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In Oklahoma, a School District Is Debating Bible Distribution to Children

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In Oklahoma, a School District Is Debating Bible Distribution to Children

October 12, 2012 By
 
When it comes to the distribution of religious books in public schools, the laws are very simple: If you allow the holy books of one faith to be handed out in school, you must allow the holy books of all faiths. You're better off, though, not handing out anything like that at all.

 

Gideons International - the group best known for their hotel room Bibles - has a long history of handing out Bibles to children in elementary school and they recently tried to get their books into the Grove Public Schools in northeastern Oklahoma. (Because I guess there are no churches in the state...?)

 

 

The school board, knowing a lawsuit would come their way if they allowed it, said no.

 

Earlier this week, though, more than 100 residents spoke out at a school board meeting urging the officials to reconsider their decision:

 

The Rev. Tony Wisdom and lawyer Robert Plunk urged the five-member school board to rethink the ban, which was approved this year after complaints and threats of a lawsuit from parents.

 

...

 

Plunk told the board that the Rotary Club gives dictionaries to third-graders and that Bibles can be offered as long as it is done in the same manner.

 

The board did not address the policy during the meeting and took no action.

 

...

 

Wisdom, who spoke to thunderous applause, said students should be given access to the greatest book ever written.

 

The minority should not override the majority, he said, adding that other religions also should have the right to give out materials.

 

Did they seriously just compare the Bible to a dictionary? That's crazy talk. One's full of wisdom and is an essential component of a good education... and the other's the Bible.

 

And what's with this minority/majority argument? The majority doesn't get to overturn the constitution on a whim.

 

At least the school leadership is opposed to bringing divisive religion into the district, right?

 

Of course not:

 

"There were people that wanted us to lose our jobs for allowing the Gideons to pass out Bibles last year," Superintendent Sandy Coaly said Wednesday.

 

"We were told if we allowed them to be passed out the school would be sued," Coaly said. "If it was me personally, we would have them (Bibles) in our backpack and read them 30 minutes a day."

 

30 minutes a day?! I guess if you cut out science class, you could always throw in Bible-readin'-time...

 

But here's what we'll do. If the school district allows these Bibles to be distributed in the schools, I vow to raise money on this site to purchase books about atheism and have them sent to every school in the district. I'll throw in some Korans while I'm at it.

 

Rev. Wisdom even said "other religions... should have the right to give out materials" so let's call his bluff.

 

Or we can just let the Freedom From Religion Foundation know. The fear of the impending lawsuit will scare the district back into submission.

 

(Thanks to Beau for the link)

 

by on Oct. 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Replies (271-280):
LiliMama18
by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Right, but in this instance, the school itself wouldn't be passing out the bibles, the Gideon's would, so the authority point is moot.

I Really truly would not have an issue of any religious book (book, not tract) being passed around- I just think Christians are the only local religion that would be inclined to pass out their book.


Quoting romalove:

 


Quoting LiliMama18:

Uh huh, and the bible is also more subtle about it than the satanists bible.




Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

The Bible is also crude, sweetie, and is full of murder, violence, incest and a whole slew of other things that are inappropriate for young eyes.






 I just wanted to jump in here and say that just because you think the Bible is "more subtle" about murder, violence and incest than the Satanist Bible, that doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't have a different judgment about that.  We are now no longer talking about the Constitutionality of handing out religious paraphernalia in a public school, but which kinds are OK for little eyes and when they might be able to handle the material.  For me, the answer is it shouldn't be there at all, that schools have authority roles in children's lives and they are not able to differentiate between a school giving them a free Bible as a little present, do with it what you will, and a school handing them a Bible and believing that it's a truthful document. 


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
romalove
by Roma on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:06 AM

 

Quoting LiliMama18:

Right, but in this instance, the school itself wouldn't be passing out the bibles, the Gideon's would, so the authority point is moot.

I Really truly would not have an issue of any religious book (book, not tract) being passed around- I just think Christians are the only local religion that would be inclined to pass out their book.


Quoting romalove:

 


Quoting LiliMama18:

Uh huh, and the bible is also more subtle about it than the satanists bible.




Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

The Bible is also crude, sweetie, and is full of murder, violence, incest and a whole slew of other things that are inappropriate for young eyes.






 I just wanted to jump in here and say that just because you think the Bible is "more subtle" about murder, violence and incest than the Satanist Bible, that doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't have a different judgment about that.  We are now no longer talking about the Constitutionality of handing out religious paraphernalia in a public school, but which kinds are OK for little eyes and when they might be able to handle the material.  For me, the answer is it shouldn't be there at all, that schools have authority roles in children's lives and they are not able to differentiate between a school giving them a free Bible as a little present, do with it what you will, and a school handing them a Bible and believing that it's a truthful document. 


