An atheist mother in Tennessee says she's been getting threats on social media after her complaint led to the cancellation of school visits by a preacher nicknamed "Bible Man."
Horace Turner, aka "Bible Man," had been visiting the Coalmont Elementary School in Altamont, Tennessee for years, where he would have "baby Jesus displays, sermons proclaiming that 'Jesus died on the cross for our sins,' bible readings, discussions about the meaning of bible stories, and distributions of religious literature," according to a complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The district has put the "Bible Man" sessions on hold, with one administrator telling WRCB-TV in Chattanooga that he might come back as part of an after-school club activity rather than a school assembly.
But that has apparently angered some parents, and the mother who initiated the complaint told the station she has been getting threats on Facebook as a result. One included the words: "He was an outsider and against the Bible Man coming to our schools, so we threw him a house warming party," along with a picture of a burning home.
"We just can't get over how much hate there is in their loving, Christian hearts," the mother, who has not been identified due to the nature of the threats, told the station.
Some parents have been defending the "Bible Man" visits, saying they should be allowed because they are voluntary.
"If people of other religions did not want to go see Mr. Turner, they were not forced to," parent Ann Partain told the Grundy County Herald. "They had a choice."
But the atheist mom said her son didn't know the sessions were voluntary at first, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation said the program is illegal even if attendance is optional.
"When children opt out, their absence is obvious, and the ostracism they suffer is precisely what the courts have sought to prevent," Rebecca Markert, a staff attorney for the foundation, said in a news release.
The school's online calendar shows that "Bible Man" visited every month from September through February, with the exception of November. His sessions were usually at 1 p.m., which is during the normal school day.
There have been no "Bible Man" assemblies listed on the calendar since the district received the foundation's letter, dated March 2.
(h/t Raw Story)
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