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JLeslie's avatar

Fluther Christians: what do you think about this news item regarding bibles being passed out at schools?

Asked by JLeslie (60849points) August 30th, 2011

It pisses me off to no end. Keep off the children! I saw a news report where a woman said that they should be allowed to pass them out, because the kids can always refuse to take it. They are children. I just really will never ever understand why anyone feels ok with religion in public schools, maybe someone here can make me understand why you think it is ok?

They are passing out Gideon Bibles. Here is the story.

I recently had a conversation about something similar with an Evangelical acquaintance of mine and when I asked how would you appreciate if atheists went to your children and said there is no God and started giving rational arguments for why they don’t believe and why they completely disagree with actively trying to convert people. His response was, I don’t mind at all, I know my kids are secure in their beliefs. I say bullshit! Atheists don’t go after children, he has no idea, if his kid has a brain in her head how much it might make her think or question, because he lives in such a Christians place he, they, are not exposed to many atheist conversations, he just has assumptions of what they think and say. At least that is my own assumption. To this day I would guess he thinks I am a theist.

I don’t want anyone to gang up on a particular jelly on the Q, I want to genuinely here the answers. I know I showed a little anger in my question, general anger, but I don’t want anyone to think I will attack anyone in Christians personally.

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240 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I went to Catholic School and public school and even a school that was 97% Jewish at one time so I have seen it all and the bigger problem I see that not enough time is spent on religious issues in the schools. They are either all in on one religious faith or avoid the subject altogether and kids learn what they are taught. And if all kids get is a all or nothing lesson that is all they will know and IMO only serve to further mythological bias’s.

Now I am not in support of bible study in public schools but kids have questions and many have no opportunity to get other POV’s on all the other religious faiths out there and I think there is room for improvement in how schools approach and handle this delicate and important issue.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The gideons gave me a bible at school and I turned out OK!

Of course when I say OK I mean card carrying aethist with a degree in evolutionary biology (it seemed like a good idea at the time)

Joker94's avatar

I dunno if it was a good idea for younger kids, as it is kind of a sensitive issue for some people. If they were older, and had the choice of studying it, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed too. I think learning about different faiths is fascinating, so long as it remains unbiased.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I would love the fact they had the chance to get a Bible at school. Since I know the schools never do the correct thing most of the time, my fiancée and I decided when children came they will be home schooled. In a practical sense because every religion cannot be represented I say any Bibles, Book of Mormon, Quran, etc, be offered in a passive capacity, available if the child wants to grab one. If the schools will by law have to teach LGBT slanted lesson, it seem disingenuous to bar the Bible from schools.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central LGBT isn’t a religion….lol.

sakura's avatar

All my family went to the same Catholic school and my daughter, we all recieved bibles. In fact I still have mine! I currently work in a Church of England primary school that has mainly Muslim children in attandance, they all recieved prayer mats for their leaving presents. I dont see the harm if you choose to send your child to a faith school then you cant criticise what they do, there are.plenty of local council schoolsto choose from. However I can see why people may get upset if their child attends a non faith school and brings home a bible. Could this upset be avoided by offering them, and children only.taking them if they want them?

Eureka's avatar

I’d like to see religious tolerance taught in schools. In this day and age, that is more important that teaching one specific religion.

sakura's avatar

I also studied r.e. In high school (ages 11–16) we were taught about not only lots of different religions, but about social issues such as poverty, homelessness, drugs etc… Religion will always be a contriversial issue and schools can not please all of the people all of the time. Council/public schools need teach tolerancee of religion amd in order to do that need to tell children what happens in each religion, how different people pray, believe etc… As misunderstandings can lead to ignorance, which can then lead to all sorts of problems. Just my opinion.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Blackberry LGBT isn’t a religion….lol I know that…....and….. :-)

Judi's avatar

Are they going to allow passing out the Koran as well?

Judi's avatar

@sakura ; she’s talking about PUBLIC school. Probably similar to what you are calling local council school?

JLeslie's avatar

Did you all get the impression it was the school actually handing them out? Or, the school allowing them to be handed out?

@Cruiser I am all for comparative religion classes in high school, and kids sharing their celebrations with the class at younger ages.

@Sakura You went to a Catholic school, of course they handed out the bible, the Catholic version. Do you think your school would have allowed Gideon’s bible to be handed out? No way.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi, That is what I would threaten. I would say stop handing out the bibles, or we will come and hand out Koran’s, the Catholic version of the bible, and pamphlets on atheism. Which I would never actually do, because I just can’t fathom doing it.

Rarebear's avatar

Well, sheesh. It seems clearly unconstitutional to me.

Blondesjon's avatar

If children can handle sex education, adults arguing that it shouldn’t be called Christmas it should be called Winter Celebration, Internet bullying, acne, parents and their hangups, as well as the myriad other problems that they deal with on a day to day basis, well, I’m pretty sure they can handle whatever religion is thrown at them.

The military is allowed to send recruiters to schools why not religion/atheism?

and where in the fuck did the idea that children are so easy to brainwash come from? i remember being a child and the last thing you did what let some boring ass, dip shit adult decide what you did and didn’t believe in.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blondesjon I am not too fond of military recruiters in schools. That would make for a good Fluther question.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The idea of Bibles being handed out to elementary school children as mentioned in the article sickens me. Do people have so little regard for one of the fundamental founding principles of the US? Separation of church and state is not the normal way of doing things. The US is quite set apart from most of the rest of the world in this respect.

The article also mentions the Supreme Court case in which such activity was decided as clearly unconstitutional. What sort of example is the elected school administration setting in this case? They’re sending the direct message that it’s okay to break the law as long as it’s for religion. They clearly show their own willful disregard to the Constitution.

If we’re going to have religious education in public schools in the US, then we have to allow time for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Arrgh!

JLeslie's avatar

@sakura I don’t think the children are forced to take them, but depending on who is giving it out, or what their friends are doing they may feel pressure. The school and area of the country is very Christian, and the Evangelicals in America are probably not like any of the Christians in your country. They have an agenda of wanting to promote their religion and convert people, not simply to teach religious understanding.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It pisses me off when people make trouble over something when they don’t need to. Schools have all kinds of after school clubs, including Christian Clubs if they want. There is a time and a place and a way to do everything, without making yourself into an ass. Is their point to distribute Bibles or to make a scene?

In the same way, I get so tired of some nursing women demanding, apparently, that they be allowed to let it all hang out, anywhere, when it is very, VERY easy to be discrete and nurse smack in the middle of a stadium full of people, or on an airplance, and no one around you would even know, because I’ve done it! Is their point to nurse their baby or to make a scene?

People who make scenes just for attention piss me off, period.

DominicX's avatar

The first time I encountered this was in middle school where some guy was handing out Bibles off the school-campus one block away as kids walked home from school. I remember taking one of the Bibles. And this was in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area. I also remember someone driving by this man and shouting “get away from our school!”

So here’s what I have a problem with: Passing them out on school grounds or during school hours. Inappropriate and should not be done.

Here’s what I don’t have a problem with: Handing them out on the street near the school, but technically off campus.

@Hypocrisy_Central

Because teaching kids that bullying people because they’re gay is the same as bringing religious beliefs into a public school. Sure. Whatever.

Although I think it’s interesting that when something religious comes up, the religious respond by bringing up something GAY. I kind of like how Homosexuality is the opposite of Religion in this day and age. Makes me feel a part of something really significant. Personally, I’m rooting for Homosexuality…

bkcunningham's avatar

Separation of church and state is not found anywhere in the US Cconstitution, @Hawaii_Jake. The phrase is taken from letters between President Thomas Jefferson and the Baptist Association of Danbury, Conn., just after Jefferson became president. The meaning it has taken on today is almost completely opposite that of what Jefferson said and meant in 1801.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie In your post you said, “I recently had a conversation about something similar with an Evangelical acquaintance of mine and when I asked how would you appreciate if atheists went to your children and said there is no God and started giving rational arguments for why they don’t believe and why they completely disagree with actively trying to convert people. His response was, I don’t mind at all, I know my kids are secure in their beliefs.”
After he said that I would have said, “Then why do they (or you) target children?” What makes your children so different from others?
Or maybe I would have started out with that question!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@bkcunningham : I am not going to argue Constitutional law with you, but the article in the OP clearly states a decision by the Supreme Court which bans the distribution of Bibles at public schools.

Blondesjon's avatar

@bkcunningham . . . Exactly! If folks want any more proof of that they just need to open their wallets and read what’s written on their money.

bkcunningham's avatar

I didn’t mean to be disrespectful or argumentative, @Hawaii_Jake, just clarifying that the phrase you used in the previous post isn’t found in the US Constitution.

Eureka's avatar

@Blondesjon – the In God we trust was not added to our money until the 1950’s during the McCarthy Era – when we were terrified of the “Red Menace”. Our founding fathers were not Christians – they were deists. And this nation was not founded to be a Christian nation.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Eureka . . . On paper money. The phrase was being used on coins as early as 1864.

Deism was a religious philosophy in common currency in colonial times, and some Founding Fathers (most notably Thomas Paine, who was an explicit proponent of it, and Benjamin Franklin, who spoke of it in his Autobiography) are identified more or less with this system. Nevertheless, several early presidents are sometimes identified as holding deist tenets, though there is no president who identified himself as a deist. Although George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Tyler are often identified as having some degree of deistic beliefs, most of these identifications are controversial; Washington in particular maintained a life-long pattern of church membership and attendance, and there is conflicting testimony from those who knew him.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Eureka, President George Washington was sworn into office on a King James Bible. When he said the oath of office, it is reported that Washington kissed the Bible and said, “So help me God.” After he was sworn into office as this nation’s first President, he, the Vice President and member of Congress marched in a procession to St. Paul’s Church for Divine Service.

This is part of what Washington said in his inauguration speech: “Such being the impressions under which I have – in obedience to the public summons – repaired to [arrived at] the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being Who rules over the universe, Who presides in the councils of nations, and Whose providential aids can supply every human defect – that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes.”

The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 27. See also George Washington, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James D. Richardson, editor (Washington, D.C.: 1899), Vol. 1, pp. 44–45, April 30, 1789.

Eureka's avatar

Well, I have no desire to argue. But the fact remains that simply because politicians adding a phrase to currency is not proof of anything but the pushing of a personal agenda.

> Almighty Being Who rules over the universe.

And this does not necessarly refer to the Christian God.

However, I digress. To me, freedom of religion actually means freedom from religion – and that means ALL religions. Religion of any sort, or lack of religion, is an extremely personal issue – and one religion is not better or worse than another.

