I have read the reports concerning the distribution of New Testaments and/or Bibles by the Gideons and must state I am very disturbed by the bias shown by some in the public education system.
From my understanding, parental permission is obtained prior to any New Testament or Bible being given to any student. That condition is totally and completely reasonable.
When I attended public school we had daily Bible readings and prayer and that was based on the belief that Canada was a Christian country.
Subsequently, the decision was made that public schools are to be secular – i.e. non-religious.
Despite this movement, we are allowing religious festivals from other faiths in the school. One such example is the Diwali Festival, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, which is a festival for the Sikhs and Hindus. This festival is a religious festival and is being allowed in our public education system.
As a citizen of this country, I see no justifiable reason for banning the distribution of Christian literature such as New Testaments and/or Bibles as is currently permitted within our school system.
Such action does not in any way discriminate against other religious faiths, as all should be given the same rights if and when other faiths wish to follow in the steps of the Gideons.
Allowing religious festivals such as quoted above is definite discrimination against Christianity. In fact, some schools will not allow the reference to Christmas but rather insist on calling that season the holiday season. This is despite the fact that virtually every member of the public knows this to be a celebration of the birth of Christ.
Students or parents are not obligated in any way to accept the offer of the Gideons.
Yet currently, at least within the Abbotsford School District, students are forced to at least notice that festivals of other religious faiths such as the Diwali festival are within their school.
If Christian festivals are not permitted, the minister of education should ensure that school boards do not permit religious festivals of other religions.
Frank Wirrell, Abbotsford