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!