Fifth graders have been receiving Gideon bibles at their school in Tennessee (story here). Handed out by their teacher, with the admonition that the kids weren’t required to take one. Yet being called up, in class assembled, row by row. Think there might be some peer pressure?
The ACLU, natch, has challenged this bible distribution as being unconstitutional. As a Baptist, my first reaction to this story was: what can possibly be wrong with handing out God’s Word? And to that hot, unpleasant place with the ACLU. On reflection, though, I have to agree with the ACLU on this one: religion must never be forced on anyone, least of all a child.
No, the children weren’t forced to take Bibles. Technically. Yet peer pressure is a powerful thing, and if all of your schoolmates take a bible, then you will too.
Again, as a Baptist, I stand for soul liberty. Likewise, as an American I stand for never, ever, having an agent of the state hand out a sectarian tract.
Even one I revere.