Therefore, no one religion should either be accepted or pushed upon as as the one. And no religions handbook should be offered in a public school.

Believe as you wish, in your home, or church. You have that right. But that right does not extend to schools. Religion had no place in schools or in government, for that mattter.

Times change. Things change. People change. It’s called progress. And progress means accepting things that might not have been valid, in times past.

I am not a Christian. I practice an Eastern religion. Yet I am an American, just like Christians. I work, live, vote, and pay taxes here,.in America, and I love this country – just like Christians do. I do not believe that any of you are telling me that Chrisitianity rules, here, in America, and that my religion is somehow less than or not as valid, in relationship to being an American.

I am fairly new at this site, and have no desire to insult or upset anyone. But I will not comprise my beliefs – and my belief is that one religion should not be held in a higer regard than another.

augustlan's avatar

Clearly wrong. If my school district willfully broke the law in such a manner, I’d gather up every religious text I could find (The Book of Mormon, The Torah, The Koran and The Satanist Bible included), and start handing them out at the school, too.

Blondesjon's avatar

@augustlan . . . That’s what folks need to do and be up front about it.

Parents don’t seem to realize that when you act like something is HORRIBLE in front of your kids, your kids are going to go out of their way to see what all of the fuss is about.

augustlan's avatar

By the way, I’m all for comparative religion courses. Just want to make that clear.

JLeslie's avatar

@Eureka Ah, but arguing is part of what we do best. We just prefer no one personally attacks anyone. Welcome to Fluther!

@bkcunningham Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State”. The Supreme court has used this phrase as a basis to keep and maintain separation of church and state, I don’t know the rulings, I would have to look them up. Since a public school is state, that would ban any authority figure trying to push a specific religion. If a child is told to respect his teachers, and they are portrayed as the people who are knowledgable, the children are set up to drink the koolaid in a classroom setting, whether the teacher tries to say the child can decide for himself or whatever excuse given. The only way to buffer this is to teach multiple religions objectively and in concert.

However, in Utah, just off school premises, adjacent to the schools, students take Mormon classes and receive school credit for it I believe, and I am actually ok with it, because it is an elective not compulsory, and everyone knows what the class is. It is not a random bible being handed out, or what they do here where I live they teach the bible in Literature class to get it into the schools.

Ron_C's avatar

Like Christopher Hitchens once said, “there are no Christian children, or Muslim children or Buddhist children, there are just children”. They are too young to be any religion and in my opinion forcing a religion on children is a form of child abuse.

flo's avatar

Ther should be no passing out any religious material to children period, by anyone other than the parent/guardian. They have no business doing that.

starsofeight's avatar

The Bible is the best selling book of all time, to get one for free is pretty damn cool.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@starsofeight Would you agree it was “pretty damn cool” if someone was at the school passing out the Torah or the Koran? Besides, it’s not like you can’t get one for free just about anywhere.

flo's avatar

@starsofeight whether the book is cool or not, religion is the domain of the parents until they get old enough.

Blackberry's avatar

@starsofeight Hahahaha! Not going to lie, that was funny.

Pandora's avatar

There really is a comical side to this. Children reading a book that has nothing to do with being assigned by a teacher. It would get the same reaction as flyers and phone books. No one reads them and they end up in the trash.
Oh, I can add this to my question about things making me smile today.
Children reading willingly. :D
Thats something I would like to see. You have Christian children who won’t look in a bible unless a Sunday school teacher assigned reading a passage or she/he was standing over head.

starsofeight's avatar

The Gideon Bible is also very cool, especially the large print.

digitalimpression's avatar

Yet another example of how extremists spoil the impression of what is actually quite profound and real.

filmfann's avatar

@Blackberry LGBT isn’t a religion

Well, they’re sure on their knees a lot…

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@DominicX Because teaching kids that bullying people because they’re gay is the same as bringing religious beliefs into a public school. Sure. Whatever. If it were a discussion on bullying that would change the whole complexion of the deal. Just as making a Bible available for those who want one is not the same as preaching to them.

mrrich724's avatar

I think it’s fine, and here are my thoughts:

- It’s a free country, kids should be able to pass them out just as kids should be able to say “no thank you, I don’t want one”

- What’s the worst that can happen? They can become curious and learn about God? Just because you are a parent and may not have those beliefs, everyone should have an opportunity to learn something profound as faith from more than one perspective and then have the freedom to make a choice based on true education.

- In today’s world, anything that will cause people to care for others, be more conscious about their actions, etc should be promoted, not feared. Whether or not God is real (or whether or not you believe in it) the teachings of the bible promote peace, love, and something great to aspire to.

- I think a parent is doing a disservice to their children imposing one belief system on that child b/c the parent believes in it. Expose the children to as much as you can and allow them to CHOOSE. I went to Christian school my whole life. I was forced to go to church once a week. I turned out OK. I also have some issues with organized religion, and I struggle with faith. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I learned alot from both sides and I got to make my choice, I just didn’t have one “side” impressed upon me without an opportunity for true learning.

Blackberry's avatar

There are so many ways to get a bible…..why is bringing them to a public school that important? Should we just set up kiosks like at the mall, too lol? the kids can get manis and pedis, buy stupid t-shirts and fake platinum chains, and well….you get the idea.

plethora's avatar

I’m a Gideon, although I have not been active in 10–12 years. Prior to that I was heavily involved. The official Gideon position on school Bible distributions is to inform the prinicipal, the day before, of the planned distribution on public property near the school, but never on school property. If the principal objects, even though he/she has no right to do so, the Gideons withdraw. Even if the prinicipal OKs the distribution on public property and someone else lodges a complaint, the Gideons will withdraw. The intent is to never offend.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@starsofeight I’m sidetracked by the answers… :) I ask you again “Would you agree it was “pretty damn cool” if someone was at the school passing out the Torah or the Koran?” I would like a response, please.

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III Gideons I know would have no problem with other groups passing out Torah or Koran.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora so that explainsnwhy they want the principal to do something about it. But, it sounds like from what you wrote, with this negative attention, the Gideon’s will just back off anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

@mrrich724 You think like that because you were raised Christian. I think generally Catholics, Jews, Muslims, probably others, are not fond of the idea of their children becoming Evangelical. See, the Christians believe the rest of us are not going to make it to heaven. It feels offensive to me. As a parent, I am not a parent, but if I were, I would not want my children worrying about my soul, or talking Christian bible versus all the time, or trying to convert others, since I am so against people pushing conversion. Sure our children are separate individuals from us, but it is a value I hold not to push my religion, not to judge, to believe all good people go to heaven if there is a heaven, to believe if there is a God we are all created equal. And, so I would be very disappointed if my children did not believe these things also. I would not bother me if they were theists, or even religious, I just prefer they do not exclude others. My husband’s family is Catholic, his parents fairly religious. I would be ok with my children being Catholic, but not the type of Christian who is out there bible thumping. I would accept it if it happened, but it would be very odd for me. I realize there are many Christians not actively trying to convert others, and who are not judgmental. Still, from my perspective it feels like the Christians want to get a hold of my kids, even if it isn’t true. I think it is true though.

mrrich724's avatar

@JLeslie I’ve been to many churches in my life, I’ve been educated by many “fathers” “sisters” and all-around extremely faithful people. I’ve met Jews, Muslims, and I’ve even taken college level bible-based courses (that stick to the historical aspect rather than the religious) and I’ve only met (literally) ONE person in my life who held the belief that they were part of the “ONLY” saved group.

That’s not a common belief when you compare it to the believers who believe that everyone has a chance.

Also, the problem with that is the opposite side with people who PUSH their thoughts and think that a faithful person should be banned from passing out bibles. You believe what you want, let others believe what they want. I don’t think children at school are pushing anything. Children these days wouldn’t go for that anyway.

rts486's avatar

Why not, the left gets to pass out their propaganda.

starsofeight's avatar

@Dutchess_III Here is my answer. If the issue is about books, there is no problem: the Bible is a book, and books belong in schools and children’s backpacks. If the issue is about whacked out parents getting up on their toes, I say they need to chill out. Sure, I could see such reactions if pedophiles moved in next door, but, parents who can only muster one response for any given issue need to reduce their medication intake. If the issue is political, I am apolitical. If the issue revolves around opinions, I prefer mine to others.

If the issue is a matter of faith (but more importantly a matter of settling the truth), I am settled enough not to care. Let them pass out books of other religions. That’s fine. I care nothing for other religions; my thing is the Bible. I care nothing for another’s false sense of the truth; my thing is the true truth.

If the issue is about atheism, they just need to get a clue. They choose nothing over something, and pat themselves on the back. They are fine and dandy only as long as everyone expects nothing from them. But the test of the value of people who choose nothing over something is when someone comes to them in need of something.

I say let everyone go on doing what they do, this is a land of freedom, after all. I will not be the one who tries to teach the children of others about the true God, nor will I try to teach atheists, Buddha-buddies, or Torah-mongers. God will settle all the issues. His plan, which is happening as I type can be found in the 8th chapter of the book of Hebrews.

“I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”

:)

Blackberry's avatar

@rts486 What propaganda are you referring to?

JLeslie's avatar

@rts486 We are not talking about left vs right, this is about religion. Come over here to Memphis and a whole bunch of Democrats are Baptists.

@mrrich724 The majority of the Christians I know also are not going to start preaching to people’s children or trying to convert their friends. Then there are those few who do. My MIL’s Jehovah neighbor is one. Another is a woman who was one of my Account Executive’s when I when I was a buyer in fragrance was saved and then could not shut up, sent religious information to everyone she knew, including those she knew in business. Ironically, not related, but same place of business the woman who took over my position when I left the position as frangrance buyer was an Evangelical Christian and started holding some sort of prayer thing before store opening on store property, that was put to a stop. The letters a close friend of mine’s husband continues to get from his mom as she worries for his eternal soul.

@plethora What is there goal in handing out bibles?

JLeslie's avatar

@rts486 Plus, is the left handing out things on or near school property to students?

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie It is Gideon policy to back off if anyone objects. It is also policy to never set foot on school property unless invited. The purpose in distributing Bibles is to fulfill a New Testament command to take the Gospel into the entire world, but to never force it on anyone.

Mariah's avatar

I haven’t read the other responses yet, so I apologize if I’m being repetative.

I didn’t see anything in the article about what ages of students were receiving Bibles. Though I do not think religion has a place in schools, I don’t think there’s anything terribly wrong with offering Bibles to high school students, given that they can refuse the Bibles if they do not want them. By high school age, children are generally independent enough thinkers that they can read something and decide for themselves whether they want to believe it. But most younger kids believe in Santa Claus just because their parents say he’s real. No, you’re not forcing the Bibles on them, yes they have the right to refuse, but will they? Probably not. In that way, I think passing out Bibles to little kids really is uncalled-for indoctrination that does not belong in our schools.

