• Atheist group sues Orange County schools over fliers, religious material


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County schools allowed an atheist group to hand out fliers, but they're now suing the district.

    Channel 9 broke the story in January when an atheist group attacked the district for allowing Bibles to be handed out, so school leaders gave the atheists permission to hand out their fliers.

    Now, however, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the district, despite a spokesperson saying they weren't trying to trap the school when it requested to pass out the fliers.

    Channel 9 was there in January when 1,700 students left school with Bibles. A Christian group received permission to place the Bibles on tables during the school day.

    When the district received the request to distribute bibles, it said it knew a request to distribute Atheist materials could be next.

    The district said then that it allowed the Bibles to avoid a lawsuit, but the very next day, the atheist group was on the verge of threatening a separate suit.

    The atheists were allowed distribute a number of fliers critical of religion, but the district said no to books with titles like, "Jesus Is Dead," and "Why I Am Not a Muslim," saying those materials could cause a disruption.

    “They're being put in a tough spot and that is not our goal,” said David Williamson of Central Florida Free Thought Community.  “Our goal is to discuss the problems with the distributions."

    "Did you set the district up to fail?" asked Channel 9's Lori Brown.

    "We had no intention of filing a lawsuit, and we are not interested in filing a lawsuit, but we have no other choice at this point," said Williamson.

    The attorney for the Christian group disagrees.

    "They really don't want to distribute literature, they want to denigrate someone else's faith," said attorney Mathew Staver. "Their ultimate goal is to shut down the entire forum, that's why they're doing this."

    Freedom From Religion is seeking the right to distribute all of its materials in the future, nominal damages and legal fees.

    The school district is not commenting, because it has not been served with the suit.

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