ICC Note: A charter school in Temecula, California has begun purging the school library of Christian literature, saying they “do not allow secular materials in our state-authorized lending shelves.” One of the titles removed includes “The Hiding Place” by Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom. The school has also ignored a cease and desist letter arguing that the removal of books by Christian authors or with Christian content is illegal and violation of the First Amendment. The incident is one of many that highlights a growing effort to remove Christianity from the public sphere in the United States.
9/22/2014 United States (Christian News) – A Christian legal organization in California is denouncing officials at a charter school in the state for removing books from its library simply because they were deemed to be Christian.
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), based in Sacramento, reports that Springs Charter Schools, also known as River Springs Charter Schools, recently targeted books because of their content or religious affiliation.
The school, which is stated to be “created and operated by parents” according to its “Vision and Mission” page on its website, also outlines, “We value parent choice and involvement, using the community as the classroom, fostering a child’s innate creativity, collaborating to achieve goals, building relationships, and personalizing learning.”
PJI says that they were contacted by a concerned parent whose children attend the school, who noted that books such as The Hiding Place, written by Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, were being removed from the shelves. The unidentified parent stated that they were advised by library personnel that they had been instructed to pull any Christian-themed publications, as well as any books written by Christian authors or distributed by Christian publishers.
The legal organization then sent a cease and desist letter last month, asserting that the removal of the books violated the First Amendment as it constituted a content-based restriction. But Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer responded by outlining, “We . . . do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”
“It is alarming that a school library would attempt to purge books from religious authors. Indeed, some of the greatest literature of Western Civilization comes from people of faith,” PJI President Brad Dacus stated in a press release about the matter. “Are they going to ban the sermons or speeches of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? What about the Declaration of Independence, which invokes the laws of nature and nature’s God?”