One day as I was crossing the street on my way home from school, I saw a man handing out orange books to my eager peers. Not wanting to miss out on a freebie, I joined the crowd and got my very own copy of the New Testament from the Gideons (Gideons International). I was so excited! And not only because it was orange, but because a man cared enough about me to give me this wonderful gift for free. I mean, I had to pay like $20 for the ones at the Christian bookstore. “Thank you!” I yelled at him. “I love the Bible!” He nodded and waved as more kids came over to get their New Testaments. Those little orange Bibles were a hot commodity on that day in 1992.
Whenever, I go into a hotel or hospital, I check the drawers to see if a Gideon Bible has been placed in the room. I love to pull it out of the drawer and hold it. I page through it and think about the people who may have read this very book and for those who will still read it. There is something precious to me about a Bible given by Gideons. Perhaps it dates back to that fragile time in my childhood when a friend of the family, also a Gideon, called on my grandfather while he was in the hospital. That day, my grandfather gave his life to Christ (he even showed us the proof in his brand-new [non-orange] Gideon Bible).
Imagine my surprise to learn that Gideons are still handing out Bibles to school children in Frisco, TX. Or actually they’re not. According to this article, the members of Gideons International used to hand the Bibles to the kids themselves, but upset parents called the police for this heinous crime. Then the school allowed the Gideons to place Bibles within the school on a table for community information. Of course, parents are still upset. Parents are always upset about something; it’s just whoever screams louder than makes the news.
I’d like to point out a few things to these “upset” parents. Put the cell phone down and don’t call the police on the guys giving out Bibles.
1. It’s not a bomb; it’s a Bible. Look, Mom and Dad, I understand that you may not want a Bible in your house. However, calling the police to report people handing out Bibles is a waste of your police department’s time. They could be catching real criminals–not a bunch of do-gooders handing out holy books. I’m sure you let your schools hand out condoms to your kids everyday and you’re really going to CALL THE POLICE about a BIBLE?
2. Your kid chose to take the free Bible. Once one kid gets something for free, they all want something for free. Yet no one forced Little Johnny to take the Bible and it’s not a crime to give a kid a Bible. You want him to read more, right?
3. As the parent, you can choose to take the Bible away. You can set fire to it, run it over with your car, or throw it at the neighbor’s cat. Just know that if you do any of these things, flames will come down from Heaven and destroy you. It’s in the Bible. Don’t believe me? Then try reading it! (It’s not really in the Bible; I made that part up!)
4. I have to start my last point with a quote from Michael Baier, parent of a high school student, “School is a place to learn, not a place to worship.” (Source: Fox News) Since school is a place to learn, to share, to develop young minds, we should definitely not allow for students to freely read a Bible they chose to take because it may…uh…cause them to be better people? Regardless of how you feel about Christianity, you can’t tell me that the Bible doesn’t have some great basic instruction for life. Plus, isn’t Jesus one of the greatest moral teachers of all time? Now we’re going to deny students the opportunity to read about Him for themselves? Because school is a place where we’re told what to think, not how to think–something like that.
I’m sad I live in a world where a kid can’t walk out of school and get an orange New Testament from a kindly old man in a suit. Moreso, I’m disappointed that parents are so up-in-arms over an itty bitty Bible. With all the amazing amount of crap kids are exposed to on a daily basis, are we really upset about a Bible? Really? I wonder if parents would be as upset over literature about the homosexual lifestyle, Islam, Buddhism, abstinence, safe sex, and teen pregnancy. Or is the Bible the lone offender here? If we are truly the open-minded culture that we claim to be, we should our children to learn about all these things, shoudn’t we? At least on an educational level? I think so.
There are many horrible things that not-so-kindly strangers hand to kids every day. Thank God today it was just a Bible!
0 thoughts on “Bibles Take a Bashing”
The Bible is my favorite book as well 🙂
Great post! I am blogging about the same thing at :
Thought you might want to check it out.
OK, I love that you posted a comment and voted for Kris at the same time. 🙂
I’ve never posted a comment on a blog before; in fact, I only read one on a regular basis. However, I read this and just had to tell you how dead on right you are. It is a real shame that kids can no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance because of the reference to God, and now there are parents up in arms over the Gideon Bibles. It makes me sad to think about my two year old daughter’s future in public school. She currently attends mother’s day out at a church, and I love picking her up everyday and asking her what she learned about at school…her answer is always, “God!”
I’m always amazed that people are so anti-Bible . . . They don’t have to take its teachings on religion as their own, but it is still the framework of so much cultural history–much of fine art, architecture, etc. has been inspired by the Bible. I can’t imagine trying to “get” the old master painters or sculptors without a Biblical frame of reference . . . or much of famous literature without being able to contextualize so many Biblical allusions used in the text . . .
I’ve held off commenting on this because, really, what’s the point? I doubt seriously that I will change anyone’s mind, or even be able to present a believable counter-argument to those who visit this blog. As time goes by, though, I feel more and more that I must respond to this “scribble”.
As a parent, I would be hard-pressed to think of a book more inappropriate for my daughter to read than the Bible. When considering the amount of extreme violence and sexual activity that is contained in its pages, it is hard to believe that anyone in their right mind would actually fight to make sure that children would have access to it.
Imagine a modern work of literature that includes multiple explicit descriptions of beatings, whippings, stonings, slavery, and bloody murder of almost every stripe. This book also has graphic depictions of rape, incest, sodomy, prostitution, and lust that include pornographic descriptions of genitalia. Woven throughout these stories are good and bad supernatural characters that seek to control, not just other characters’ behavior, but the reader’s behavior. Uniting all of these stories is the presence of an omnipotent being best described by Thomas Jefferson as “‘a being of terrific character – cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust.” This entity commands the characters and the reader worship him lest he decide that they should spend an eternity being tortured by other supernatural beings after death.
Now, imagine that groupies of this book demanded that they have the right to stand outside of schools so they can give out free copies to children and encourage them to follow its teachings. NO parent would stand for this and would rightly demand that the groupies leave their children alone. In fact, it’s doubtful that this modern-day novel would ever be allowed within easy reach of a child.
If one wants to expose their child to the inappropriate material contained in the Bible, I don’t have a problem with that. It is a free country and I have no control over what other parents think is appropriate for their family. However, there is no absolutely no defense for anyone who chooses to expose my child to this kind of horror by putting it in her hands against my wishes, no matter what thier own personal beliefs might be.
Wow, I can tell that you know your Bible. You know, the whole thing isn’t filled with terrible violence, and I don’t think the descriptions of rape and incest are full of graphic details. Heck, most people miss the fact anything has even happened. I’m glad that you know what’s going on. Though you don’t embrace it, it sounds like you know more about some parts of the Bible better than many Christians.
I am interested in learning how you handle your child’s exposure to other literature, specifically Antigone or Oedipus, both of which were required reading in high school. Also, The Scarlet Letter, Romeo & Juliet (as well as other works of Shakespeare), Sappho’s poetry, and other questionable material–all things I read in school.
I can understand that you as a parent want to protect your child from inappropriate material, which I think is very noble. I know a lot of parents who have NO IDEA what their kids are doing, much less what media they are absorbing.
Lastly, I am glad you posted this comment because it helps people think and discuss deeper issues. Obviously, we have a core difference on the character of God, but knowing that is essential to further discussion. Plus, I always appreciate a comment that’s well-constructed and well-written.