The following comes from a September 12 Marin Independent Journal article by Janis Mara:
As Tara Jones, 11, left Del Mar Middle School to go home, a stranger approached her and handed her a small orange Bible, unsolicited. When Tara’s mother found out she hit the roof, concerned for her child and other Marin children who she feared might be approached.
“When I picked up my sixth-grader, she said, ‘Mom, I don’t think you’re going to like this,’” said Janette Jones of Tiburon. “These men, four or five of them, were standing there handing Bibles to our children, and we (parents) didn’t know this was happening.”
The Sept. 3 incident involved people from Gideons International, the same organization that places Bibles in hotel rooms, district officials confirmed.
Jones isn’t the first parent to express concerns about the distribution. When Gideons began handing out Bibles to students in 1946, “there was always some form of protest,” Kevin Kruse wrote in his book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.
Initially done on school grounds, “Jewish leaders protested any effort to place the New Testament in public schools, while Catholic officials objected because canon law forbade members of their faith from using the King James Version,” Kruse wrote.
More recently, “Every school year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation receives countless complaints from parents about The Gideon Society or other similar groups who are distributing bibles to their children at public schools,” according to that foundation’s website. The foundation is a nonprofit educational organization.
In the case of the Tiburon distribution, Jones said, the activity didn’t take place on school grounds, but on the sidewalk, and Del Mar Principal Alan Vann Gardner was on hand watching.
John Mini, a Tiburon resident who has a child at Del Mar, said he was surprised by the “permissiveness” of the school administration and police. In a letter to Vann Gardner he wrote:
“Anybody not personally and directly connected with the kids should be considered as a predator by both the school and the police in that situation where the kids are vulnerable.”
“They are unaccountable. They are cowards. They are in and out within 25 minutes. They call an hour before they do their dirty work and get in and out. Nobody has invited them,” Jones said.
Nancy Lynch, superintendent of the Reed Union School District, said “if I understand correctly, if it’s on a public thoroughfare, a public sidewalk, there is a difference between what you can do legally and what we think is appropriate.”
A San Anselmo civil rights attorney confirmed Lynch’s statement.
“It’s a free speech right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution, which has a free speech element,” said attorney Larry Organ. “Certainly on a public street and a public sidewalk, there should be no limitations.”
The Gideon Society does good work. I still have my free copy from my time in the Army. I must admit that I never really read it since I found the KJV to be difficult to read, plus I had no time to read it anyway. But there have been many people who have turned to that little bible during times of stress when they had few books in their possession. In my opinion, this article in CCD is about a bunch of over reactive parents who really need to get a life.
Yes Steve i agree. These parents should put their energy in fighting off planned parenthood or the gay agenda. I was in Del Mar a while back before when gay activist were trying to get signatures for their support of gay marraige. Not fun being the only few who spoke out in Charity. God bless you for your faithfulness.
I love the Gideon Society. Many times I have read the New Testament when traveling thanks to their foresight.
Gracias yes its courageous of them. Too bad these moms are reacting in such a way. I remember when i was traveling, i stayed at a hilton hotel and inside one of their drawers they had a Catholic bible and a childrens CCC. I was surprised and pleased. My kids saw them. Not all Hilton hotels have it, but that one did.
On the one hand, this carfuffle over Bibles is amusing. Would these upscale parents have been as angry if Planned Parenthood or PETA were handing out flyers to their kids? On the other hand, the Catholic Church generally avoids evangelizing minors except when evangelizing families, out of respect for family rights. So I wouldn’t do this. But it’s fun to hear the huffing and puffing of outraged secularists who don’t think twice about telling kids the lies that abortion doesn’t kill or homosexuality is normal objecting to a foundational document of their own civilization being handed to schoolchildren.
I bet the complaining parents would have no objection to Planned Parenthood staff standing on the sidewalk while distributing their literature with condoms attached to the students at the conclusion of the school day.
