The Bible is a good book. The King James version is a landmark of English literature and many of its moral lessons are solid pieces of advice even in the 21st Century.
That said, the use and distribution of Bibles in public schools in Chilliwack for the express purpose of proselytizing to preteens should be halted.
First, let's be clear: we're not talking about a ban on Bibles. There's nothing wrong with school libraries shelving Bibles and the holy books of other religions, or with teachers using the holy books of different religions to teach social studies or similar classes.
But the school district should not allow religions to use school time and property to promote their beliefs.
The alternative is chaos and conflict. A school district that allows the distribution of Bibles must allow other religions to hand out their own holy books.
That's fine in theory. Let Muslims hand out the Koran. Let Hindus give out the Vedas. Let Sikhs distribute the Guru Granth Sahib.
But where do you draw the line? Do you allow Scientologists to hand out the writings of L. Ron Hubbard? What about Christian groups that favour different forms of the Bible?
The answer is simple: leave the distribution of religious materials to other institutions.
Teachers and schools can and should be able to talk about what different religions believe. But they shouldn't be promoting any one belief over another.
The Gideons have good reason to distribute Bibles through the public school system. The vast majority of Canadian children attend public schools and by Grade 5 children are full of questions about the meaning of life.
But just because it makes sense for the Gideons, doesn't mean it makes sense for school administrators.
Schools, after all, should be neutral ground in the contest for the souls of our children.