Edit: Aaaaand I need to read more carefully; you were asking for answers from Christians. Which I’m not. Sorry about that.

tom_g's avatar

Like @augustlan said, I have no problem with comparative religion classes. This would be great. Although, I don’t think this is what religious folks have in mind. When little Billy comes home realizing that his religion is nothing special and is essentially a collection of co-opted mythical stories, then you might have religious people protesting to remove religious education from school.

Blackberry's avatar

@tom_g Hahah, definitely.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Wth?! Public school children get free Bibles? I went to a Catholic school >.> and I had to buy my own…what a waste of money.

Of course during most of my religion classes I enjoyed flicking through the book to find the most terrible parts, I recognized from a pretty young age that everything in it was bullshit.

Some passage about god allowing a father to have sex with his daughter in a cave if there were no other women around for him, set it all off for me…(can’t remember the exact details, correct me if I’m wrong).

Blackberry's avatar

@Keep_on_running Whoa, never heard of that one…....O.o

Judi's avatar

I got into an argument with a Teabagger at a reunion party with my husbands HS buddies. He started arguing that separation of church and state was not in the Constitution.
I (as sweetly as I could) said, “As a Christian, I LIKE separation of Church and State in the schools. I don’t want a Christian teacher leading a prayer in my child’s class, because If I did, I would have to allow a Muslim teacher, a Hindu teacher or a Wicca teacher to lead a prayer in the class room and I don’t think that is appropriate for my children. He continued to argue and his wife (who had proudly admitted being a card carrying member of the tea party) spoke up and said, “I agree with her. I’m a Christian too,” I think I won one over to understanding how separation of Church and State PROTECTS our religious liberties and doesn’t erode them

tom_g's avatar

@Judi – Exactly! That’s great.

I would love to go teach public school kids about Pastafarianism. Just waiting for that wall to go down.

Keep_on_running's avatar

@Blackberry I did some research, I was kinda close. It was allowable for the daughters, yep both, to get their old father drunk and have sex with him in order to continue the family line because there were no other men around.

Here it is if you can be bothered reading:

30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth.
32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

I don’t know where to start, probably best not to as I’m getting off-topic.

Blackberry's avatar

@Keep_on_running Those are some pervasive genes….lol.

Prosb's avatar

The Gideons handed out bibles when I was in high school, and students took them. Mostly just because they would turn the corner, and there would be an orange rectangle being handed to them, so they accepted before they fully reacted to what happened. The Gideons were on school property, and covered all exits of the school. I remember one girl (who happened to be Jewish) getting angry and slamming the book into the box of bibles they had and storming off.
I personally don’t think any religious (or non-religious) sect should hand out bibles on or near school grounds, of any sort. I would however be in full favor of a course in high school about all religions.
(Well, as many as you can cover in a year.)

plethora's avatar

I just read the article again. I know what Gideon policies are on such matters because I used to be very active in the Gideons, including distributing Bibles. It is strictly opposed to The Gideons policy to set foot on school property or to distribute Bibles off school property if anyone has an objection to it. When Bibles are distributed OFF school property, they are simply given to any student who walks by with a normal friendly greeting. Proselytizing is prohibitied by Gideon policy on school distributions.

Gideons will go to any length to avoid a dispute on Bible distributions and requests the principal’s permission to do so on public property located near the school.

OpryLeigh's avatar

When I was at primary school (ages 7–11) we were handed a Bible at the beginning of every term. I am sure the large majority of the books were never opened! I don’t have a problem with it, in fact, I barely give it any thought but that’s probably because I was used to receiving a Bible at school and it didn’t harm me or any of my friends (most of whom are not at all religious nowadays).

The strange thing is, although I went to a christian school, religion was never forced upon us in an uncomfortable or pressured way. We had a half an hour assembly most days when the headmaster or local vicar would tell a story from the Bible that was filled with good morals (while most of the kids dozed off), we would sing a few religious hymns and then get on with our normal lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the school and feel like it had nothing but good intentions even though I am not overly religious now.

I forgot to mention, we never had lessons where we studied the Bible but we did have religious studies where we learnt about all of the main religions across the world and how different cultures celebrated their religion. I enjoyed those lessons.

Ron_C's avatar

Just to be clear, I wouldn’t object to passing out bibles if similar books were handed out for a course on comparative religion. Of course, this should be in the higher grades. King James bible passages can be quite poetic and can be studied as literature because one of the main books our founders studied was the bible. Of course they also studied philosophy, Greek, and Latin. Study during the 18th and 18th centuries considered a good liberal arts education the foundation of learning. Unfortunately we have forgotten their lessons. I suspect that any bible handed out freely would be the “dumbed down” version whose main use is for browbeating and propaganda; literary values have been mostly stripped out.

Judi's avatar

a million years ago, my Jr High school offered Old Testament as Literature and New Testament as Literature. I also had a class in 7th grade called “Animal Farm and Other Animal Stories.”
I didn’t realize until I had my own kids what a progressive Jr High I went to. I’m sure that a lot of other Holy books were also offered as Literature, but I don’t remember any of them.

Ron_C's avatar

Wow, @Judi you went to a really excellent Jr. High! I suspect that it wasn’t a public school in the south or you are a lot older than your picture would suggest.

Judi's avatar

It WAS a public school, in Oregon. It was nearly 40 years ago though. The picture is me, about 4 or 5 years ago.

plethora's avatar

@Ron_C

“I suspect that any bible handed out freely would be the “dumbed down” version whose main use is for browbeating and propaganda; literary values have been mostly stripped out”

Then you would be incorrect (and I would be interested in why you would make such an assumption). The King James Version is still used prolifically as well as the New King James version. Neither are used to browbeat or propagandize, at least not by the Gideons, who are, incidentally, made up solely of businessmen, not idealogues.

mrrich724's avatar

@JLeslie there are always a few people that ruin things by taking their ideology to the extreme . . . but we can’t let them ruin it for everyone!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Just burn all all the books and be done with it.

Pandora's avatar

Wait a second. I just read the the article you had. On there the Freedom From Religion Foundation is being sued for passing out the bible but they say they did not and even upon hearing about it they asked the school principal to stop other students from passing out books.They said the suit is against the school and their organization and that people often think they have money for a suit but they do not.
That article was so vague. For all we know it was one kid who got into an discussion with another kid who said God doesn’t exist and he bought his bible in the next day to make a point.
So do we also start throwing kids in jail for sharing certain ideas. Is that how we want our little place in the world to flow. We are going to put bibles up there with drugs and alcohol.
Things never to bring to school. knives, guns, cocaine, marijuana, alchohol, oh, yeah, and bibles. There will be no exchange of ideas. Oh, wait its a school. Oh, screw this! Send everyone home.
I went to public and catholic school. In both religion was often discussed by students freely, and away from teachers. I feel what we did in out spare time was ours.
I can see objecting if something is being rammed down your throat but thats a little hard to prove unless they can prove teachers are doing it against a students will.
In this little lawsuit happy little world of ours I won’t find it difficult to believe that someone is making a mountain out of a mole hill to make money.
But that said, I rather my kid (if I still had little kids) went to a school and gott handed a mountain of religious stuff from anyone than a needle laced in drugs.
I actually gave my kids the choice of following the christian faith or not. They pretty much are theist. I even encouraged them to look into other faiths. I cannot believe for them. The choice has to be their own.
They also would on occassion discuss things with me at home. Different views. If a parent is so concerned about what their child may be told out in the world than they have a bigger problem.
You raised a child that can easily by convinced by other people. I raised my kids to think for themselves and look at the pros and cons of everything and to recognize people who may have a hidden agenda so they wouldn’t be conned. Not just their friends but their teachers as well.
Its funny how with all the crap that is happening in our schools today that this one would be such a big deal.
Lets review our school problems
Drugs
cheating on tests
bullying
stabbings
shootings
poor education (low test scores, especially low reading levels)
teachers sleeping with students
pedophiles hanging around schools or working there
obesity
depression
suicides
teen pregnancies
dieting extremes
poor lunches
poverty of students
sexual disease
violent behavior
mental disorders
poor building conditions
All or some of these things can exist in any public school at any time. I just don’t see how a book of any kind, is worse than any of the things listed above.

Ron_C's avatar

@plethora I made the assumption because, in my experience, people that try to inject the bible on the least literate because they are the easiest to influence.

I guess you can tell from my comments that I am not impressed by missionaries or fundamentalists and assume the worst. I will admit that I am surprised.

To me, the Gideons are a strange and mysterious group. I see their books in many of the hotels when I travel but never met one of them. Whoever they are, they have no right to pass out bibles in schools. I wouldn’t object to a copy in the school library but would heartily object to the books being passed to individual students. Of course, I would object to any huckster hounding kids as they leave and enter school. Of course the very idea of religious tracts (of any religion) being handed to kids as school policy.

Students don’t spend enough time learning science, math, and critical thinking, they don’t need to be distracted by mythology.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Pandora I’ve been following this question but I couldn’t find the right words to describe how I feel. What you just wrote is perfect. Beautiful answer!

plethora's avatar

@Pandora Great Answer

@Ron_C In the USA anyone has the right to pass out on public property anything they want to pass out. Schools are not public property, so The Gideons do not distribute in schools. As a matter of courtesy and good sense, they do advise the Principal of their presence beforehand and get permission to proceed.

Mariah's avatar

@Pandora I agree that handing a Bible to a student is not a horrible, terrible act, and that we have much worse problems to focus on, but just because there are bigger problems out there doesn’t mean this isn’t important and should be ignored. For example, I would hope that people still care about the people suffering from autoimmune diseases even though those diseases aren’t as “important” or deadly as cancer. Just because something is not the worst problem present doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about it.

That said, I do agree with many of your other points.

tom_g's avatar

The “we have other more important things to worry about” argument doesn’t fly here. Guess what? There is always something “more important”. If we were to wait for every other problem to disappear to address anything, we’d be faced with making a list of problems by severity descending. We would only be able to address the top one. Once that was fixed, we’d go to the next one.

bkcunningham's avatar

Here’s the thing that bothers me the most about the whole situation. If it is happneing in my school district and I don’t approve or I do approve, it is up to me to handle it with my elected school board members. I personally have problems with a group like the The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, a group of self professed atheist and agnostics, coming in to handle things for me. Thanks but no thanks folks. I don’t need or want you watching my back or looking out for the welfare of my children. I’ve got it covered. The organization hands out their propaganda to teachers unions. If teachers want to accept it, that is fine with me. But in my eyes, it is the same as any group, religious or otherwise, pushing their own views and beliefs on me unsolicited.

