‘Freethought Day’ Organizers Take Advantage of School District Policy to Advertise Event

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SACRAMENTO --

Last week the Folsom Cordova Unified School District allowed a flyer to be electronically sent out to parents publicizing "Bring your Bible to School Day."

Days later, a Sacramento secular group took advantage of the same policy to publicize their own event.

Organizers of "Freethought Day" at the Capitol said they didn't like the idea of a school district allowing religious messages to go to parents.

"I wouldn't want them to send out flyers for Starbucks, or a church, or really even an organization that champions the separation of church and state. I think that flyers that go out to parents need to focus on education," said David Diskin, chair of the Sacramento Freethought Committee.

Kira, who only wanted to give her last name as "D", is a parent within the Folsom Cordova district. She was stunned the "Bring your Bible to School Day" announcement popped up on the district's online message board, which is operated by the third-party website company Peach Jar.

"We're not a religious family, so I was afraid my daughter would be singled out for not bringing her bible to school ... I was just worried about her, about her well-being and her state of mind," Kira said.

After another parent requested the bible flyer be posted, the district said there was little it could do.

"At the advice of our legal counsel we did allow distribution of that out of concerns from our legal team that prohibiting distribution of this specific flyer could be potentially discriminatory," said Dan Thigpen, a spokesperson for the district.

When she saw it, Kira said she decided to tell another member of her secular community, Diskin, which gave him the idea to promote his event.

"(Freethought Day) is really all about the celebration of the separation of church and state. We also celebrate the First Amendment, and science, and reason and progress," Diskin told FOX40. "(Learning about the district's policy) was fantastic timing, couldn't have asked for a better time to do it."

The "Bring your Bible to School Day" event was sponsored by Focus on the Family, an evangelical protestant organization based in Colorado. On its website, Focus on the Family states the day was meant to "empower students to take their bibles to school as a visual way to celebrate religious freedom."

But Diskin warns Focus on the Family is also political. It paid thousands of dollars to support Prop 8 in 2008, according to Diskin.

"Schools need to be a little more picky about what they send out, I don't really feel they should be endorsing anything," Diskin told FOX40.