as “the District … impermissibly endorsing religion.”

“The law is pretty clear on this, that outside groups cannot come into the public schools and distribute Bibles,” Andrew Seidel, staff attorney at the foundation, told KOCO.com. “These children are taught by their parents not to accept things from strangers, and you have this evangelical group going out there and forcing their religion upon these children. It’s incredibly predatory and dangerous.”

Seidel did say that if you stood just off school property, you could legally pass out any sort of book or pamphlet you wanted.

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