Mariah's avatar

@bkcunningham But what about schools in areas where the vast majority is devoutly Christian – no parents are going to complain – but the one kid who’s secretly agnostic feels uncomfortable but doesn’t want to speak up for fear of rejection by his peers? And even if there isn’t that one kid, separation of church and state is still a law and should still be followed even if all the parents in the school district have no problem with their kids reading Bibles.

tom_g's avatar

@bkcunningham – They’re not your children. Well, maybe some of the are. But not all. Remember how people in the south during the civil rights fights were opposed to all of those “outsider” northern liberals getting all into the southerner’s business? They felt is was their problem and didn’t like outsiders sticking their nose in.

Pandora's avatar

@Mariah The problem is our public schools are suffering everywhere financially. Frivolous law suits just make things worse. Money that can be used for real concerns but aren’t because its being wasted on lawyers. Even if this law suit turns out to be nothing, because it was one kid who spoke to one other kid then the students in the schools are the ones to lose out. Money still gets wasted on them just trying to prove they had nothing to do with it. As already pointed out. This was something that could’ve been taken up with the school board if it was something teachers and principal was purposely promoting.
Even if its one kid against a whole school. He/she will have to learn to speak their mind. I always remember one thing my mother always said to me since the first grade. You were born with a mouth and the ability to speak. If you don’t like something than use it. In grade school I had to go against other students and even teachers from time to time. I learned to use my words effectively. As parents its our place to teach children to know when to speak up, to know when to stay quiet and to know what to ignore. If the child is growing up in a whole Christian enviroment than school isn’t going to be the only influence. They are going to encounter these children in the neighborhood and be friends with many and their parents. If the parents are so sensitive about the influence this child may encounter than they are no doubt living in the wrong place. Unless they plan to put the kid in a bubble there is no way to protect them from outside influence. Parents have the strongest influence. I remember my kids always complaining about my home rules. Saying other parents aren’t as strict and they would be upset that they couldn’t participate in some things like sleep overs till a certain age, or staying up late with friends or going somewhere unsupervised.
I don’t know how many times I heard them say. I wish I could be in so and so’s family. I simply would tell them, “well, your not, so you might as well get over it”. You live under my roof with my rules.
My point is why are parents afraid to tell children what they believe is right or true. If I moved to a whole jewish neighborhood it wouldn’t surprise me if some Korans were floating about.
Either way. Like I originally said. The article doesn’t claim that the school officials knowingly let this happen, or that the organization was involved. Its just an accusation lodged.
And way too often, when money is being asked, then that is often the real concern.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Pandora I have no ideal if I have maxed out of lurve for you, but you get an attempt from me. Lots and lots of iron in there I can tell you that.

Pandora's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I just get tired every once in a while about the frivolous law suits waged against schools on one hand and then people crying about the lack of funds for schools. I pay my taxes so that money end up in the right hands. Not so some idiot with a plan to make a quick buck ends up walking away with a lottery winning, and kids end up with the short stick. God knows (yes God, I said it) I wouldn’t want to teach children or even be in a school enviroment as a principal. Everyone has to be so PC now and days. Thoughts and ideas are forbidden, if your too nice to a kid your biased or worse, you have to try not to be too tough on a kid because you don’t know if they are going to shoot you the next day, all of this and dealing with drug addictions and health concerns because our kids are over weight, and violent children. Oh, and lets not forget many teachers have to buy students materials to get work done. Don’t ever even tell a kid who sneezes, God Bless because you just pretty much spit on his beliefs. Money spent on gates going up around schools, metal detectors and renta cops instead of books. Teachers who are underpaid and overworked. During all this they are suppose to recognize when a child may be a danger to themselves or others. I think its funny when a parent complains about a bible being given out in a public school, and yet expect teachers and principals to be Gods. All knowing all the time and are held accountable for stuff that happens when it is beyond their control.
I got the perfect solution. Parents who don’t object to be allowed to sue the parents who file bullshit lawsuits and take money away from schools when the school is forced to drop a program or over crowd a classroom, or cut back on teachers to make up for the lose of income.

Prosb's avatar

@Pandora You said “I think its funny when a parent complains about a bible being given out in a public school, and yet expect teachers and principals to be Gods.” as though parents who didn’t object to bibles being handed out don’t have the same unreasonable expectations of teachers and principals. And I think saying that parents expect them to be “gods” is going just a bit too far don’t you think?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Prosb She’s saying that some parents expect principals and teachers to transcend human frailties and errors!

Pandora's avatar

@Prosb Not really. And suing a school for not banning bibles isn’t going a little to far? Oh, and I do think its a lot of parents, both religious and non religious. People expect tons of things going beyond education of their children. Not all but the numbers increase everyday. Forgetting that teachers are human and flawed. Systems aren’t perfect. You want the perfect teacher who knows all? Than the best a parent can do is teach their child at home. If a parent wants only their views to be known to a child, the child to be steered away from dangers of the world and all the rest than, they can keep them home. Instead of looking to make a quick buck off an overworked and underpaid system. The recent cheating that happened in Atlanta is the result of parents wanting results and yet they don’t keep up with their children to see what is happening with their children. I’m not saying the teachers were not wrong but where were the parents in all of this. You know if your kid is behind. You speak to other parents and compare and if your kid seems behind you find them help or talk to their teachers and work out a plan. Everytime a child fails its everyones responsiblity. Grabbing quick money only makes things worse for everyone.
@Dutchess_III Ditto. Well said. And much shorter. LOL ;D

Prosb's avatar

@Pandora I didn’t say that the lawsuit was justified, I was only pointing out that the way you phrased your statement made it seem like there was a connection between a parent not wanting bibles handed out, and the desire for teachers and principals to be “gods”.
And, too much IS expected of teachers, and they certainly are never paid enough for the effort they put into their work. You’d think that, since they teach those that will take our place in society one day, they’d get paid a little bit better. Don’t they want the future populace to make money to spend and pay taxes rather than live on welfare?

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora If I moved to a whole jewish neighborhood it wouldn’t surprise me if some Korans were floating about. Huh?

I don’t like unnecessary lawsuits either. If it can be handled without courts, better.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Mariah, I’m not defending or prosecuting the Gideons. My point is I don’t see the need for the FFRF in the situation.

Ron_C's avatar

@Pandora and @Prosb a school system that is forced to run without a parent’s cooperation is doomed to failure. Schools should not be run to establish things like respect, tolerance, honesty, and work ethic. Those things must be learned at home. The problem is that either the parents are over-worked or not interested in their children’s welfare.

There is a trend away from marriage and the chance for a child to be born out of wedlock is about 50%. Instead of encouraging the commitment to marriage, religious groups are more concerned about preventing gay people making a marriage commitment. Then if the schools use a book where the parents are gay they sue the school.

This is all a terrible mess. I would like to see the schools return to teaching a good liberal arts education. English, Latin, and other languages should be started in 1st grade, math and literature in the higher grades along with U.S. and local history and world history.

Trade school courses should be taught after a student masters these subjects. We need to raise thinkers not simply mindless workers. The founders of our country knew this, somewhere we lost the message among the consumerism and capitalist thought that is now attempting to teach values in school. Families need to teach values ans schools should teach children how to think.

Mariah's avatar

@bkcunningham I know, my reply was meant to describe a situation in which the parents aren’t going to do anything because they’re satisfied with the status quo, even if it’s making some of the kids uncomfortable, and a group like the FFRF might be necessary to change anything.

flo's avatar

I answered the question without having noticed that the OP only addresses christians.

Ron_C's avatar

@flo I wouldn’t worry about it, a lot of us non-christians answered also.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Ron_C and @flo NOW you’ve gone and done it. You’re going to hell you know!

JLeslie's avatar

No problem with non-Christians answering, I just was trying to attract Christians with the main question, because I was very interested in their opinions.

I agree with @Mariah, sometimes a third party has to come in, because they majority is such a huge majority, the minority might have no real voice, our laws are toe text those with no voice, or less power. Power can be many different things, power in the community, power as an employer, power as having more physical strength, many different things.

Groups like the one mentioned here who seek out cases like this, basically do just that, they are like watchdogs almost. What I hope is they first just write a letter or send a representative, if everyone complies then nothing else should come of it, no need for media or lawsuits. Sometimes the media gets involved because of one of the parents, not necessarily the group, but I don’t know much about this group they might be media hounds, not sure, definitely possible.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m a Christian and I feel what they are doing is wrong. It’s up to the parents to decide religious questions for their children, not strangers.

Did you know that Christianity is the only religion that actively goes out and recruits followers?

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III What do you object to, the prayer or the availability of Bibles?

Judi's avatar

@plethora , As another question, Ill give an answer. I object to school sponsored prayer or distribution of religous literature of any kind. Because I value freedom of religon, don’t want anyone inflicting MY religon on anyone, because next week they might be inflicting someone elses on me. (Or my children or grand children.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

What @Judi said. I don’t object to prayer and I have lots of Bibles around the house. I object to strangers coming in and trying to influence my children without my permission. My objection isn’t limited to just nosy Christians butting into my business.

rts486's avatar

@Dutchess_III Muslims do it too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve never been approached by a Muslim.

filmfann's avatar

@Dutchess_III You never walked down a big city street, and had a guy try to hand you a pamphlet, saying “Have you read ‘Mohammad Speaks’?”

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann I have never had that happen to me. Although, I do agree Muslims try to bring people into the fold like Christians, but I honestly have never had a Muslim approach me personally, and have never felt it from any Muslims I have met, or who are friends. I have Mormon friends who also have never done one thing to make me feel like they want to convert me, or question my beliefs, but I have had Mormons and Jehovah’s knock on my door. The only time I have ever had someone I knew personally try to peddle their religion, or question mine in any way was the Baptists. Having said that, I have several Baptist friends who would never do that to me.

plethora's avatar

@Judi I would object to school sponsored prayers for the same reason. As for distribution of literature on public property off school grounds, it’s open season, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a free country and I want it to stay that way. Most religions don’t do it at all. But anyone can and I do not object to that, even those that are offensive about it.

