FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The mother of a student dropped her child off at Fayetteville High School Tuesday morning where she saw a group of men outside the front entrance handing out Bibles to students as they walked in.
She says her concern was that people are pushing a religious belief on kids without the consent of parents.
"I don't believe that a stranger should try to initiate conversations when it comes to [a minor's] spiritual growth and needs," the mother, who wishes to stay anonymous after receiving harassment online, said.
"What if a non-Christian group was out there?" she asked. "Would they get the same latitude to hand out information?"
"I do question if other less accepted religions or philosophies were handing out pamphlets— If they would be as welcomed."
Fayetteville School District representative Alan Wilbourn explained that this is the thirty-first year that the Gideons have come to FHS to hand out Bibles.
Wilbourn said that because the group is on public property, they're not breaking any laws, and if another group wanted to do something similar, they would be allowed to as well if they stay off school property.
The Gideons are an organization going back to the 1800s and have been providing free Bibles to people all over the world and in multiple languages. This is the same group that puts Bibles in hotel rooms.
"We've accepted the proclamation of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we shall be witnesses to him and to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world," said David Fellow, one of the members who was seen handing out Bibles outside of FHS.
Fellow said the Gideons try to be conscious of the safety of students and parents.
"We're just some old retired guys. We have accepted this commission to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through the distribution of free new testaments to all who would miss it," he said.
As for the mom, she acknowledged the Gideons were polite and within their rights while giving a Bible to her teenager, but the tactic wasn't something that sat right with her.
"I think if they approached my child again, I would have the same response which is 'just leave my child alone. That's not a place for you to proselytize to my child.'"
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