Speaking to Gideons outside the school | SummitDaily.com
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Speaking to Gideons outside the school

JOHN SPIERLING

In response to Harriet Hamilton’s article on May 24, I have to say I take umbrage to her portrayal of the District allowing the Gideons into the schools. As she herself points out, they set up tables outside the middle school building, not inside. This was a measure that in some degree was made to ensure the safety of our students. In the past, the Gideons set up their tables at the entrance to our school parking lot. This (albeit unintentionally) placed our children at risk as they crossed the parking lot to get the free handout. I would like to also take this opportunity to support the comments of Heidi Dickstein. She is quite correct in saying that the country was founded on the separation of church and state. The Pilgrims were religious dissenters who fled to America to avoid the persecution of the King. The Founding Fathers, in creating the requirements for holding office, specifically made no religious requirement. At most, Thomas Jefferson’s religious beliefs could be described as deism (a religion that affirmed the existence of God but denied the validity of revelation), but really tended towards atheism. Ben Franklin’s religious attitudes had moved far away from his Puritan upbringing. The Jewish community of New York and other New England sea towns played a vibrant role in the growing economic development of the colonies. No, Mr. Kirkhoff, the country was not founded on the word of God! If we are to continue to allow Bibles to be handed out as a means of avoiding a legal entanglement, then I agree with Ms. Dickstein. We should embrace our International Baccalaureate ideals and present a multiplicity of religious texts.


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