Laurel County School Board Gets Giddy for Gideons
Posted by Larry Wallberg on 08/18/2010
Good news for all 5th-graders contemplating suicide in Laurel County, Kentucky.
That’s right, boys and girls. The Laurel County School Board has decided to allow Gideons International to set up tables in public schools and distribute copies of the New Testament to any students who want them. Not the whole bible, mind you, but just the Jesus-y parts.
However, don’t worry, Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and all of you other cultists. Even you goddamned, confrontational, constantly rude heathens don’t need to get your dander up. The Crucifocracy will not be establishing religion; they will not foist their beliefs on children. As the Gideons’ lawyer, Terry Beckner, pointed out about the bibles: “These are not forced on anyone.” So your kids are free to say “no,” even in the face of official encouragement and peer pressure. Most youngsters are resistant to those kinds of things anyway, aren’t they? I’ve never heard of any 10- and 11-year-olds who succumbed to the wishes of their principals and the urgings of their friends. Have you?
One school board member wondered why all grades weren’t going to be in on the divine bonanza. Beckner explained: “We always have done 5th-graders.” (I assume he was quoting from a Roman Catholic priestly document.)
The school board’s attorney, Larry Bryson, said that there was another good reason to limit the freebies to 5th-graders: “That is the age of accountability.”
Really, that should have been obvious, right? Fifth-graders are famous for their accountability. That’s why so many of our elected officials strive to limit themselves to a 4th-grade mentality, so they don’t have to be accountable. Duh!
If you wish, you can read the full story, but I’d urge you not to do so right after you’ve eaten.
By the way, I do have a suggestion to the ACLU and all of those other misguided folks like me who believe in the Constitution: We should apply to the Laurel County School Board to pass out copies of David Adams Leeming’s The World of Myth, , which compares stories from many global mythologies (including the bible) in a number of categories. The excerpts are no more difficult for accountable kids to read than the Jacobean English of the gospels; in fact, the stories in Leeming’s anthology are much easier to understand.
And, obviously, we wouldn’t force any child to take that book. It’s not our fault if they tease one another for stubbornly refusing. Nor should we be blamed if they beat each other up for not believing in the universal Earth goddess. But I do think it’s fair for us to withhold lollipops and approval from any student who doesn’t accept our kind offer. After all, they can’t be accountable if they don’t have manners.