Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bibles at school: Is it the apocalypse?

My sister runs the library at a small elementary school in a Bush-voting outer suburb. A man in town, with the support of a school board member, has approached the school about his interest in donating some bibles to the library. Because the school library has no bibles! (The horror!) The library also has no other religious books (no Talmud, Koran, etc.), but this fellow has no interest in donating anything but the bible. Fortunately, the superintendent agrees with my sister that the school library should steer clear of adding any such books to the collection, lest every other religious group insist on adding their books, too. (The bigger threat is, Invite the bible into the library, and then wait for this guy to ask about removing all references to evolution from the library collection. 'Cause you know that's the illogical next step.)

And the board member who is in cahoots with the wannabe bible donor? She's active in her church, and in past years, has had the teachers distribute flyers to all the students, inviting them to learn about the "real" meaning of Easter by coming to a session held IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING before school starts. Flyers sent home in every kid's backpack like any other school bulletin. Can you imagine being a Jewish kid, or a Muslim, or an atheist, or a [fill in the blank] and getting this flyer at your school? Until my sister and our cousin (who also lives in the town) mentioned it last year, it hadn't really occurred to anyone in charge that inviting every public-school kid to a church event on public-school premises might be, um, a tad inappropriate.

The upside here is that the school board election is next week, and my cousin's husband is running—as one of three candidates for four slots. He's a shoo-in, so I won't ask for your prayers that god usher him to an electoral victory.


Psycho Kitty said...

Unless the school wanted to have a collection of ALL religious texts, for study purposes--and come on, what elementary school is going to do that?--I don't see that as appropriate. I mean--it's a book, it's a library, but what I have a problem with is the donator's implied *intent*. And the flyer? Yikes. I *celebrate* Easter and I'm offended.
This reminds me of the whole Halloween broohaha, in which you can't have "Halloween parties" anymore, you have to have "Fall Festivals". Because people complained about celebrating an Evil Pagan Holiday. Agh.

Psycho Kitty said...

And I can't believe I said "donator". Sheesh.

Orange said...

And it's not just any elementary school—it's one that only goes up to third grade.

Full disclosure: You should know that I typed "donator" when I was drafting the post. What is the world coming to? Are we not educated people here?