Those that do it successfully and inoffensively do it in a very low key way that rarely offends.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora It seems legally it is not open season. Or, am I still misunderstanding how the laws are written today?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think soliciting children for any reason should be illegal. Except not for the ice-cream truck!

bkcunningham's avatar

Or the boy scouts, girl scouts, Little League; magazine sales; year books; class rings; band instruments; the publishers of the text books; the field trip organizers for colleges, zoos, the state capitols, the sewer treatment plant, the union teachers, elected school boards…

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham What? First of all we are talking about elementary school kids. The field trip organizers would approach the teachers (or, more than likely the teacher would approach the organization they wanted the kids to visit because those organizations get nothing from the trips,) not the children directly. Band is a valid school class that you would expect the schools to offer the kids, and the parents would then have to agree and put out for the instrument. You put a kid in high school expecting the school to offer such things as year books, class rings, etc. It’s not a fair comparison to someone hanging around just outside a schools boundry hawking religion or atheism or communism or sadism or whatever to a gullible mind, especially an elementary school mind. So I ‘m not sure what your point is.

Blondesjon's avatar

i hardly think such people skulk . . . just sayin’

Dutchess_III's avatar

…Hm. What ARE you talking about dear?! :)

Blondesjon's avatar

that is so totally underhanded and bitchy. i love it.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie Pardon the overstatement. Done responsibly in a low key and respectful way it is doable and is done in public.

bkcunningham's avatar

A representative of the Gideons wasn’t “hanging around just outside” a school’s boundaries, @Dutchess_III. The Gideons have had persmission from the principal and school board to hand out the little New Testament Bibles at the high school for years. The Gideons don’t handout Bibles at elementary schools either. They don’t hold a prayer service. They give out information. What is everybody so afraid of? It is a book for the love of God.

Blondesjon's avatar

@bkcunningham . . . i’m sure there are a great number of people that would scream bloody murder over the burning of books and still light a match to burn that particular one. even my hypocrisy doesn’t stretch that far.

plethora's avatar

@Blondesjon The Gideons are throughout the world and distributed 10Mil New Testaments and Bibles last year…just sayin’

Prosb's avatar

@bkcunningham @plethora Some people from my school burned the bibles from the Gideons, and not because they disliked/hated Christianity or religion in general, they just didn’t care. Others threw them at each other, as a kind of snowball-bible fight. The Gideons just kept on handing them out, even to people they could clearly see just throwing them. Only one of them got annoyed, telling them to stop, but they just ignored him. It’s a huge waste of paper either way.

JLeslie's avatar

True, the waste of paper is true. Paper and money. But, I guess they look at it as a numbers game, hand out 50, engage one person in conversation, and then 1 in 100 actually come to church one time to see what the Gideons have to offer, then a percentage of them actually join the church. I completely made up those statistics. Anyway, to continue to fabricate numbers and guess at how they look at the math…then let’s say the one person who joins gives on average $1,000 a year, especially if they are the type of Christians that ask for 10% of their members earnings (I have no idea if the Gideon’s ask for 10%) then the bibles printed and thrown away are quickly paid for in the end, by the few who join, and then give to the church for years. Sure most Gideon Christians are not thinking about the money, but spreading the word of Jesus and saving people, but for sure there is someone somewhere in the ranks watching the money. This is true of all organized religion, I am not picking on the Gideon’s in particular. I always found it disgusting many Synagogues charged admission on Yum Kippur for a seat. Finally in South Florida, where I lived for a long time, most temples stopped doing that, and even advertised on the radio when the policy changed, not sure if they bother to announce it on radio anymore, now that it has been years since they changed the practice there.

Blondesjon's avatar

@JLeslie . . . that’s why jesus got pissed and tore up the temple

JLeslie's avatar

@Blondesjon I don’t think it was Jesus who tore up The Temple.

bkcunningham's avatar

The Gideons don’t have a church nor do they have a denomination, @JLeslie. Of course, @Blondesjon was referencing when Jesus tore up the temple and overturned the tables and threw out the money changers along with the livestock and other animals they were selling.

@Prosb, that’s sad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham You need to read the link. Read the article that prompted this question:

“In allowing Gideons to distribute bibles to elementary school students, DeSoto County Schools is placing its ‘stamp of approval’ on the religious messages contained in the Bible.”

The complaint issued to the Freedom From Religion Foundation mentioned two specific schools, Oak Grove Central Elementary and DeSoto Central Elementary schools where the Bible distribution has taken place.

However, you are correct in that the people weren’t hanging out just outside of the school property. Someone above made that suggestion and it stuck with me.

And you are right. They were handing out Bibles during instructional time, obviously with the Principal’s approval. This leads me to wonder what kind of class they might have at an elementary school that would require the Bible as part of the curriculum.

I wouldn’t have near the issue if we were talking about High School students. I can imagine some lively debates would ensue!

bkcunningham's avatar

You are right that the article quotes the letter from the FFRF as saying elementary schools, @Dutchess_III. I was just going by something I read on the Gideon’s site saying the distribution is done with children age 12 and older. I would hope everyone upset with the Gideons relationship with the school district is just as upset with the work the school district does with Habitat for Humanity, another Christian group. They quote Bible scripture on their website. The school is involved with this group also.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, the OP didn’t direct us to the Gideon’s site. According to the article they were “targeting” elementary schools. So, what we have now is conflicting information.

As far as I know, none of the schools here participate in Habitat for Humanity. However, if they did I wouldn’t object. It would simply be a way to help the kids learn social compassion. It isn’t a way to try and convert them to a specific belief.

There are lots of organizations out there that have Christian foundations. That doesn’t mean that participation in them is going to lead to indoctrination. I don’t get preached at when I go to the Salvation Army thrift stores, or if I donate blood to the Red Cross.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Dutchess_III . . . the red cross would if they new they were getting some of your devil blood

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I am confused then. @plethora said he is a Gideon. I find much more fault with the principal than anyone. The Christian group was doing what they like to do, it is part of their mission. Sounds like they asked for permission, and the principal gave his stamp of approval, he should know better. I believe @plethora when he says the Gideon’s would not have given out bibles without permission, unless there is some wildcard zealous Gideon out there not following their own rules, but then I still would not hold the group responsible.

If a Christian based group did something with the school, but does not mention any Christian stuff I am fine with it, even during school hours. If it is after school hours they can do whatever they want, as long as they are not duping anyone, and as long as parents approve it for their children with full knowledge.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham If they hand out the book of atheism to elementary children are you ok with it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie Yep, yep and yep!

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie, the group objecting to the Gideon organization is an atheist group. I object to them dictating what happens in local governments and the lives of local families who send their children to school. They are futhering their agenda. What is the difference?

People aren’t getting preached at when they accept or refuse a Bible from the Gideons either @Dutchess_III. If by accepting what they offer, you are threatened or brainwashed or being stalked or whatever objection you can think of, I’d advise you to be careful donating to the Salvation Army thrift stores and furthering their Christian based organization.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III What yep?

@bkcunningham I have no idea what you are saying. I asked if you are ok with an atheist book being handed out at schools? I have no idea if the group objecting is atheist, it does not matter to me. I have seen many a priests, rabbis, and ministers argue for separation of church and state and leaving religion out of public schools. I have seen others argue the opposite. Even clergy stand on various sides of the issue, not just atheists are pushing for it.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Also, I wanted to step into your conversation with dutchess. Salvation Army does not hand young children a bible from my experience. My sister volunteered with Catholic Charities as a big sister. They never spoke about religion at all with the volunteers, they were happy to accept her help, atheist Jewish woman that she is, she never felt uncomfortable.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

We can just cut to the chase; simply hand out condoms instead, they are all boinking like bunnies anyhow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“People aren’t getting preached at when they accept or refuse a Bible from the Gideons ” We aren’t talking about just people. We’re talking about children. Not middle school or high school children either. Elementary school children. According to the article the OP posted as part and parcel of this discussion.

Further, the atheists are confronting an organization, not individuals. If the Gideons want to do battle with some other grown ups, go for it. I’m out of it.

@JLeslie You made three good points in the post above my yepyep. So I said “Yep” three times.

bkcunningham's avatar

I can honestly see where people would be leary (how the heck do you spell that word? lol). But my point is to dig a little deeper and see what is going on on both sides. I think it is an interesting discussion. I hope in the back and forth and different points brought up by everyone, someone else besides me learns something. I didn’t know about this particular case until @JLeslie posted the link. It just made me want to know more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The crux of this whole question is the fact that children, rather small ones at that, are being “targeted.” It’s not their (the Gideon’s) business. It’s the parent’s business.

bkcunningham's avatar

That is exactly what I said in the very beginning of my participate in the discussion, @Dutchess_III. It is the parents’ business, period.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham You still have not answered my question. I assume you purposely prefer not to. I take that to mean you are not fond of the idea of atheist material being given to young children in schools.

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have yet to figure out what your point of view is on this except that you think children are somehow being mentally brutalized. Is there anything that a ten year old these days is NOT exposed to? It would seem to me that a Bible or New Testament placed in a ten year old’s hands would be the least offensive of all they come across….including how to make themselves very fat at the local fast food fat farms on every corner. If you find this egregious, then let the atheists place atheistic material in their hands, or the Mormons, or the Hindus,or the Buddhists. Whatever they get, they are going to learn something, and probably something of benefit….maybe even how to avoid cramming themselves full of fast food. Nobody’s making them read any of it.

Prosb's avatar

@plethora Where I went to school, at ten years old you were starting middle school.
This is an elementary school, most kids are ages six to nine. Trying to stretch it by saying the kids there are the maximum possible age of ten is pretty underhanded. It also doesn’t make sense to say, ”Is there anything that a ten year old these days is NOT exposed to?”, as though, since they get exposed to plenty of junk regularly, why not pile more on top?
The only thing you said you had figured out about @Dutchess_III‘s point of view, was that
“you think children are somehow being mentally brutalized.”
Wow. That is some impressive inflation. The only things I’ve seen @Dutchess_III say, are generally pointing out that if you’re going to convince anyone of anything, children are a very easy target. It is for this reason that bibles shouldn’t be given to them, or anything of that nature, because they are more easily convinced than most. You wait until they are older, and have their own experiences and knowledge to weigh this new information against.

I’m not too sure where children’s weight problems came into the picture, that one was kinda out of left field.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie, I did answer your question. This atheist group is attempting to dictate what families do at their local schools and I don’t think it is right.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham The atheists, I am not talking about this specific group, but even that group, are not passing out atheist information. If a book is a book, and is just information people can take or leave why do you care if atheists might present literature representing their point of view and reasoning to a 9 year old? I, personally would be completely against, the same way I am against the bibles. But, if you are ok with the bibles, you have to be ok with all information regarding God and religion, or lack their of. I don’t feel you answered the direct question. The answer to my question is a yes or no answer. Yes, I am ok with atheist material at public schools; or no, I am not.

