Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Come To School, Come To Jesus

Is this against the law, bad judgement, or just an excuse for some people to get their panties in a bunch?

Some parents in Frisco, Texas, are fuming because their public school district allowed Christian evangelists to provide Bibles to students on school grounds, which administrators say was done to stop even more proselytizing outside the schools.

Frisco Independent Schools allowed Gideons International to display Bibles on tabletops in all 13 of the district's middle and high schools last week. Officials say it didn't violate the law, but some parents say school is not the place to be offering the Good Book...

The Gideons are now taking advantage of a school policy that allows them to leave Bibles on a tabletop in the schools' front offices, though they're barred from interacting with students or remaining there during school hours.

So we're told directly that it's not against the law, and we've learned previously that courts have ruled that government must be neutral to religion and not hostile to it. So what, exactly, is the problem here? Is it the same problem some people have with military recruiters, namely that students might possibly have voluntary contact with people against whom the parents have a prejudice? Or am I missing something?

Lutz said she wants the freedom to raise her children as she sees fit — and without the interference of religious groups. She told FOXNews.com she worried that allowing one group to offer Bibles in the school would open the floodgates to any groups who want to reach students on school grounds.

Other groups like what, the Sacramento Veterans For Peace, for example? No, we wouldn't want them in our schools, passing out brochures.

The Gideons aren't even interacting with students; they've left the Bibles on a table, just as the anti-military brochures (at the link above) were left on a table. Take one if you want.

A spokeswoman for the school district said that a number of materials are made available to students this way, including newspapers, camp brochures and tutoring pamphlets. College and military recruitment information is available all year long. The Gideon Bibles were made available for just one day.

I'm sorry, I just can't get worked up over having Bibles on a table for a day for students to take if they want one.

What we have here is an issue of--say it with me--tolerance. Some folks should practice a little more of it.


Ellen K said...

Gideons have been doing this for years. They offer small New Testaments to any kids that want them. They don't force kids to take them, they don't approach kids or cars to hand them out. The kids often seek them out and many of the kids do carry them around. While it's not probably edgy and cool to read the Bible in public, there are still students who seek strength through having it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post.

At what point does proselytizing go too far? And at this rate, we may as well open up public schools to become religious recruitment centers for ALL religions.


Anonymous said...

Personally I take all the anti-Christian umbrage as an affirmation that things are precisely as the Bible says. In other words, if the Bible is just a bunch of hogwash, why do people get so worked up over the Gideons very passively offering Bibles to students?

If they were offering Korans or some kind of Hindu/Buddhist/Unitarian "scriptures," they wouldn't be saying boo, 'cause they believe all that stuff is hogwash. But the Bible is different.

Ellen K said...

Once again, they don't come into the schools. They aren't on school property at all, they are on the public sidewalk. They don't approach kids, the kids come to them.

Kumbaya said...

What we have here is an issue of--say it with me--tolerance. Some folks should practice a little more of it.I couldn't agree with you more. Too bad "Liberty" University doesn't.

I'm glad to see that you'd be OK with free copies of The Communist Manifesto, Mao's Little Red Book, Mein Kampf, The Qur'an, works be Satanists and Atheists. I mean, I *know* you're not just calling for tolerance of Christianity. Let's load that table up with expressions of tolerance.

Darren said...

You're an idiot.

Liberty University is a private school. Go there, and expect to play by their rules.

I don't believe that the antidote to your idiotic speech is censorship. The antidote to your idiotic speech is *more* free speech on my part.

In fact, I've *practiced* this belief, having described it before on this blog.

Ellen K said...

I think it's interesting that many on the Left don't think that conservative read outside their own narrow political views. I read quite a big of radical stuff in college, including the Feminist Manifesto among others. It's just that the seduction wears off after time. And reality has a way of educating even the most rampant liberals far more effectively.

maxutils said...

Stories like this always crack me up. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, "I wouldn't want o be a member of any club that would have me as a member." If Christianity is so wonderful, why do they need to advertise? Do you notice that you never hear about Jews passing out Torahs willy-nilly? They have some membership requirements. If you want in, you seek them out, and they actually make you do some work before they let you convert.

I'm an atheist-leaning agnostic, and I don't object to anyone leaving a Bible out for those who want them . . . I just doubt that that's actually how it works. My guess is that at some point students are asked whether they would like one, and just as I have a right to put up a no solicitors sign on my door, or block telemarketers, I should be able to attend a public school without having to have any form of conversation with anyone who is trying to sell me their religion.

On the other hand, I have a much better solution than a lawsuit; all that needs to happen is for everyone who is offended, or not of Christian faith, or both to accept the Bible, proceed to the nearest garbage can, and shred it to pieces. At some point, the Gideons will find it frustrating enough not to come.

ricki said...

They used to come onto the college campus where I was a grad student every year, so these are my observations:

1. They didn't proselytize. Unless you consider the mere presence of someone who is "out" about being a Christian proselytization. They simply stood on campus with their boxes of New Testaments and offered them to those who wanted one. They didn't walk up to people; they simply offered them to those who walked by.

2. They didn't push it if you turned them down. Or at least, how I turned them down - I smiled, said, "Thanks, I already have a Bible" and they just nodded at me. It seemed other people who politely turned them down got similar responses.

3. I saw students cussing at them, screaming at them, in one case, spitting in their general direction. They never responded, retaliated, or even budged.

I will admit to it making me sad - especially to see the kids trying to spit on them.

Of course this is probably all colored by the fact that I am a Christian and therefore to some, my observations are invalid, but it never seemed to me like they were doing anything more than offering New Testaments to people who were willing to accept them.