First Posted: 6/5/2008

A civil-liberties group is right to challenge a practice in Findlay schools of letting children out of class to accept free copies of scriptural texts. In March, fifth-graders in the community's five public elementary schools were permitted during school hours to receive booklets from Gideons International containing the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. This occurred on the sidewalks outside of the schools.

This has been a tradition in Findlay schools, but the practice is better left to places of worship, religious schools and groups operating outside of public education.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio contends that it is illegal for public schools to give up class time to help a religious group in its evangelical mission. Courts likely would support that view.

The separation of church and state is a constitutional principle that has served well for more than two centuries. Tax-funded entities are wise to adhere to that, and the vast majority of them do.

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