HidingPlace

A charter school in Southern California is facing the threat of a lawsuit for “purging” Christian books from its library.

Parents contacted the Pacific Justice Institute after Springs Charter School system Supt. Kathleen Hermsmeyer declared the library would not be allowed to carry “sectarian” materials.

Pacific Justice President Brad Dacus told WND that among the books was “The Hiding Place,” the story of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch woman sent to a prison camp by the Nazis of World War II for helping Jews escape.

Dacus said PJI’s legal team and the district have exchanged letters already.

“I think she doesn’t understand the law,” he said of Hermsmeyer.

Dacus cited her statement that the school officials “do not allow sectarian materials on our state authorized lending shelves.”

“That’s a problem,” he said. “She apparently doesn’t understand that public libraries do not have the obligation to sterilize religious books from their shelves.”

Strictly religious books, such as the Bible or the Quran, routinely are on library shelves, he argued.

Dacus said an immediate correction of the school’s policy would prevent a lawsuit.

“It is alarming that a school library would attempt to purge books from religious authors,” he said. “Indeed, some of the greatest literature of Western Civilization comes from people of faith. Are they going to ban the sermons or speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? What about the Declaration of Independence that invokes the laws of nature and nature’s God.”

Hermsmeyer did not respond to a message left by WND asking for a comment.

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes said it’s “hard to imagine that any school would have a problem with a book about a Christian family that helped Jews escape the Holocaust.”

Starnes said the parents who protested called it “Christian purging.”

A PJI letter to the public school said a parent “was told by one of the library attendants that the library has been instructed to remove all books with a Christian message, authored by Christians, or published by a Christian publishing company.”

“The attendant advised that the library would no longer be carrying those books. Indeed, our client was told that the library was giving those books away, and she actually took some.”

PJI attorney Michael Peffer had sent the school a cease-and-desist letter, citing long-established Supreme Court precedent that strongly disapproves of school libraries removing books based on opposition to their content or message.

Then Hermsmeyer responded by declaring that as a public school, “we are barred by law from purchasing sectarian curriculum materials with state funds.”

“We only keep on our shelves the books that we are authorized to purchase with public funds.”

In the same letter, she wrote: “At no time, however, have we discriminated against Christian authors or publishing companies who create secular educational material.”

Starnes concluded: “I oppose all book banning. If a book offends you, don’t read it. The way I see it – book banning is just one step away from book burning. And I don’t mean to pour gasoline on the fire, but we all know what regime did that.”

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