So who is supposed to decide who can do what on public sidewalks. Perhaps there could be a legal local ordinance limiting distribution to across the street from the school.
Not being a lawyer, my general recollection is efforts to restrict public prostletyzing come crashing down in a ball of flame.
It almost doesn’t need a comment. People have been sensitized to a degree, it’s almost paranoia. But it also shows a select sensitivity of some parents. Are they also alert of what the school may be brainwashing their children with?
How many things are done in school without parents’ knowledge, never mind permission.
Just teach their children to say no to any hand-outs. There may be other ‘undesirable’ hand-outs coming.
Why didn’t anybody talk to those hand-out people and ask them to not distribute their bibles in front of the school. The principal certainly has the authority to make such a request. And they may have cooperated.
The First Amendment is critical to our way of life, but should someone be allowed to pass out hateful anti-Catholic literiture to 11 year olds on the sidewalk in front of a Catholic school?
I would answer your question with ‘yes’. Instead of restricting Freedom of Speech without a true basis, this issue is about the responsibility of the parent/guardian to say ‘no’ on their child’s behalf.
If the parent has vested their children with the responsibility to walk home by themselves, this is the decision and right of the parent. If the parent doesn’t trust their child [as is evident in this case], the parent needs to escort their child from school.
One interesting thing about this story is that Jews and Catholics alike, in the past, were strongly opposed to the Gideons handing Bibles to passers-by.
JEWS saw it as a form of proselytizing they didn’t enjoy – you must become a Christian.
CATHOLICS were against it because the King James Version of the Bible was forbidden – they saw such a translation being pushed at them as a violation of their own Bible.
NOWADAYS, I’m sure people would be pretty mad to see their children approached by strangers handing out the Koran, the Book of Mormon, etc.
CCC: ” 133 The Church forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures.
Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
All parents must teach their children to read a Catholic Bible, and set an example for them by reading it themselves.
(By the time a child is old enough to read and understand Harry Potter, they can understand the New Testament.)
Every literate Catholic of any age – should own their own APPROVED Catholic Bible. This is important because the footnotes include an explanation – and we must have the Church explanation.
In addition a Catholic Bible has 46 books in the Old Testament, and a Protestant Bible has 39. An approved Catholic Bible will have an “Imprimatur” and “Nihil Obstat” on the copyright page.
By reading an approved Bible for 30 minutes and completing the other requirements, one can gain a plenary indulgence for himself or a deceased person.
This is my favorite Bible: the RSV-CE (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition) in large print for ease of reading.
The CCC contains the Doctrine of the Faith (and on the copyright page references the RSV-CE).
Give them as gifts for Birthdays, Christmas, Weddings, etc.
Ted B: I recommend the Douay-Rheims edition. The RSV is based on the King James Bible (aka Authorized), a Protestant Bible that contains a number of deliberately anti-Catholic errors. While the RSV-CE has attempted to correct these problems, why not use a Bible that was Catholic to begin with? In the second place the RSV accepts modern textual criticism in selecting its base Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek text, which is based on flawed premises of secularists. Why not use a Bible based on the Vulgate, which is free from doctrinal error? Finally, the RSV uses the Protestant Bible names and Psalm numbering, which makes it difficult to reference traditional Catholic commentaries, and also destroys Catholic identity. Douay all the way!
MS i understand your concerns but i must say, since many are probably not even close to understanding traditional beauty as you and i both appreciate. Better that they still get the word of God at their level. When and if they do grow spuritually, trust that God will lead them towards any approved Catholic Bible. I know personally how God works when His divine mercy touches the hearts of all sinners who are open to it.
Abeca, it is not about appreciating “traditional beauty”. There is a serious issue in that bibles derived from heretical translations, translate heretical doctrine to those who read them.
So while you advocate for certain levels, we need to teach/preach that Our Lady was/is full of grace, not just a favored one.
