Secular parent wins battle against Gideon Bibles in schools

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Students in Niagara Region won’t be getting those Gideon Bibles so many Canadians remember receiving in class unless their local school board agrees to let atheists distribute their own materials.


That’s the word from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which ruled on an atheist father’s challenge to the long-standing practice of distributing Gideon Bibles in schools last week in R.C. v. District School Board of Niagara

“Allowing only the Gideons, a Christian group, to distribute religious literature in the board’s schools under the version of the policy in place when S.C. was in Grade 5 discriminated against the applicants,” wrote HRTO associate chairman David Wright in his Aug. 13 decision.

“S.C. was a student and R.C. was a parent in a school board where, pursuant to policy, representatives of one creed and no others, including atheists, were permitted to distribute religious texts to students in the schools. They were asked to consent to S.C. receiving the text of one creed with which she did not identify and there was no opportunity for her to receive literature from any other creed that wished to provide it.”

Written By: Glenn Kauth
continue to source article at canadianlawyermag.com

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  1. Slightly OT …

    I stayed in a hotel recently, where the Gideon Bible was prominently displayed. I had a look inside and some enterprising person had written on the inside front cover …

    WARNING!

    This work of fiction contains violence, genocide, murder and lies.

    Not suitable for children!

    … saved me the bother!

  2. Bravo Human Rights Tribunal. It does sound like the school board just need a lesson on the meaning of secularism since they accepted the ruling. If this happened in most states in the US, they’d be on television the same day banging on about the War on Christians.

    As for the Gideon Bible, yeah, I deface them whenever I get a chance. Though the hotels I’ve been staying in these last few years (always in connection with gay and lesbian events) don’t have them. Interesting, n’est pas?

  3. I note they distribute only the new testement here. Perhaps we should be fighting for the right to distribute abriged versions of the God Delusion, Letter to a Christain Nation or God is not Great?

  4. The same thing happened at my son’s school in Somerset County, MD. I applauded the woman who brought the issue to the school board. Of course many people complained that “none of the children were forced to take one so I don’t see what the problem is”. They stopped the practice rather than face a lawsuit. That courageous woman has since moved (as have we), so I’d be curious to see if they tried to re-institute the free-bible giveaway.

  5. I didn’t know they still did that, I think they gave it up in BC. I got a bible in grade 5 (reading it cemented my view of Christianity as contradictory and down right evil here and there), but none of my kids got one.

  6. I have a problem with defacing or stealing any book–that’s just me. What I do is similar to whoever put the note in the Gideon bible in comment 3. I tape a note on the outside front cover: Many millions of people lead a moral, loving, generous life with no religion at all.

    • In reply to #10 by 78rpm:

      I have a problem with defacing or stealing any book–that’s just me.

      I would not see the writing of a foreword by an informed reviewer as defacing a book!

      What I do is similar to whoever put the note in the Gideon bible in comment 3. I tape a note on the outside front cover: Many millions of people lead a moral, loving, generous life with no religion at all.

      Someone will probably tear that off, wasting your effort.

  7. In reply to #13 by Smill:

    In reply to Alan4D, post 12. If someone wants to draw or write all over their Gideon, it could be argued it’s following in the tradition of early religious manuscripts that were highly decorated, with pattern and illustration in gold and silver leaf, and quite beautiful. I suppose pen and ink would suffice.

    I suppose we could combine these approaches by printing “historic looking” stick in labels to put iside the cover – if anyone was regularly encountering such Gideon publications.

    78rpm @10 I tape a note on the outside front cover:

    I used to use a computer art program and a “Gothic” font to make artistic notices – with decorated capitals – after the syle of ancient manuscripts.

    A talent for caligraphy works too!

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