Local communities has nothing to do with it. If you live in Boca Raton, FL because of your job, and all those Jews, many atheists, who have children attending the school your child is at, wanted to hand out atheist or Jewish material and teaching it to your 7 year old, and doing prayer in Hebrew, your minority voice would have no weight how you want to do things. The law protects you as the minority. Not that Jews or atheists would ever do it, I can’t see it ever happening. Maybe the example of Dearborn, MI and prayer in Arabic will carry more weight with you. Local communities should not get to decide. Local communities do messed up things regarding our laws and constitution all of the time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would not want any religious or anti religious group foisting their beliefs on my children in any way behind my back, period. Having said that, I find a great deal of value in the Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic beliefs, as well as the Christian. I still don’t want anyone influencing my children without my knowledge.. When I enroll them in school I’ve given the staff permission to teach my children the fundamentals of education, not to foist their religious beliefs on them, or to allow anyone else to. If the principal condoned it, he was a fool.

@bkcunningham I agree that atheist groups attempting to dictate what families do at their schools is wrong. But so are Christians or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Church of the Latter Day Saints wrong to attempt to do so. Anything that doesn’t have to do with education doesn’t belong in the schools.

Back in the 70’s our SS teacher had us do a lesson that was done all through the country, and eventually came under fire. She gave us a list of 5 people, different ages, different skill levels, from a 6 year old to a WWII Vet and everything inbetween, and stuck them on an island. We could only save one person. We had to decide who was the most “valuable” to society. As I said, that exercise came under fire and was dropped. It’s the same thing with religion. People trying to tell my children that a certain sect of people are more important than another is wrong.

I think you posted that question to @plethora originally, @JLeslie. I’m still waiting t hear the answer too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I did, I tried to look back and see where I asked @plethora. In my mind I don’t feel like I meant to ask him. I would be interested in his opinion, but I felt like he had an understanding why people might object to religion in school. @bkcunningham seems to not get it at all. I get the impression she feels we are trying to eliminate Christianity by reinforcing a secular public, rather than our real intention to preserve every parents right to raise their child in whatever religion they see fit without interference from the state, or the community at large. Many Christians think secular is a war on Christianity, they think religious silence is the fight against God. But, what they seem to fail to see is religious silence does not promote atheism, promoting atheism as the Christians promote Chrsitianity would be promoting atheism. And, I am not trying to group all Christians, I am simply using general terms.

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III I would not want any religious or anti religious group foisting their beliefs on my children in any way behind my back, period. And I would agree.

But I think that in order to “foist” beliefs on anyone, one must do a lot more than offer a book or pamphlet for the taking, which would either end up in the trash or in the home where you would see it.

My son, when he was about 8, came home with a Playboy that he had found in the woods. He showed it to me and his mother. Instead of grabbing it away and trashing it, I suggested we all look at Miss February. So we included his younger sister and we all got our eyeful and decided to throw it away after we had all looked at it. Hopefully, and apparently, we made it a non-event, as I don’t ever recall another problem with porn.

So if some literature comes into your home, let them look at it and you look at it too. Then trash it if that is what you feel is best. Nothing in my home, when raising children, came into the home behind my back because I made it a point to see what came into the home, but never to act as though it was something that was too shameful or dangerous for my children to see.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie FFRF notified the school district on Monday that it has received complaints saying Gideons distribute bibles to DeSoto County students during instructional time of the school day, prompting the organization to ask the school to no longer allow the activity.

One never knows how much of a news story to believe. If Gideons were doing this, then they should have been asked to leave. However, I had some very close association with The Gideons for a number of years and I cannot imagine this happening. Gideons know that this is the best way imaginable to attract confrontation and bad press. They have policies prohibiting this. Not to say it did not happen. But if it did, the specific Gideons who did it did not make any friends for themselves at Gideon HQ.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie, I know what the King James Bible says. You asked me to only answer “yes or no,” to your question, “If they hand out the book of atheism to elementary children are you ok with it?” I am not familiar with the book of atheism. Would you direct me to a link where I can find it please.

Judi's avatar

@bkcunningham, what difference does it make what the book is? Change the Book of Athiesm to the Book of Mormon, the Koran or the Wicca Bible.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham Or just change it to pamphlets that scream “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD!” Would you have a problem with people handing that out to the children?

bkcunningham's avatar

If all they were doing was standing there and handing them out if the kids wanted them, I’d not have a problem with that if the group that was handing them out had a reputation like the Gideons International and passed the scrutiny of the school board. So what organization is going to hand out the wicca bible or the Koran or the Book of Mormon, @Judi?

Is there an organization that has really tried to do that and been told “no”? I’ve heard of wicca’s stopping bachelorette services at high school graduations. I’ve never heard of wicca’s trying to hand out the wicca bibles though. Is there a real wicca bible? Never heard of it to be honest. I know I checked out witchcraft, wicca and paganism books from my high school libray back in the day, but I don’t remember seeing a wicca bible.

Judi's avatar

Your not getting the point. If you allow religious distribution in school, you can’t discriminate.

bkcunningham's avatar

Why? I would hope parents discriminate all the time when it comes to what their children can or cannot do or watch on television or what they think is appropriate reading for their children or appropritate activities or field trips or after school activities. Even on what they are being served in the lunch room. I think parents have a right to be discriminant on every aspect of what happens in their children’s schools. I get your points. I honestly do. I just think it should be decided by the parents and the school boards and not a group of atheists from Wisconsin.

Did you see what happened at the same school @Judi with this same atheist group just before the group threatened to file the lawsuit over the Gideons?

bkcunningham's avatar

And how would it be discriminating? I said I’d let your other groups give out their literature. You just didn’t answer my questions.

Judi's avatar

So you wouldn’t mind if your child brought home Wicca literature they got at school? As a Christian, I would hit the roof!!
I don’t want a doctrine that is inconsistent with my belief system pushed on my children at school. I may cherish the Bible, but I will put it in my childrens hands.
This really has turned into an argument just for the sake of argument though, and I think you really just want the last word.
I’m stoping following this question as it is getting dull, so rant on and have the last word. I won’t be hanging around to listen.

bkcunningham's avatar

If they brought it home, @Judi, whether they got it from a friend or someone passing it out on the street corner, I’d talk to them about it in a manner appropriate for their age and understanding.

I’m not trying to get the last word. I was asking you questions the same way you asked me questions. Except I answered your questions and you didn’t answer mine. I was taking the questions as a learning experience and trying to get some insight.

Prosb's avatar

/Facepalm @bkcunningham
This thread has turned into people explaining things to @bkcunningham, and then he/she not listening.
It’s just going in circles, and has become stale. Going to stop following this one.
Thanks for the thread while it was still interesting everyone.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Somehow I always wind up feeling you are extremely passive aggressive. I guess if you are lucky your kids bring the materials home and you can discuss it. Either you are really in a different mindset than everyone else I know, or you really don’t get it. It seems to me you have no concept of what it is like to be the minority voice, and have no understand at all what our complaints have to do with. If you are the minority voice your school board won’t give a shit if majority vote rules. You won’t get to control what is given to your kids, you will need the law to protect you. I know I am repeating myself.

It would be one thing if you said you understand our fears but differ in your opinion, but you seem completely oblivious to why we might have objection. How can that be? Like what we are saying is crazy. Similar to the man who says to his wife, “that wasn’t me kissing that other women, you didn’t see what you thought you saw.” It feels the same to me, that feeling of trying to confront a person who ignores what I am saying. That is why so many are dropping out of the conversation. You are not listening or addressing their questions and concerns.

@plethora I hope I came across to you as understanding that you, having been associated with the Gideon’s, do not wish to do anything against a parents wishes for their own children. And, that I understood the Gideon’s do not persist when asked to stop. I was not sure you felt as though you need to drive the point further home, or that you were just providing more information on the particular case.

bkcunningham's avatar

Why won’t you answer my questions? I thought that was the point of a discussion.

JLeslie's avatar

What about the book of atheism? I don’t know of any such book being distributed in schools. I cannot imagine an atheist ever doing such a thing. I know there have been books written on atheism, I have never read one. It doesn’t matter which book. It is exactly what @Dutchess_III wrote, it will be information stating there is no God. Maybe go as far to show inconsistencies in religious beliefs. Quote scripture from the old and new testaments that contradicts itself.

What @Judi wrote is the simplest way to put it, “your not getting the point. If you allow religious distribution in school, you can’t discriminate.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham….What was the question?

flo's avatar

Should the clergy person be teaching reading writing and arithmetic during mass? There is a time and place for aeverything.

JLeslie's avatar

I take back a little of what I said, there have been some rogue atheists trying to fight back by posting there is no God where religious symbols are on public property, or billboards and bumper stickers saying there is no God or it is ok to not believe, to fight back against Christian efforts. I guess it serves to try to get Chrsitians to understand what it is like to have all those crosses, and Jesus in our faces. I don’t like any of it. I don’t like when atheists do it or religions. I have never ever heard a report of it at a school though.

I am atheist and I would never want some sort of atheist book, pamphlet or class on atheism taught to my young children, because I don’t have confidence in how exactly it will be taught. My husband is a theist, his family are thiests too, and Catholic. I don’t want anyone on one side or the other saying something extreme to my children. I want my children to be raised respecting all beliefs and knowing their parents beliefs first. A friend of mine converted to be Catholic for her husband, she was raised Methodist. She says in both churches they speak negatively about the “other” religions at time, from up on the pulpit, and it horrified her, because her kids have family from both religions.

plethora's avatar

@Judi Nobody passes out Bibles at schools. FYI. Do you think anyone could get away with that for a moment? This is a very slanted and misleading article.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora Where I live they study the bible in literature class to slip through a loophole. You might have seen me mention it before. It probably is not a loophole, but blatant disregard for the law, but no one has challenged it I guess. I am completely against it.

tranquilsea's avatar

sorry if this has already been mentioned. I just don’t have the time to read 150++ posts

If they met me and my children on the street would they hand a bible to my kids? Probably not. They shouldn’t do so at school either.

I’m all for comparative religion classes.

flo's avatar

@plethora ’’‘_Nobody passes out Bibles at schools. FYI’’? Do you mean you have never seen anyone doing it, or you have never heard of it, or you don’t know of any documented evidence?

bkcunningham's avatar

@tranquilsea, if you have ever stayed in a hotel or motel, chances are there was a King James Bible in the room, donated by the Gideons. According to their website, some 1.6 billion Bibles have been distributed free by the Gideons Internation since they were formed in 1908.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham If my child finds a bible in a hotel room, most likely I am there with my kid. Handing my kid (I don’t have kids, but if I had children) a bible on school grounds or near school grounds when there is no adult supervision, except maybe a crossing guard, is flat out odd to me. Soliciting an 8 year old to take a bible? To take anything?

