I don’t recall the exact moment when I realized I disagreed with the mission of the Gideons. I do remember wondering what that realization made me. A dick? A “religious person”? That was a worrying thought, mostly because I wasn’t sure why I didn’t approve of them. Something just didn’t sit right about the whole approach: give people a Bible in order to “save” them and ultimately turn them into little evangelists who then give other people Bibles and create other little evangelists. The whole operation looks and sounds remarkably (and uncomfortably) similar to some sort of grand spiritual pyramid scheme.
My experience with the Gideons is limited: a New Testament at the end of baccalaureate when I graduated from public high school or a leather-bound copy in a hotel’s bedside table drawer once in a while. My reaction in those situations was never, “Oh, how nice and thoughtful;” it was more along the lines of, “Why?” As I’ve thought about it more, it seems that the problem with the whole enterprise is a misunderstanding of the Bible itself and how it should be used. Yes, there is a right way to do it. Continue reading
"The Creation of Adam" -- Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel (Photo: public domain)
Note: Text in brackets, “[ ],” was added after the original version was published to further clarify my thoughts.
I assumed in my last post that more people would understand what I meant when I said that Bible classes and Creationism do not belong in public schools. But, as the comments I’ve received on that post are demonstrating, people seem to misunderstanding what I meant. So, the purpose of this post is to provide some clarification and more clearly define some essential terminology.
To refresh your memory, my last post, “Bible Classes, Creationism Do Not Belong in Public Schools. Period.” concerned my belief that 1) the Bible should not be taught in public schools and 2) discussions about intelligent design/Creationism do not belong in the public school science classroom. It should be pointed out that the American judicial system has for the past several decades also held these positions to be true, most recently in the ruling for Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. Incidentally, the presiding judge in that case was appointed to the federal court circuit by former President George W. Bush, one of the darlings of the social conservative movement. Continue reading
In an effort to provide greater clarification to my intended meaning in this post, I’ve penned another titled, “Providing Some Clarification: Intelligent Design and Freedom of Religion.” I suggest you read it too.
For reasons that are perpetually beyond my capability to fully discern or grasp, this is a hard pill for conservative Evangelicals and, in a lot of cases, Christians in general to swallow. I don’t want to presume to understand their intentions or even assume that they are universally the same, but it seems to me that the people who support advancing creationism and teaching the Bible in public schools do so because they feel they’re somehow protecting America’s “Christian heritage.” If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know how I feel about that: it’s completely ridiculous.
On Thursday, April 12, 2012, the Arizona state legislature passed and submitted for gubernatorial approval House Bill 2563, which charged the Arizona State Board of Education to “design a high school elective course titled ‘The Bible and its influence on Western Culture,’ which would include lessons on the history, literature and influence of the Old and New testaments on laws, government and culture, among other aspects of society,” according to the Huffington Post. Continue reading