Academic Freedom for Gideons

, Tony Perkins, Leave a comment

Officials in Key Largo, Florida were apparently living by the old adage of “going the extra mile”(Matthew 5:41). In January, two Gideons were arrested for distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk outside a local elementary school.

They were charged with trespassing. With the help of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which represented the men, the charges were dismissed a short time later. However, the men were then notified that other charges were being filed—this time under a different statute which prohibits anyone from being within 500 feet of school property without permission.

As ADF’s statement suggests, “Does the state [believe] that its citizens will be safer if ‘protected’ from Bibles? In a country founded on religious freedom, the actions of the state are a disgrace.” As were the actions of the local police, which allegedly mocked the Gideons after handcuffing them, saying, “Now you can pray to Jesus all the way to jail.”

As it turns out, the officers shouldn’t have been so quick to ridicule the prayers because they worked! Thanks to ADF, common sense prevailed in court and, for a second time, all charges against the Gideons were dropped.

This victory for the Bible is an elementary reminder that we can still prevail when we are willing to take our stand in the face of growing intolerance and even outright hostility toward Christianity.

Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.