The year I received a small Gideon Bible at school it had a gold cover on it. Normally the covers were red, but the New Testaments given out that year were ordered special because it was 1967 – Canada’s 100th birthday. I still have it – and remember with fondness the day the Gideons came to distribute them.
The days of distribution have since changed with the Gideons now offering them to children who want them – there is no giving out of New Testaments to those who prefer not to have one. However, that too seems to be passing. Another sign of a society increasingly chasing a European secularism.
The Blue Water School Board yesterday, after a heated debate chose to no longer allow Gideons to distribute any New Testaments. Bill Donovan of Owen Sound had objected believing that the school system should be strictly a secular system. His response to the decision: “It bolsters my faith in the admirable society we have here in Ontario and Canada.”
Of course the ongoing debate is an interesting one. Where do we derive values from? What are the absolutes that we firmly believe. Is there right or wrong? Who determines this? We now live in a pluralistic society. Near my office live thousands of Muslims. They would believe the Quran is the authority on life and established values. I would say it is the Bible. Maybe the common ground is that we believe that our faith has a daily, relevant place in the market place not just our livingrooms.
The world is changing – rapidly. Canada has been described as a pagan country. Is it? Or is it hedonistic? Europe’s dance with secularism has not convinced me that this is highly desirable. In fact their secularism has led to selfishness that has fanned the flames of their economic woes.
So Mr. Donovan you won your case and New Testaments are out. I’m sorry for this. You won’t understand my position – perhaps I don’t entirely understand yours.
Schools, I had hoped, would be about learning. It seems they are increasingly about NOT learning.