 Would you have a problem with local businesses standing in the lobby of your kid's school handing out advertising information to them?

 

romalove
by Roma on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:07 AM

 

Quoting LiliMama18:

Right, but in this instance, the school itself wouldn't be passing out the bibles, the Gideon's would, so the authority point is moot.

I Really truly would not have an issue of any religious book (book, not tract) being passed around- I just think Christians are the only local religion that would be inclined to pass out their book.


Quoting romalove:

 


Quoting LiliMama18:

Uh huh, and the bible is also more subtle about it than the satanists bible.




Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

The Bible is also crude, sweetie, and is full of murder, violence, incest and a whole slew of other things that are inappropriate for young eyes.






 I just wanted to jump in here and say that just because you think the Bible is "more subtle" about murder, violence and incest than the Satanist Bible, that doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't have a different judgment about that.  We are now no longer talking about the Constitutionality of handing out religious paraphernalia in a public school, but which kinds are OK for little eyes and when they might be able to handle the material.  For me, the answer is it shouldn't be there at all, that schools have authority roles in children's lives and they are not able to differentiate between a school giving them a free Bible as a little present, do with it what you will, and a school handing them a Bible and believing that it's a truthful document. 


 I also disagree that the kids will discern the difference between strangers standing in their school handing them a Bible as "not" authoritative as opposed to a school employee doing so.  They are still getting it at school.

ambermario4ever
by Bronze Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:32 AM
Quoting LoveMyBoyK:





No it doesn't unless the refuse to. They gave put the Bibles because they where given out by a group for free. They never refused to hand out other reliougs books but none where ever offered to the school.

toddler girl                         toddler boy

         Sarah                                           Luciano

      (10-16-06)                                  (11-27-08)

romalove
by Roma on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:35 AM

 

Quoting ambermario4ever:

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:





No it doesn't unless the refuse to. They gave put the Bibles because they where given out by a group for free. They never refused to hand out other reliougs books but none where ever offered to the school.

 I have two questions for you.

How would you feel about your kids at a public school being given religious materials that were not in line with your beliefs?

How would you feel about local merchants coming to school and distributing advertising in the lobby?  How about Planned Parenthood?

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

 

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

So screw the faiths of kids who practice non Abrahic religions? Not a chance in your hell is my childs school going to teach his class about Islam, and Judaism, Christianity as if they are only "legitimate" religions. I would raise my own bit of hell over that slap in the face to all religions outside the mainstream.


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 


Quoting Friday:




Quoting yourspecialkid:


 


Quoting morrigan914:

Would you he equally okay with me donating 'Practical Satanism' to your childrens school for the teachers to hand out?
Quoting yourspecialkid:


 I don't have a problem with it.  The school is not giving them out...no public dollars have been spent on them....and here's the kicker....handing out a Bible does not establish a CHURCH..which is what the first amendment is ACTUALLY about.



 


Is it going to cause the school to establish a church the kids are required to go to?  If not...the answer is send away...your first amendment rights are just as valid as mine.


I believe we should be teaching a religion class in at least the high school level...kids need to have a basic knowledge and a basic respect for the legitimate faiths in the world. 


I'm in Liberal Cali and my son learned about a wide variety of religions in Social Studies when he was in middle school.


Who decides what faiths are legit?


 No one decides what is legit...numbers do.  You obviously can't cover every faith so you focus on the primary ones.  Statistically the top 3 by overwhelming numbers are Christianity, Islam and Hinduism....I would probably add the next 4 or 5....I would then ask my students for short reports on at least 1 other religion...reports to be shared with the class.  You could easily add more by teaching them along with something else they go with...as an example...Tribal religions could go with history.  If there are families of the small statistical religions..bring someone in to share with the kids.


I think it is great your son learned about a variety of religions.  Religions can have similarities and it is these similarities that can give us the start of tolerance of faith different than our own.


 

I didn't realize Hinduism was an Abrahamic religion....  Beyond that, maybe you should google some statistics on the religions of the world.  My suggestion covered many that are not Abrahamic.  I even suggested how even more could be covered...a school could have just 1 family of a faith not in the curriculum and still bring it in..just by having someone share.  Depending on how it is done 20 or more could be covered......................so either you can't read or you are in such a fizz over my use of the word legitimate to describe statistical numbers that you didn't even read/comprehend what I have been saying.

One such list I suggested....

