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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 (291-300):
LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Pray tell how not alowing Gideons to pimp your faith to kids in public schools is in any way forcing a non belief in your religion on anyone?


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.

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LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM
The first thing I am going to do when I strike it rich is offer HUGE donations to any nonChristoan religion who will distribute pampets for their religious beliefs in these schools (only the ones demanding Bible distribution priveledges) just to prove to the starry eyed "gee but no school would EVER turn away OTHER religions" crowd how naive they are being.

Quoting LiliMama18:

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



 



 



 





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LiliMama18
by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM
I take it you've never read the satanists bible?
I'm not saying there's not crazy stories in the old testament - I'm saying to compare the way the ot and the satanists bible is written is apples and oranges. Most of the crazy stuff in the ot would go right over the kids head. The satanists bible is mostly written for shock value, and is therefore the content is presented much more straightforwardly.
And anyway, I think we shelter our kids too much or at least over think it- I loved the original fairy tales as a kid and those wre full of people getting their eyes plucked out by birds and people being tortured. It didn't screw me up reading it. Nowadays, they tone them down bc they're "top scary"


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

No, sweetie, it is not. The OT in particular is incredibly violent and full of people offering little girls up to be raped, bloodshed and incest.




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.








Quoting LiliMama18:

Well, in fairness, the satanic bible is a bit crude and probably wouldn't be appropriate for young children, but i personally wouldn't have a problem with it being read/available at the high school level.















Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I am aware of what it is, sweetie, and I am also aware most Christians are NOT and would not allow their children to have one.












Quoting LiliMama18:

Have you ever read the satanic bible? It has nothing to do with the Christian concept of Satan or the devil.














Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I did not say anything is scary about it, I just do not believe for a second that you would be okay with your schoollibrary even HAVING a copy, much less handing them out to kids.
















Quoting 12hellokitty:

What is so scary about the satanic bible?


















Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I agree she is lying her ass off saying she would be hunkey dorey with her kids' school distributing the Satanic Bible.




















Quoting Claire-Huxtable:

Why do you think she is a liar?   If you are comfortable with your faith, you have nothing to fear from your child reading about others.











Quoting mikiemom:

yea, right lol I call liar liar liar pants on fire on that one.











Quoting 12hellokitty:











Sure, why not?   











Quoting mikiemom:











Afraid - no innapropriate for school yes. If I want my child reading the bible, I will provide him with one. He is welcome to read the bible, the school is not welcome to push their agenda onto my child.











I find the utter lack of tolerance for other religions among american christians to be disgusting and apalling, would you be ok with your child being sent home with a quran, torra, satanic bible?











Quoting 12hellokitty:











Just curious but why are so many afraid of students being allowed to receive a free bible? 













































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ambermario4ever
by Bronze Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Quoting romalove:






Well when they gave out Bibles at my school they did not talk about they just gave them to us and said do what you want with them.

And my daughters school sends home ads for restrunats all the time becuase they help the school do sprite nights where they give some of thier profits for said night to the school.

toddler girl                         toddler boy

         Sarah                                           Luciano

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

ambermario4ever
by Bronze Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Quoting LoveMyBoyK:





The person I was responding to had said this.

I think if that happened at my school I would be making sure they came as a package with a whole lot of other religious texts and books deriding God and religion as fake.

So that is why I said what I did.

toddler girl                         toddler boy

         Sarah                                           Luciano

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

LiliMama18
by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Look, I'm not an idiot, I've said several times in this post that I'm not naive enough to think that some right wingers would pitch a fit if people were handing out korans or the Talmud or anything for that matter. Hell, I remember about 10 years ago there was a school district that had the kids go outside and do some sort of activity that had to do with native Americans and some people pitched a fit bc they were forcing the kids to "do a pagan ritual"". Hell, my half sisters crazy mother pulled them out of karate bc they were "worshipping Buddha" in class. It's stupid- I think it's utterly ridiculous.
But- I also think its just as ridiculous to be up in arms over bibles being passed out.
Also as far as teaching all other religious texts and not having the time or resources to cover it all- certain religious texts will be relevant to academics and others won't. The bible is going to be relevant to American literature. The Koran is going to be relevant to studying middle eastern politics. The teachings of confucius are going to be relevant in studying the Chinese dynasty and social structure.
Them there are going to be religious texts that really don't have anything to do with anything taught in school. There's also going to be religions that have no text, and are oral only. It's a matter of what's relevant to whatever course of study.
And as far as the Gideon's, I remember they passed out bibles at my college- they don't give the "Jesus saves" speech, they literally stand in the common area and say "would you like one?" and hand out a bible. Interested kids will read it, non interested kids will throw it in their room somewhere and never look at it again.


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

The first thing I am going to do when I strike it rich is offer HUGE donations to any nonChristoan religion who will distribute pampets for their religious beliefs in these schools (only the ones demanding Bible distribution priveledges) just to prove to the starry eyed "gee but no school would EVER turn away OTHER religions" crowd how naive they are being.


Quoting LiliMama18:

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



 



 



 








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12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

 

How is the school advocating for any religion by allowing an organization who is requesting to distribute bibles paid for by the organization?  If other organizations what their religious text made available then it's up to them to do the work at making that happen.  The Gideons have gone trough the legal system in order to secure their rights in making bibles available for the last 100 years.  People need to quit being lazy and whining about things not being fair.  If you want religious, or ant-religious materials made available then I suggest you do the same hard work as has been done by the Gideons.... 

Quoting romalove:

 

Quoting ambermario4ever:

Quoting romalove:





They taught us about the constitution. But I find nothing wrong with handing out Bibles in a school.

 I think if they are handed out in a mythology class it's fine.  I think if they are handed out as a religious text they do not belong there.  I think if that happened at my school I would be making sure they came as a package with a whole lot of other religious texts and books deriding God and religion as fake. 

There is NO REASON on the planet for public schools to be advocating religion of any kind.


12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 1:42 PM


Quoting romalove:

 

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?

 

It gets sent home in kids folder ALL the time....

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 1:45 PM


Quoting romalove:

 

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?


Planned Parenthood is given access to schools.

romalove
by Roma on Oct. 13, 2012 at 1:54 PM

 

Quoting 12hellokitty:

 

Quoting romalove:

 

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?


Planned Parenthood is given access to schools.

 I'll address a bunch of things here.

First, at my daughter's school, there isn't advertisements sent home.  I thought your kids went to a private school???

Second, Planned Parenthood isn't in schools handing out literature in the lobby, at least not here.  If that was happening in my school, I would have something to say.

Same thing for merchants.  And for Gideons.

I have NO DESIRE to see anti-religious materials given to kids as counterbalance to religious materials.  I want to see schools devoted to teaching students, and not using the captive audience of children they hold used as pawns or being proselytized to or advertised to in any overt way (I say that because obviously if they buy from a Snapple machine that's a form of advertisement but not the same as reps from the company handing out coupons in the halls).

The Gideons "hard work" of proselytizing by handing out Bibles is not objectionable in hotel rooms.

It is, very much so, in my kid's public school classroom.

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