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To refuse the offer of a bible from local church for dd to commemorate starting school?

(260 Posts)
Norfolkbumpkin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:01:42

I have just received a round robin email from the school where dd has just started in reception. It says that as per the last few years the local church will be giving each child a bible to commemorate starting school, and to advise the office if for any reason you do not wish for your child to have one. I have replied saying no thanks as feel rather uncomfortable with this, but is this normal practice? I know that the school follows the standard guidelines for R.E. etc, but I am aware that the deputy head (who teaches one of the reception classes) is very active in the local church. She runs bible lessons after school one afternoon a week, and the church have an active presence at the school by doing the gardening in the flower beds and odd maintenance jobs. Am I reading too much into the bible thing or is it a tad pushy?

LFCisTarkaDahl Mon 15-Oct-12 15:03:49

I wouldn't turn it down, it's a nice commemoration and it might be a bit sad if she grows up and all her friends have theirs and she doesn't. It's hers just keep it for her. If she doesn't decide to be a Christian when she grows up she can chuck or recycle it.

Floggingmolly Mon 15-Oct-12 15:05:02

Pushy? hmm.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 15-Oct-12 15:06:23

I don't know if it is normal practice but I would have a good think about it. We are a religion-free household but I think it is not a bad thing for a house to have a Bible know thine enemy. I read it as a child with atheist parents and it is just stories if you read it like that. It is also a frame of reference for so much of the English language, probably up there with Shakespeare.

PumpkInDublic Mon 15-Oct-12 15:08:37


DS has been learning about world religion, he did loads about Islam, then Judaism, had talks and visits. Then for Christianity came home with an offer for a bible and load of leaflets about how much Jesus loved him. I thought he was meant to be learning about it not converting him ffs.

If you're not religious I'd just say "We want DD to learn about religion for the sake of tolerance and understanding, but we do not practice a faith at home, thank you for the offer."

Some Churches seem to give them out like Argos gives out catalogues. hmm

solidgoldbrass Mon 15-Oct-12 15:09:41

I'd have said no thanks, myself. And, unless the school is actually a church school, it's very presumptuous of them. OK, there's some lovely resonant prose in the King James version which an older child with an interest in literature and language might appreciate, but I expect the books they are handing out will be that nasty tin-eared 60s version.

And it's full of unpleasant ideas anyway. So don't feel bad about declining; it's not a good idea to let Christians of this type get away with these smug assumptions that everyone will welcome their crap-peddling ways.

LFCisTarkaDahl Mon 15-Oct-12 15:10:38

"I thought he was meant to be learning about it not converting him ffs."

He did learn about it - he learned that's it's an evangelising religion that trys to convert people grin

safflower Mon 15-Oct-12 15:10:58

Well if it is a church connected school, it is very kind of them to offer it. In fact any school it is a nice gesture. They are not forcing anyone to read it, so in your shoes I would accept graciously then pass it on to the next jumble or put it in the book bank or wherever.

aldiwhore Mon 15-Oct-12 15:13:41

I wouldn't turn it down. The bible is a good book. None of your household will be 'turned' into puritans and I think even if you don't have a specific believe, or hold a different one owning a bible can provide a good read, a slight insight into our own cultural traditions (in the UK) and provoke discussions about faith, belief and why we're here.

I don't practice any religion, I am not atheist either... I just don't have faith. The bible has still be valuable to me at times. I'm sure most religious texts would be.

My children go to a village school, central to the village community is the church, you cannot separate one from the other all the time, and I'm glad of it, I wish there were other religions in our village, but the Church is woven into the fabric of our community. I don't attend church. I do help the vicar each year with the tombola, because it's a village event. Being a vicar he speaks in God, I speak in Life, we rub along nicely.

Katisha Mon 15-Oct-12 15:14:42

Is it really so frightening/ dangerous to have a bible in the house?

PedanticPanda Mon 15-Oct-12 15:16:01

Yanbu, I would politely decline too.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 15-Oct-12 15:16:30

YANBU. The letter makes it clear enough you're at liberty to refuse.

I don't think its 'normal practice' , certainly not in non-faith schools. Yes, it is a more than a tad pushy to assume that the scriptures of one particular religion are an appropriate commemoration for starting primary school. A children's dictionary would be more suitable perhaps (DDs school gave them all a thesaurus when they left)

threesocksmorgan Mon 15-Oct-12 15:17:20

it is a free book, not poisen

GrimmaTheNome Mon 15-Oct-12 15:18:50

>The bible is a good book
that's a matter of opinion! A curate's egg of a book at best.

Yes, its a necessary reference book when you're older, but you don't need a physical copy any more. Giving it as a commemorative gift imparts it a special status that not everyone would agree with.

PumpkInDublic Mon 15-Oct-12 15:24:01

"Is it really so frightening/ dangerous to have a bible in the house?"

I think we're missing the point here, I could go round handing out copies of a River Out Of Eden or the God Delusion. Not going to hurt anyone to have it in the house, won't poison them. But is it appropriate or necessary? No.

A dictionary would have been a lovely thing to give.

CrikeyOHare Mon 15-Oct-12 15:24:05

I would ask them whether they really consider that a book full of rape, incest, murder, genocide, blood sacrifice & instructions on how to treat a slave is quite the thing for a 5 year old.

A copy of On The Origin Of Species that they could treasure forever would be far more appropriate.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 15-Oct-12 15:24:43

But Grimmayou need to know the quotes. My DM once really shocked our Christian dinner guests by commenting, as she was fiddling with her Victorian oil lamp, "wise virgins trim their wicks". Cue horror all round. She pointed out that they should be au fait with their own parables. I am now being facetious and will stop before people start shouting about how religion deserves automatic respect.

TiggyD Mon 15-Oct-12 15:25:22

Take it and bin it. That way the church would have spent money that they would have spent spreading evil.

worldgonecrazy Mon 15-Oct-12 15:27:44

crikeyohare got there before me. I was going to say exactly the same thing.

I really don't think it's appropriate to give special "commemorative" status to a religious book in a supposedly non-religious school. I would decline the offer.

Mrsjay Mon 15-Oct-12 15:30:52

It is a gesture most schools even if they are not faith schools with get a bible at some point in their school lives not sure why you refused it TBH but it is up to you of course I just think it is a nice gesture from the local church ,

mrscumberbatch Mon 15-Oct-12 15:33:50

It's a free book. I used to quite like reading my kids bible, all the Samson, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale madness.

I also went to Sunday School because it was a laugh.

I am one of the least religious persons to walk the earth. It's just a thing. Let them figure it out for themselves.

Norfolkbumpkin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:34:21

I feel fairly happy to have declined, and to be honest I do think that a childrens dictionary or similar would be a nicer idea. Once I've gained a bit more confidence in dealing with the school I might suggest the dictionary idea asd a nice alternative. I am still getting to grips with what's to be expected when your child starts school.

mrscumberbatch Mon 15-Oct-12 15:35:03

Calling the bible 'evil' is just silly though.

People believe all sorts of trite, it doesn't make them or the information 'evil'. Just daft.

TiggyD Mon 15-Oct-12 15:38:31

The bibble isn't evil but many of the churches ideas and beliefs are. Particularly if you're gay.

Hullygully Mon 15-Oct-12 15:41:03

It's got a lot of pervy sex and violence the old bible. I'd censor it heavily.

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