Bible Distribution

August 26, 1999

A case involving a Missouri teenager who was threatened with arrest for distributing Bibles is now in the courts. Crystal Patterson and her mother have sued Northwest R-1 School District because the Principal refused to allow her and some of her friends to pass out "Truth for Youth" Bibles on school grounds during time when students were not in class.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel is the attorney in the case and says that the school board refused a request to distribute the literature, and the principal also chastised the group when members later circulated a petition among middle school and high school students that asked district education officials to let them pass out Bibles at area schools.

At one school where the group met to hand out Bibles, a principal confiscated about 1,000 of the books, which the students raised money to buy and distribute. At Crystalís school, students gathered around the flagpole before classes began. They were met by the principal along with school administrators and police who threatened to arrest them if they did not stop passing out Bibles.

Attorney Mat Staver said, "You would think that schools would welcome students who want to share a message of hope, especially in the light of tragedy of Columbine High School. Instead of welcoming the students with open arms, the principal met them with deputy police officers and sought to arrest them."

He argues that the schoolís actions and regulations "chills free speech" and are therefore unconstitutional. It will be interesting to see how the court rules and whether the case is appealed to a higher court. Hopefully the court will rule that students can distribute Bibles and religious literature before or after school.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.

© 1999 Probe Ministries International