ELSBERRY, Mo. (AP) The Elsberry School District decided the Gideons will no longer be allowed to distribute Bibles to fifth graders after a parent complained to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Gideons previously made a presentation to students and later passed out Bibles to students who asked for them.
The complaining parent who did not want his name revealed said he was upset that his child brought a New Testament home, feeling this violated church-state separation.
Gideons International, based in Nashville, Tenn., places Bibles in hotels and prisons and distributes them at colleges, schools and military posts.
Schools around the nation have questioned and sometimes prohibited Bible distributions. Experts say court decisions generally allow community groups to distribute literature outside a school but not inside.
Denise Lieberman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri said it's wrong even to leave Bibles that children can take if they wish.
But the Rev. Conrad Cheatham, a local Presbyterian pastor, said the Constitution gives people the right to voluntary Bible distribution and ''separation of church and state has been badly misconstrued.''
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