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie @flo There seems to me to be a huge difference between passing out Bibles/New Testaments (or anything else) ON school grounds vs OFF school grounds, but closeby. To do it ON school grounds implies school endorsement, to which I would be opposed in the day in which we live. There was a time when I would have thought that acceptable, but certainly not now.

I can only speak in reference to The Gideons but certainly not as a representative of The Gideons. I have just had several years of intense participation with them, but not at the present time. The Gideons, however, should certainly be considered an ideal model for distributing any kind of literature near school grounds, or anywhere else. They currently operate as noted It is written policy to cease distribution if even one person objects to it. Never, ever, ever, is any “right to distribute” asserted, although we do all have that right on public property, or privately owned property, if permission is obtained.

Having been raised in a rather liberal home where discussion of the Bible or any system of belief was absent, I was quite delighted when, at age ten, in the fifth grade, (probably on school property, at that time in the South) I was offered a New Testament. It was not forced on me. I simply had the opportunity to take it from a man’s hand when he offered it. I have never seen The Gideons do it any differently.

My parents were not the type to deprive me of reading anything. I could read anything I wanted, regardless of the topic, which would have included any religion or atheism. They would have engaged me in conversation on what I was learning and discussed different points of view. I did the same with my kids when they were growing up. I, therefore, have no fear of children reading anything. Better they read it in an open atmosphere where they can discuss it.

This news article, in my opinion, is an effort on the part of the FFRB to garner public opinion for themselves. Who complained and to whom? Apparently they did not complain to The Gideons. If they had, the distribution would have ended in short order. “On instructional time”? I doubt it. That is opposed to Gideon policy and is not in the best interests of The Gideons to distribution on school grounds or on school property. They avidly avoid opposing anyone. Note there is not even a comment in the article from anyone associated with The Gideons.

Enough for tonight. Heading for bed.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora Whether on school property or off, or nearby or not, I just find it odd. I am not angry, or saying it should be illegal, just find it odd. I cannot imagine ever giving a young child literature directly, I would always go through their parents.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie I guess since I was getting my hands, at age ten or younger, on anything I wanted to read, I don’t find it odd. Especially true since it is done graciously and without insistence. I would feel the same way about material on atheism. BTW, age ten is the age to which Gideons distribute. Once the kid hits the school system they become less and less dependent on what the parents want them to read. I DO agree that if it comes into the household, the parent should have sense enough to read it and allow the child to do so…or trash it.

JLeslie's avatar

I would encourage my children to read anything and everything also. Well, I would not want them to read very violent books, information that might be very upsetting, give them bad thoughts that are hard to shake. So, I guess I would try to control what they read a little, try to be age appropriate. If they wanted to read the bible I would not be against it. My husband’s family is Catholic, my children, if I had children, would be around Catholics, my MIL crosses my husband, we do Christmas with them, etc.

augustlan's avatar

The article @JLeslie originally linked says, “Gideons distribute bibles to DeSoto County students during instructional time of the school day” (emphasis mine). That doesn’t sound like ‘off school property’ to me.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora I was thinking about this more. No matter what, the goal seems to convert. When a Jewish person talks about their religious texts, we have no goal at all to convert, we don’t feel the other person will be better off as a Jew, or that they are missing something because they are not aware of Judaism. We would only be explaining our own beliefs. It would only come up if there was a religious discussion, or someone specifically asked us a question. We would not be passing around our book, especially to someone else’s children, hoping they open it and find their way to Judaism.

You speak of the Gideon’s just handing books out, people can refuse, I believe you are sincere in that, but the intent really is to spread the word.

tranquilsea's avatar

@bkcunningham Your argument would make more sense if the hotel was one just for kids. As it is most hotels room are rented for adults by adults. I highly doubt the Gideon’s purpose is to get to the relatively small amount of children who stay in hotel rooms.

plethora's avatar

@augustlan If The Gideons were invited by an official of the DeSoto County School system to come onto school property and distribute, then I believe it is permitted. However, to do so would be a foolish move as it leaves The Gideons open to exactly this kind of accusation.

IMO, the article is a propanda piece by FFRF. If they wanted it stopped, a simple telephone call to the school would have done the job.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora There is always the possibility that in that part of MS people are clueless. The Gideon’s there, the principal, many of the parents. They have no clue that it will be controversial until it is, because they are so narrow in their particular community. No matter what the law, school policy, or rules that guide how a Gideon bible is given out, they (these particular people in this particular part of the country) are just are ignorant, naive, and unaware. It does not represent all Gideon’s, all Principals, all Christians, etc.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie Anything is possible but I think this is unlikely. DeSoto County MS is adjacent to Memphis and, to my knowledge, is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie Re your earlier post as to the reason for distribution, seems to me we are talking about a different subject here, one of our basic rights as a citizen. How would you like to see it handled?

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora Then how else do you explain it? They purposely defied policy? I was trying to give them a break by just saying they were ignorant. Desoto is a mix of very southern and Memphis growing into the suburb. I am about 22 miles northeast of downtown Memphis (meaning the Mississippi River’s edge, the Memphis boundary is just a few miles from me) and they are still plenty of people around me who are not too bright, many of whom have educations. Remember the mayor in the next town from me putting on his Facebook they should have kept the vote for landowners only. I mean that is pretty narrow and ignorant for more than one reason.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora I am only saying I think the intent of the distribution is what bothers people. It is why Christians get such hard push back from other religions. We disagree philosphically at the root of the thing. I can’t get past point A, wanting to convert someone, to me that is point A. Your mind set is my faith has helped me, and I want to share it with others, in fact I am told to share it with others to help them. Or, something like that. I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I see how your intent is good, trying to help others, if I let myself see it from your perspective. But from my perspective it is offensive, disrespectful, uncomfortable, and unusual. Especially when someone is doing it regarding children.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie I hate to keep referencing The Gideons, but that is where my experience lies. There is a huge “IF” in front of the article. FFRF’s end could have been accomplished easily and quickly with a phone call. Instead, they chose to do a PR piece on themselves. Therefore I think critical info is missing…...so, what’s new re news accounts.

There is only one way The Gideons could have been on school property and that is with an invitation. If the school board should not have issued an invitation, that is for the school board to deal with.

I know that the rule about distributions is enforced from the top down. I know that Gideons are all businessmen and are usually pretty savvy about how to deal with such situations. And I know that it is common knowledge among Gideons that going on school property without an invitation is THE quickest way to get in trouble.

That said, let me note that the Freedom From Religion Foundation pisses me off at least as much as you are pissed off from your perspective. There is not a person in America who is forced against his/her will to participate in any religion. SO….the agenda must be something else, and I won’t speculate on what that might be. Point of saying this is I do not accept the news report at face value.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora I don’t know the underlying intentions of the FFRF specifically, I do not know them well enough. But, their actions are the same as what I would want, I don’t want a principal deciding to give out bibles. I again, completely believe everything you say about Gideon’s and agree the Principal is at fault. For all we know he is a Gideon?

I think the problem is you equate blocking religious teachings or the offering of a bible as equal to saying someone cannot practice their religion. FFRF is saying, you can practice your religion just keep it to yourself. The FFRF is not trying to hand out anti religious materials, or tell anyone how to believe.

Are you saying you think the FFRF is hoping to achieve some sort of religious free atheist country? Maybe. I doubt it, but maybe I don’t know. They might be extreme atheist nutso people. That is why I don’t want any atheists books handed out, as I explained to bkcunningham. But, most atheists are not that way.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I didn’t read all of the above responses, so I apologize in advance if I’m repeating

As a Christian I prefer that our public schools commit to a seperation of Church and State. If they feel like handing out a Gideon’s Bible, then they should be passing out other bibles (New American, Koran, etc) for comparisson and contrast purposes in High School not elementary school.

I am completely against elementary schools having any religious studies unless it is a private school.

flo's avatar

@plethora whoever makes a point of handing out material to children behind the backs the parents, is working agianst the parents, because the parents are supposed to know who/what their children’s influences are. They can’t claim it is an innocent act.

What if athiests were distributing material to the children of Gideons et al, at their school? They would find that hostile I’m sure. There is no explaining this away.

Dutchess_III's avatar

On school grounds, near school grounds…at the pool, the park, whatever, no adult has the right to solicit children for any purpose without their parents in attendance.

Granted, the media is full of stuff aimed at children. However, the vast majority of the time, unless they’re in school, elementary school children are somewhere near their parents.

flo's avatar

’’‘_Nobody passes out Bibles at schools. FYI’’ @plethora, you have to make up your mind if nobody did it, then why would there be this need to defend it?

Nullo's avatar

Consider the viewpoint of the Christian: these kids are doomed to an eternity in Hell if they aren’t saved. This is about saving lives, and only faith in Jesus Christ can do that; all other religions are diabolical traps laid by a spiteful enemy. Passing out Bibles in school becomes akin to passing out food and clean water to the starving kids in Africa, and not giving equal time to other faiths is keeping some horrible person from poisoning that aid.

So it’s not really all that outrageous, though bypassing the parents is not ideal.
You are an atheist, so this all seems ridiculous to you. But this is how things are.

augustlan's avatar

@Nullo I understand that view point, but it’s against the law in the US. Isn’t breaking a law some kind of sin or something?

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I have empathy for that position. I understand Christians feel their rights are being taken away, and they worry about the path the nation is going down. It is the same on the other side. The people who don’t agree with prosthelityzing, who don’t want religion in government. Both sides are terrified, offended, and angry. They both have it in common.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just don’t think it’s the Christian’s problem.

plethora's avatar

It is not against the law in the US to distribute any written material on public property. It might be offensive to some, but it breaks no law.

I, personally, would not be at all offended if my kid came home with atheistic material he had received on the street. It would create an opportunity to discuss Christian beliefs as opposed to atheism.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I have spent many years studying the atheist, and like yourself I am not wholly ignorant of his concerns. Nevertheless, one must do what is right.

@augustlan So long as the law of the land does not conflict with God’s commands, we are to obey the law. In the event that they do conflict, God gets precedence over the state. We would, for instance, be free to ignore a law banning evangelism, since we’ve been told to evangelize. (See Acts 5:27–29).

@Dutchess_III Evangelism is actually mandated in Christian doctrine. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Matt. 28:19

augustlan's avatar

@plethora Again, we are not talking about public property. The bibles were handed out in school.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s right, @augustlan. Schools are private, protected property. It’s called soliciting.

