FFRF to Indianapolis Public Schools - Stop Blocking Atheist Sites

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Indianapolis Schools Block Atheist Sites
Posted on: November 17, 2009 9:16 AM, by Ed Brayton
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has written a letter to the Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent demanding that they change a written policy (PDF) that requires all "alternative spirituality" websites to be blocked from computers in their schools. The policy includes a list of sites that must be blocked, including this:
Sites that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism. Occult practices, atheistic views, vodoo rituals or any form of mysticism are represented here. Includes sites that endorse or offer methods, means of instruction, or other resources to affect or influence real events through the use of spells, incantations, curses and magic powers. This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.
What a bizarre amalgamation of unrelated things that is. What in the world is atheism doing lumped together with witchcraft in the first place? It's not as if atheists believe in witchcraft any more than they do in Christianity. Oh, that's right - to the fundamentalist mind, there is no distinction; anything non-Christian is evil and all in exactly the same way. And of course, praying to God to affect or influence real events is totally different from casting a spell or sprinkling chicken blood on the ground.
This policy is doomed. I can't imagine a court upholding it. It is doomed both on grounds of vagueness and on grounds of viewpoint discrimination. If the school district is smart, they will immediately change the policy. If they're dumb -- or they get really bad advice from their lawyers -- they'll end up losing a court battle and having to pay out a lot of money in attorneys' fees.