An Ontario school board recently voted in favour of handing out Bibles to grade five students. The free Bibles, provided by The Gideons of Canada to the Waterloo Region District School Board, were only given out to those students whose parents had given their permission and, according to an article in the National Post, “…a guarantee that the Bibles were not intended for in-school use.”
However, according to the article in the Post, the board’s decision to get involved with handing out Bibles has the community “divided.”
“The distribution of these Bibles is causing division in our community and making many of our teachers uncomfortable,” said Rick Pryce, a local Lutheran minister. “This is an issue of justice and it is wrong to divide people along religious lines.”
A trustee with the board defended the board’s decision, arguing that the school even has an obligation to offer religious instruction in the classrooms.
“A public school needs to educate the whole child … It seems to me if we want to see students survive in life and make the correct decisions they have to have some knowledge of religious feeling,” said Colin Harrington. “The important message religion has to tell you is about compassion and love and caring for your neighbour and not being simply selfish to one’s desires. The programs in the schools are not cutting it. If you deny the religious experience in your education system you open the door to the demonic experience.”
-Photo courtesy of Andres Rueda