@Nullo So would you have a problem with atheists handing out pamphlets to your children at school?

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Nullo so are you telling me that because it is written in the bible that you feel it is OK to kidnap a woman and rape her? Judges 21:10–24 That soldiers are free to rape the virgin women of their enemies? Numbers 31:7–18

tranquilsea's avatar

There is an unspoken rule about the conversations that one should have with other people’s children. You don’t bad mouth their parents to them and you should also not try to convert them.

flo's avatar

@Nullo _
First, Passing out Bibles in school becomes akin to passing out food and clean water to the starving kids in Africa
This is not a life and death situation, and if the Christians are looking at it that way, then you should fix their way of thinking, that is all it means, not perpetuate the flawed thinking. How about if they just kidnap them then?

Second, So it’s not really all that outrageous, though bypassing the parents is not ideal.
It is not just not ideal, it is unacceptable. It is provoking hostilitly. Again, What if athiests were distributing material to the children of Gideons et al, at their school? They would find that hostile I’m sure. Or as @Dutchess_III asked, So would you have a problem with atheists handing out pamphlets to your children at school?

It is really about picking your own size. If there is any converting to be done, it should be adult to adult. Find people who are intellectually and maturity-wise on similar level, and be available for them to come to you, like some “Awake” distributers who stand there with the magazines, and let people come to them. Kids would be too shy/respectful of “authority” figures to refuse the material. If you start preaching to them they are not going to be knowledgable enough to stump you with questions. So, It is cheating.

If anyone wants to want to save the children, how about things like “Toddler’s and Tiara” Save them from their incredibily….never mind, parents, and the network that airs it, and and all the enablers from A to Z. If there ever was a case for Child Potection Services, there it is, a glaring example.

plethora's avatar

@augustlan I am 100% in favor of not distributing Bibles on school property…anytime. I am distrustful of this article and have limited my comments to the Gideons activity on Bible distribution. I do know for a fact that doing such is a fools errand and that Gideons carefully avoid doing same ON school property. Did it actually happen and was it the Gideons. I would want proof the Gideons did it. Been there over and over and over….and know the prohibition is strict.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Do you have any worry of tit for tat? The louder Christians get the louder the athiests and other religions get. Why start a religious war? When you can peacefully have your religion for yourself and your family without interference.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie Re your question to @Nullo I think we are talking a tempest in a teapot here. The distribution of written religious material has been going on, not just for years, not just for decades, but for millenia (well, hundreds and hundreds of years at least). It was one of the primary reasons for the invention of the printing press, so that every person could have a copy of the Bible.

Frequently I find a Book of Mormon in a hotel room along with a Gideon Bible. I believe the Book of Mormon to be a pack of lies from beginning to end. However, I leave it in the drawer because they have a right to distribute their religious material. No flash riots appear to be on the horizon. If atheistic material were there, I would leave it. Atheists have the same rights.

If one wants to consider it a “war of words”, so be it. I do not consider it that. It is simply the right of free expression. Freedom of speech. And it’s a pretty quiet endeavor.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(How come non of the people who feel that it’s ok won’t answer the question about being OK with atheists handing out literature to their children….?)

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think I have answered this above, but will do so again rather than try to look it up. Atheists and any other religious (or non-religious) group have the right of free speech, which includes peaceful distribution of literature. I would have no problem with my child (age 10 or older) receiving atheistic literature (not on school property). When it showed up at home, it would afford an opportunity to discuss its claims vs those of the Bible.

bkcunningham's avatar

I answered it above.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora I think your answers have been very different than @Nullo.‘s I don’t feel you are of the same mind on this topic.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@plethora Age 10 and up is moving into middle school. We’re talking about elementary students, ages 5 to 11. So now you need to answer how you would feel about atheists or any other orgainizaiton attempting to pass out their literature to, say, your 3rd grader.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham I gotta get ready for work now. I’ll go search for your answer later.

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III For me personally, I have no problem with distribution of any literature to any age because I know how I would handle it when it got home. This would be on public property, not in the school. I am fine with no distributions in schools to any age child. No one should receive preferential treatment in the schools, IMHO.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie @Nullo and I may differ, but I am not sure how. I would be interested in how you think we differ.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So…@plethora why did you initially specify you’d be OK with it if your children were 11 or older?

flo's avatar

You teach your own chidren, I teach my own children, (Added: i.e, I endoctrinate) it can’t get any simpler. Why complicate matters? Are there too many students coming out of high school not knowing how to make change or just not knowing the basics in general? So why don’t these schools and parents practice whatever it takes to maintain high enough standards when it comes to reading writing arithmetic?

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora It just seemed you are willing to accept it bothers some people and acceot it. Accept the rules so to speak. But, @Nullo basically said some parents might not like it, but it is saving souls. It feels like he does not care about the parents wishes, and is less able to put himself in the other person’s shoes. However, I am not saying he is completely unable to relate. Still, I feel like if I had young children and they played with your kids, you would respect they are Jewish children. At @Nullo‘s house I am not sure. My MIL had a neighbor who used to try to suck in her grandaughter when she would come over to play with her daughter. Pissed my MIL off to no end. She even continued to do it after my MIL had said something. Then she spoke to the husband at one point and it stopped. My MIL is Catholic and so was her granddaughter.

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III I rethought my earlier response and decided that, for me personally, age had nothing to do with my child receiving printed material of any type. Just my personal feelings on it.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie You’re right. I would not try to influence you or your children. It is more important to be a good neighbor and consider your personal wishes. That’s a totally different situation than distributing literature to the public. Not sure @Nullo was speaking to that situation. Thinking we were still on the discussion about public distribution.

boxer3's avatar

I took a really great world religions course in highschool . I think if one relgion is introduced, introduce as many or as little as possible. Not neccessarily to encourage the child to be part of a group- ut to show them what different people from all over, believe and practice.

plethora's avatar

@boxer3 I think if one relgion is introduced

I did not start this thread, but will note that it has not been about introducing religion into schools. It has been about distributing religious (or non-religious) literature in public, or so I have believed.

boxer3's avatar

yeah, you’re right. I’m really, really tired. ha.

well. I dunno. seems to come down to seperation between church and state in that case.
Ignore my other comment. this is my contribution ><

boxer3's avatar

haaha. I just re read that first comment . note the sleepiness in my careful use of the word. ut…... yeah. sorry.

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora I think it is about religion in schools. It’s about both topics.

Maybe I was incorrect about @nullo. Hopefully he will comment.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie Ok….my comments have applied only to distribution of literature on public property. I am in agreement that distributions should not be made in schools.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@boxer3 You chose to take a religion class in High School. In High School you’re pretty close to being an adult. It’s not the same as imposing stuff on young, very impressionable elementary school children who aren’t yours.

@plethora So…let’s say your eight-year-old child is walking home from school, on “public” property, and some anti-abortion fanatic shoves a picture of an aborted, disfigured 3rd term fetus in their hands. Is that OK?

plethora's avatar

@Dutchess_III You are stretching the issue, at the very least, to its absolute limits, and certainly beyond the limits of this question, which deals with literature distribution. Start another thread if you want to broaden into other issues.

boxer3's avatar

@Dutchess_III , I know that , I revoked that answer anyhow.

Probably not at that age – but at some point I think it’s good for people to be educated on the different beliefs out there, not have it forced on them as far as to believe it themselves but to know whats out there in the world.

that being said. elementary school maybe not so much. ..5 years later after highschool Ive never taken another religion class, nor do I care to – I was just saying.

flo's avatar

Children should not be targeted, wherever it happens to be school or elsewhere.

Ron_C's avatar

@flo “Children should not be targeted, wherever it happens to be school or elsewhere” I totally agree with you. I once described mandatory religious lessons for children as a form of child abuse.
There are no Catholic children, Muslim children, or Protestant children, there are just children. The labels mean nothing and are harmful to a child’s intellectual growth.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

No school passes out religious material, but they also do not pass out condoms to any child either. Then most should be happy.

flo's avatar

Not everything is about sex, @Hypocrisy_Central . Note that we are talking about elementary school chidren.

plethora's avatar

@Ron_C I once described mandatory religious lessons for children as a form of child abuse….and are harmful to a child’s intellectual growth

This may be your opinion, Ron, but it is so blatantly atheistically biased that I can hardly let it pass without challenging it. You are welcome to your opinion, and I am not challenging your right to that opinion, but the truth is that a child, starting at the earliest ages, will gladly learn whatever is put in front of them, be it linguistic, or mathematical, or religious, or anything else and do it with pleasure.

Ron_C's avatar

@plethora you are exactly right, there was a quote somewhere that said something like, “give me the child and I’ll return you the man”. Children are intellectual sponges, that’s why teaching them languages at an early age is so easy. Why would you want to pollute their mind with beliefs that retard the process of learning? Give them facts, fun, language, and encouragement to think for themselves. If they adopt a religion in their later years, so be it. In the mean time, instill the love of learning and teach them to know rather than believe.

plethora's avatar

@Ron_C A perfect formula for training atheists. That IS the way it works. For better or for worse. Just sayin’

Ron_C's avatar

@plethora well my kids were raised that way and it hasn’t seemed to hurt them. One of my daughters allowed her son to go to vacation bible school, he had fun. We still have fond memories of that time because he brought home a drawing in which he wrote “PRAISE THE LORB”!

That has become a catch phrase in our family where a more explicit exclamation might have been used.

Nullo's avatar

Sorry for the long response time.

@Lightlyseared You hold too simplistic a view of the Bible.The Bible contains both the things that God tells people to do, and what people decide to do on their own, often for context or contrast. Your refs refer to the latter sort.

@Dutchess_III I would have a problem with atheistic literature. In this game, turnabout is not fair play. I suspect that the view from your angle is that religion is roughly equal to politics and economics, that there is no right one, just the one that appeals to you more, or is more appropriate to the situation. But this isn’t the case; faith is the one area of human activity that has eternal ramifications.

@flo In fact, this actually surpasses life-or-death in terms of importance. Core tenant of the faith, in fact. Kidnapping would, of course, not be the right thing to do.

@JLeslie The prospect of escalation is a bit unsettling, I’ll admit. But Christianity is built from the ground up for sharing. Keeping it to yourself simply is not an option.
In a bare comparison, I’d say that saving souls is more important than happy parents. When you flesh it out, though, the contrast isn’t so harsh. For instance, I have yet to deliver any sermons to the neighbor kids.

flo's avatar

@plethora thank good that you feel that way about the kidnapping. You agree with all the rest of the items in my posts then?

plethora's avatar

@flo Have no idea what you are talking about….sorry

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