Beef with Bibles

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September 6, 2012


What's the Beef with Bibles? 

Want a quick way to irritate the general public? Give children a free Bible.   

This blog is to answer questions coming in on twitter from atheists who object to my opinions on why Canadians are free to hand out Bibles in public schools.  The issue was raised again for back to school season in a Grimsby, Ontario school. It’s a school where one parent will argue his secular views are violated by the Bible distribution.   

Why Bibles to kids? 

  1. Canada has a Constitution which includes a thirty year old Charter of Rights and Freedoms that allows freedom of religion in any institution that is an expression of local, provincial or federal government.  Schools fall into that, and local school boards choose the appropriateness of religious expression. 
     
  2. Bible distribution and receipt of a Bible is voluntary. The Gideons, a 75 year old service club in Canada, has Bible distribution as it’s mission. You will find Gideons has placed Bibles in most North American hotel rooms, usually in a bedside drawer. The Gideons also practice giving parents the option to allow their grade five child to receive a free New Testament and Psalms, a smaller version of the Bible.  
     
  3. Schools hand out many take home papers and extra curricular activity options to parents. One of those options for students in grade five is the parental permission form for a Gideons Bible. No public school fees are spent on the Bible, and Gideons handles the distribution.
     
  4. This freedom to explore religious material is good for education. In a pluralistic society, all religions have this opportunity to have their teachings distributed and studied, but it does require volunteerism to exercise it.
     
  5. It is only in the transparency of religion that you can examine its validity, contribution and value.   This is how we grow our understanding of each other. 
     
  6. One belief system versus another should not be overruling the option to have religious material in school. If someone who thinks all religion should be taken out of public spaces dictates the debate,  why is that belief of "secularism" superior to a religious belief?The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2002 that "nothing in the Charter, political or democratic theory, or a proper understanding of pluralism demands that atheistically-based moral positions trum religiously-based moral positions on matters of public policy", concluding our education system has to accommodate the religiously-informed conscience. (Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36 at p 3 & 137).

Bottom line: this is a great democracy that allows us to share a Bible, to share our belief - or lack of belief - in God. Let’s carry on.  

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

I like these thoughts also thanks
September 23, 2012 | Bernice Needham

Thanks, Lorna. A free society where people can share ideas and beliefs is the best kind of society. When censureship rules, societal well-being goes downhill quickly. This is the lesson of history from the Roman empire to today.
September 7, 2012 | Dave Johnson

You might be right that "no public school fees are spent on the Bible", but then neither do churchs pay taxes.
September 7, 2012 | TED ALDEN DRIEDIGER

Lorna I like your piece on this issue. Thanks
September 6, 2012 | Alice Cover

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