“Bring Your Bible To School Day”: Slippery Slope or Incline to Heaven?

Oct 10, 2019 by

“Bring Your Bible to School Day’ came and went around a week ago.

Who knew? 

I’d never heard of it before, but it has been a observed in many regions of the country even prior to the increasing misappropriation of religion to score political points.

What exactly does it mean?  Does it have an exact meaning at all or does it draw  its pertinence from the fantasy and needs of each individual? 

It’s meaning should be self-explanatory but it is perhaps too variable and adaptable.  It should prompt neither patronizing mockery nor self-righteous zealotry.

For a significant cross-section of American students, Take Your Bible to School Day is honored with purity of motive, despite one of its chief promoters being Focus and The Family, which is an organization with “baggage”, even if it’s small suitcase-sized.

The Bible, like the American flag, is an inspirational symbol. Despite their inherent virtues, both have been hijacked in some contexts and deployed as inflammatory triggers.  The fact that they lend themselves to exploitation by being objects of deliberate provocation does not detract from their moral authority.

There are camps who feel that any restrictions on spreading the Bible can only originate from satanists and others who view those who would limit the display of the flag must be traitors.

Generally they know better.  Both “opinions” are covers for demagoguery.

We can’t see into the hearts of those students and know what drives them.  Sometimes they may be proxies of their parents who have programmed and egged them on. It’s not uncommon for kids to be the voices of ventriloquist parents. That phenomenon is not limited to religion.

Most of the time, students are genuine in their spiritual ardor, practice their faith in every area of their lives, and seek to share with others the strength that they claim to derive from it.

They don’t mean to demean non-observers by waving Bibles in the faces of the unwilling.  And for the most part, those who do not participate in the Bring Your Bible to School Day event or actually scorn it, do not mean to incite conflict by flashing their own competitive fervor of atheism.

The lack of popularity ( which is not the same as unpopularity) of Bring Your Bible to School Day in New York City is not limited to public schools.  We are clearly not a notch in the “Bible belt.”

Is it implicit proselytizing to carry a Bible into a school building?  Is it essential that any student doing so announce or flaunt it?  What’s to stop a student from including a holy book as part of his personal effects on the sly every day?  And by the impetus of what perverse audacity?

“Bring Your Bible to School Day” is a quite innocent tradition that pre-dates the preoccupation harbored by  the overly literal “church and state” separatists. I

The controversy over it is needlessly emotionally charged.

Is anyone really afraid that a Bible’s presence in school will adversely affect the community or that anyone would feel threatened by it?

Of course some people will get hot and bothered for no other reason than they want to and a total embargo of  religion in public schools is an irresistible point of contention.

What if a kid brought a Bible for “show and tell”?

Certainly public schools should not allow religious groups to have space or meet during the official school day.  Religions should not implicitly rated or favored in curriculum, discussion or activities and no child should be made potentially uncomfortable by religious references.

But neither should Bibles be treated as contraband.

Suppose students attempt to smuggle their Bibles to school on that designated day. Will they scanned by x-rays and metal detectors?  Have no fear in New York City, where these machines are being phased out anyway for the wrong reasons.

If switchblades are not  seized as contraband , maybe there’s hope for Bibles?

Ron Isaac

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