Fifth grader Giovanni Rubeo was really pushing the envelope during “free” reading time in class. Was he reading Mein Kampf or Hustler? No. He was reading the single most controversial book in our politically correct world—the Bible. His open-minded teacher told him he wasn’t allowed to read the Bible, since it was a religious book.
Young Giovanni asked the teacher to call his father about the incident. The teacher left a voicemail saying, “I noticed that he [Giovanni] has a book—a religious book—in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.”
It’s hard to say if Giovanni would have gotten the same treatment for reading the Koran or Aliester Crowley’s Libri, but the actions of his very tolerant teacher raised the ire of Rubeo’s father, who enlisted the help of the Liberty Institute and is filing suit.
“Banning religious books like the Bible violates Giovanni’s civil rights to religious free speech and free exercise,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute Director of Litigation. “The school’s actions exemplify the hostility to religion that the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned.”
“We expect Broward County Public School officials to resolve this unfortunate incident quickly and amicably,” says Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. “Absent such an apology and assurance that students in Broward County Public Schools may read religious books like the Bible during free reading times, our client is prepared to take legal action.”
As well he should. This kind of intolerance is just part and parcel of the hypocritical and selective interpretation of the First Amendment that has infected this country. The Supreme Court recently came out in favor of Christian prayer for city council meetings, and it is likely they would also side with Giovanni in this case. It is obvious that “free” reading time should in fact be free, and that the personal exercise of religion should be allowed to exist, even in public schools, without interference.
But the real solution here is to send Giovanni elsewhere. He’ll get a better education outside the public school, and he would be allowed to believe and exercise the religion of his own choice. As it is, only one religion is allowed in the public school system—secular materialism. So much for freedom of religion.