Apparently the controversy over Gideon Bible’s being given out in Waterloo public school grade 5 classes is driving up demand faster than a Christian boycott of an R-rated movie.
The more controversy there is over whether Waterloo Region public schools should be giving out Gideon Bibles, the more requests there are for the free copies, officials say.
Officials at Gideons International in Canada, an evangelical Christian group that has given away millions of Bibles worldwide, say that there has been a “considerable” upswing of requests this year and last, when the controversy was high and attracted media attention.
An estimated 800 to 1,000 copies a year are now being given away to Grade 5 students in Waterloo Region, said Gordon Balfour, chief business officer of the Guelph-based Gideons organization.
That’s about one student out of four that requests the free copy of Gideons’ Little Red Answer Book, which includes the New Testament, plus the Hebrew Bible books of Proverbs and Psalms.
Of course, I’m not sure why we should take the Gideon’s word on how popular they are, that sounds like asking Pepsi whether people prefer it to Coke. But if it is true it leaves secularists with a potential predicament.
Obviously, the correct action (from a secularists perspective) is to not allow religious propaganda to be handed out in public school, but the article does pose an alternative strategy that, to my knowledge, has yet to be employed:
The public board allows any religious group to send religious material to consenting households in this way, although the material must be reviewed by school board officials first to ensure it doesn’t proselytize and doesn’t denigrate groups protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
However, only Gideons uses this opportunity. And school trustees are under increasing pressure from various community and faith groups, including some Christian groups, to stop the 64-year-old practice.
So a neat activity for any atheists with a spare printing budget in the Waterloo area may be to print off a bunch of fliers or handouts, or even try to get a number of copies of The Origin of Species (or even Daniel Loxton’s new evolution book for kids) into the hands of willing children.
The religious wingnuts would have a field day crying persecution (since anything that mentions that we exist is an affront to their theology) which would only further expose the hypocrisy of their position.
And if you do go ahead with this, email me the details and I’ll be sure to post them online.