While you advocate that you “personally” know how God works, you negate the reality that others do as well which is precisely why they pursue the logical notion of beginning as you plan to continue. Breaking someone from the notion that Our Lady was merely favored but not full of grace leads one down a long, disjointed road of misunderstanding and heresy.
And while God does work to draw good from evil, we as…
.. Catholics should advocate being truthful from the start. Not relegating Catholic truth as something above the common man for it is not. (And, Abeca, Catholics have been warned severely about welcoming a different gospel.)
This is why we should “trust” God when presenting his truth. Be not afraid! Advocate teaching the truth, in all charity, at ALL times.
Ann Malley you are lying about me. STOP lying. To correct your insinuations about another topic nothing to do with this one, i too tell others that our Lady is full of grace. I pray it and believe it in my heart with the hail Marys i pray daily. She is my mother. Do not bring her up again in such a disrespectful way to insinuate false notions. You dont speak for me. And as long as you continue in this bad will, you do not have the right to interpret my thoughts or point of view. Stop attacking my faith. Go to confession. Ill try to give you the benefit of the doubt, perhaps you meant no harm in bringing up that example but i dont appreciate it. You just provoke unnecessary bickering. God Love you.
MS, Douay-Rheims is in old English and difficult for people to understand – to the point where many will NOT bother reading it
You can recommend any Bible you wish, but it is very wrong of you to bad mouth the RSV-CE used in the CCC by the Catholic Church.
Example – get the “mote” out of your eye in Douay-Rheims versus
get the “log” out of your eye in RSV-CE.
Mote in English is water surrounding a castle or other building. It is a very bad translation into English.
It is very wrong to label being factual as bad mouthing, PETE, who sounds a lot like, MIKE.
And the water surrounding a castle is a moat, not a mote. But thank you for illustrating why it is necessary to look at translations and to be logical and consistent with what those translations say and what they imply regarding Catholic doctrine.
Be not afraid, PETE. For while you refuse the logical assertion that Catholics and people should be lifted up and educated, you opt for dumbing down books so that they will be READ, read to include the hints at heresy and misinterpretation as to what the gospel really means.
Excuse me, Pete, but aren’t you confusing “mote” with “moat”? According to The Free Dictionary,
1. a tiny speck
[Old English mot; compare Middle Dutch mot grit, Norwegian mutt speck]
MS – you are wrong. The RSV-CE is a beautiful must better translation into English than the old Douay-Rheims of 1899. I own both and would never recommend Douay-Rheims – much of it does not make sense due to the stilted language that is now in error.
You must be a Sedevanantist or SSPXer who like to bad mouth everything in the past 65 years.
You must be a modernist, Sandy, who advocates evolving doctrine. No doubt that is why you attempt to marginalize others by calling common sense bad mouthing.
Translation: Try being a thinker, Sandy, one who engages logic and reason. For if the bible was such that it sustained the Church for centuries without error due to stilted language, why is it now when folks are not taught to read and understand English, that there is rampant error of those within the Catholic Church? Error evidenced by disparaging “views” based on picking and choosing versions of the bible and the rampant disconnect from parish to parish and diocese to diocese
Face palm, Sandy. But hey, you could have a V-8!
SANDY is not a modernist. Your attacks on PETE and SANDY are uncalled for. Their rebuttal to you are necessary and you provoked it. You keep singling out my comments, its obvious.
How insulting. Look at this womans arguements “try being a thinker” really? What gives this woman the right to insinuate that SANDY is not a thinker? PETE, SANDY, LEIGH and others faithful are the real thinkers sealed with Christ’s thinking in obedience to His church. I love the Doughey Rhems bible and have quoted from it more often then not on here but our church has other approved versions and I honor that too. I feel sad that AM doesnt get it. God help her.
MS, if the RSV-CE is good enough for Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict (referenced in the CCC) then it is good enough for ALL Catholics.
I love the RSV-CE. And give it as gifts as well.
Leigh I Agree. I also introduce the DR version explaining to Catholics its story connected to St Jerome and this way they understand their options better.