My Old Kentucky Homesite

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.


19 Responses to “Laurel County School Board Gets Giddy for Gideons”

  1. Jesus Christ, they never give up!

  2. Philly:
    That was my initial reaction, too. They’re like cockroaches; you can’t get rid of them. My first reaction to stories like this is to make the face from “The Scream.”

    Yeah, we’ll probably win this one if and when it gets to court. It’s a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause. But the lawless Christians just keep quoting this.

  3. Spanish Inquisitor said

    You can’t help them for trying to emulate their zombie leader. They actually remind me of the creatures in “I Am Legend”.

  4. the chaplain said

    I thought 7 was the age of accountability. Who raised it to 10 and when did that happen?

    I remember Gideons handing out little green new testaments at my school. As I recall, refusal didn’t seem to be an option, as they pretty much shoved the damn things right into our midriffs.

  5. Ralph said

    My mother made me attend church services until I told her no more. My father never would attend any religious service. I asked him why. He told me the following story. When he was 16-17 years old he had two friends(brothers) who always carried bibles and were always preaching about the word of god and their personal savior; jesus. They found both boys hanging in a barn. They left a note saying “We want to go to a better place and be with jesus”.

    My father believed in a god, but he warned me of the dangers religion. My father has been dead for fifteen years. If he were here today he would tell the singing lady where to shove her song.

    Dad’s story is one of many messages I would send from Calloway Co. to Laurel Co.

  6. See, the Gideons know a good battle strategy – target youth. This just illustrates my comments on your previous post that non-believers should be targeting youth instead of trying to change old people who are already firmly ensconced in their beliefs. The Nazis and communists have used that strategy throughout history with some success, unfortunately.

    The courts will rule against this school board, but there is always another school district and a never-ending supply of impressionable youth. The Gideons and their kind WILL be back.

  7. Most “how I was saved” stories are ridiculously mundane: “Ah yewsta look at durty pichers, then the Lawd amatty come and showd me the airs uh mah ways.” The notable exceptions are usually like that described by the singing kook above. In the depths of misery, etc., “Jayzus come and pulled me back from the brink.” First, they usually sound like bullshit. Second, what does it say about your belief system when the only person who benefits from it is an individual in the midst of a psychotic episode, a life-threatening addiction, suicidal depression, or a similar self-destructive condition? In a sense, one is trading one set of self-destructive behaviors for a set of mind-numbing behaviors that are relatively much less harmful.

  8. Kind of off topic, but… some of the best geo structures that I have ever seen were a few km west of London along 25E… found my first Lepidodendron, there.

    On topic: As a student in the heart of Fuckedupistan back in the 80s, I have an intimate knowledge of its judicial and police system. Back then, a couple, or three drinks, got one a night in the “tank”. Once there, the Gideons provided a valuable resource to some of the “other drunks”… rolling papers.

  9. uzza said

    “We always have done 5th-graders.”

    Classic quote there.

  10. the chaplain said

    I don’t want to think too much about what they’ve been doing to 5th graders. They’ve been fucking the poor little tykes one way or another.

  11. BrentH said

    “Age of accountability”?

    I realize that legislating an age for certain activities (sexual consent, marriage, driving, drinking, voting, joining the military, etc.) is the only way to practically protect society from youthful stupidity/ignorance or adults taking advantage of youthful stupidity/ignorance. But should we extend this type of thinking to abstract qualities such as accountability? I know some people (even accountants – e.g. Enron)over 40 and they still don’t live like they are accountable to anyone.

    I don’t think there will be any choice whether a 5th grader will recieve one of these Bibles.
    The table will certainly not be in the far corner of the gymnasium or parking lot. The table is just where the Gideons will conveniently store the boxes. Then they will stand in the middle of the hallway and hand them out as the students file past them. Just go to the exhibit area of any state fair and you can see this distribution method in action. Students will actively have to refuse to take one and that will bring the open ridicule of peers and silent (possibly verbal) judgement of teachers.

  12. As long as the book is presented as a collection of fairy tales and accompanied by the works of Hans Christian Anderson, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, Aesop, the Mayan Popol Vuh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and the Baghavad Gita, I have no problem with it.

  13. Aunt Bea said

    Love your great sense of snide. Yah them Gideons get ’em while they’re young.

  14. edwqrds said

    They should have to pass out free copies of “The God Delusion”, too.

    Get on their a– , FFRF.ORG.

  15. Aunt Bea said

    Wow, Edwqrds, ask and ye shall receive:

  16. edwords said

    So who are you, Aunt Bea?

    Bonnie G., or perhaps Annie Laurie?

    ‘Fess up!

  17. JohnEvo said

    Damn. It’s been a year….

  18. Spanish Inquisitor said

    I was thinking the same thing.

  19. Spanish Inquisitor said

    Damn, it’s been 2 years…

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