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

  1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
  2. Islam: 1.5 billion
  3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
  4. Hinduism: 900 million
  5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
  6. Buddhism: 376 million
  7. primal-indigenous: 300 million
  8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
  9. Sikhism: 23 million
  10. Juche: 19 million
  11. Spiritism: 15 million
  12. Judaism: 14 million
  13. Baha'i: 7 million
  14. Jainism: 4.2 million
  15. Shinto: 4 million
  16. Cao Dai: 4 million
  17. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
  18. Tenrikyo: 2 million
  19. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
  20. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
  21. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
  22. Scientology: 500 thousand


 

 

 

ambermario4ever
by Bronze Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM
Quoting romalove:





You obviously don't have faith or believe in God . Which is your choice to do so. But it is wrong for your to try to force that belief on everyone just as well. As long as the don't refuse to hand out other religious books if offered to them then there is nothing wrong with this.

toddler girl                         toddler boy

         Sarah                                           Luciano

      (10-16-06)                                  (11-27-08)

LiliMama18
by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:38 AM
I wish there were more Rastas in the world :/


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

So screw the faiths of kids who practice non Abrahic religions? Not a chance in your hell is my childs school going to teach his class about Islam, and Judaism, Christianity as if they are only "legitimate" religions. I would raise my own bit of hell over that slap in the face to all religions outside the mainstream.



Quoting yourspecialkid:


 



Quoting Friday:






Quoting yourspecialkid:



 



Quoting morrigan914:

Would you he equally okay with me donating 'Practical Satanism' to your childrens school for the teachers to hand out?

Quoting yourspecialkid:



 I don't have a problem with it.  The school is not giving them out...no public dollars have been spent on them....and here's the kicker....handing out a Bible does not establish a CHURCH..which is what the first amendment is ACTUALLY about.




 



Is it going to cause the school to establish a church the kids are required to go to?  If not...the answer is send away...your first amendment rights are just as valid as mine.



I believe we should be teaching a religion class in at least the high school level...kids need to have a basic knowledge and a basic respect for the legitimate faiths in the world. 



I'm in Liberal Cali and my son learned about a wide variety of religions in Social Studies when he was in middle school.



Who decides what faiths are legit?



 No one decides what is legit...numbers do.  You obviously can't cover every faith so you focus on the primary ones.  Statistically the top 3 by overwhelming numbers are Christianity, Islam and Hinduism....I would probably add the next 4 or 5....I would then ask my students for short reports on at least 1 other religion...reports to be shared with the class.  You could easily add more by teaching them along with something else they go with...as an example...Tribal religions could go with history.  If there are families of the small statistical religions..bring someone in to share with the kids.



I think it is great your son learned about a variety of religions.  Religions can have similarities and it is these similarities that can give us the start of tolerance of faith different than our own.



 


I didn't realize Hinduism was an Abrahamic religion....  Beyond that, maybe you should google some statistics on the religions of the world.  My suggestion covered many that are not Abrahamic.  I even suggested how even more could be covered...a school could have just 1 family of a faith not in the curriculum and still bring it in..just by having someone share.  Depending on how it is done 20 or more could be covered......................so either you can't read or you are in such a fizz over my use of the word legitimate to describe statistical numbers that you didn't even read/comprehend what I have been saying.


One such list I suggested....


http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html




  1. Christianity: 2.1 billion

  2. Islam: 1.5 billion

  3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion

  4. Hinduism: 900 million

  5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million

  6. Buddhism: 376 million

  7. primal-indigenous: 300 million

  8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million

  9. Sikhism: 23 million

  10. Juche: 19 million

  11. Spiritism: 15 million

  12. Judaism: 14 million

  13. Baha'i: 7 million

  14. Jainism: 4.2 million

  15. Shinto: 4 million

  16. Cao Dai: 4 million

  17. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million

  18. Tenrikyo: 2 million

  19. Neo-Paganism: 1 million

  20. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand

  21. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand

  22. Scientology: 500 thousand


 


 


 


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
romalove
by Roma on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM

 

Quoting ambermario4ever:

Quoting romalove:





You obviously don't have faith or believe in God . Which is your choice to do so. But it is wrong for your to try to force that belief on everyone just as well. As long as the don't refuse to hand out other religious books if offered to them then there is nothing wrong with this.

 You are missing the point if you think it's about my lack of belief in God.

It's about what is right and wrong per the Constitution.

I asked you two questions and you answered neither of them.

Do you think it's OK for local merchants or Planned Parenthood to come to school and distribute advertising materials to kids in the lobby?

Would you be happy to have religious materials that are not lining up with your own religion, Pagan or Islamic or Satanic or Jewish or Buddhist or Scientology books, would you be OK with your kids being given them in school?

PurdueMom
by Sherri on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:41 AM
1 mom liked this

The motivation and purpose of the Gideons' handing out free Bibles is to proselytize and convert.  At www.gideons.org, their mission statement states:

"[...] Our members are dedicated to saving the lost through personal witnessing and the distribution of God's Word. . ."

Doing this in a public school is unConstitutional.  There is no way around it.

Sherri

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