Bring Your Bible (Funmentionables) to School Day™

B-fun2SchoolIt is a twisted logic that some Bible thumpers’ idea of religious liberty includes demanding that the government send out e-mails to promote their religion. Case in point: Folsom Cordova Unified School District in Northern California recently e-mailed parents notifying them of a “Bring Your Bible to School Day” (a.k.a. “Spit on the Constitution Day”). The public school district says it’s totally cool because they added a disclaimer saying it’s not their program, plus their lawyer said it was okay.

Their lawyer has admitted being worried about litigation from the group Focus on the Family if the district refused to send out the e-mail. Religious groups can threaten their own with eternal punishment, but they have to resort to lawsuits when dealing with the government.

Of course, when the e-mail goes out announcing “Bring Your Koran to School Day” or “Bring Bertrand Russell’s ‘Why I Am Not a Christian’ to School Day,” Focus on the Family will be the first to complain. Do I have to remind Focus on the Family that Jesus really hated hypocrites, especially spice tithers:

Woe to you…hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin. —Matthew 23:23

It’s particularly exasperating when the people responsible for educating our youth show such inability to think through situations like these, where it is their duty to keep church and state separate. Now instead of showing you how un-Washingtonian or how un-Jeffersonian the public school district is being, let’s change things up and give some of the less-renowned Presidents their overdue moment in the spotlight:

“Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between Church and State.” —James Polk

 

“In my view Church and State should be separate.”
—Millard Fillmore

 

“Keep Church and State forever separate.”
—Ulysses S. Grant

 

“The divorce between Church and State ought to be absolute.” —James Garfield

Polk gets extra credit for the “Thank God” intro.

The school district’s legal minds may not quite match our Commanders-in-Chief (dare I call them un-Polkian), but there is also another Commander whose law about making a public display of your religion is being violated:

When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men…but when you make your prayer, go into your private room.
—Matthew 6:5-6

It is a shame that Focus on the Family is so thoroughly ignorant of that Bible quote. To keep today’s youth from being just as ignorant, I present “Bring Your ‘Bible Funmentionables’ to School Day.™”

Screen shot 2015-10-09 at 6.16.04 PMThat’s right; In a spirit of fairness, I have submitted my request to the Folsom Cordova Unified School District that they promote my first annual “Bring Your ‘Bible Funmentionables’ to School Day™” scheduled for October 30, 2015. Since my event is equally legal to Focus on the Family’s, I’m sure they’ll be just as eager to spread the word. Or face the threat of eternal damnation! (It’s cheaper than legal counsel.)

Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.

Could 44 Adorable Jesus Fans Be Wrong?

As millions of Broncos fans hoped for a miracle in the playoff game against the Patriots, Focus on the Family aired an interminable 30-second ad featuring the most precious, interracial, GapKids models that you’ve ever seen, all basically condemning you to hell if you don’t follow Jesus.

Of all the quotes in the Bible to choose from, of course they cherry-picked John 3:16. That’s the verse that was popularized at 1970s and ’80s sporting events by The Rainbow Man (who is now serving three consecutive life sentences in prison!) and that for many Christians summarizes the whole Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16

I couldn’t help but picture how those same children would have looked giving voice to some of the Bible readings that always get left behind:

And when the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and put them to death, all the seventy, and put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. —2 Kings 10:7

or

She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. —Ezekiel 23:20

Even the most charming youngster in the world would have trouble finding converts with those verses.

But there was something beyond the choice of the verse that I found troubling: the use of children.

Why choose kids instead of adults? I see three reasons:

• Proselytizing kids sound so sweet and innocent. Adults sound pushy.

• Proselytizing kids appear to have less of a hidden agenda. Adults, i.e. the folks at Focus on the Family, definitely have an agenda.

• Listening to a child, we tend to let down our guard and listen to what they have to say. To an adult, we’re more likely to respond, “Sorry, not interested.”

So, besides being manipulative, what’s wrong with children as religious spokeskids? Because the kids are being used—used to send a message that the adults are actually making.

When a parent prodded her child to approach Michele Bachmann to make a powerful political point (being careful to capture it on video), it was a bit of a cheap shot (albeit a funny cheap shot).

If an adult wants to make an important statement of their principles, they shouldn’t hide behind their kids, who will often parrot even the most outlandish beliefs of the parents. The adults should make the case themselves. (I was tempted to make a parody ad with darling kids reciting one of the alternate quotes above, but I thought I should follow my own advice.)

As a general rule, I am not opposed to having kids in commercials selling me on the consumption-induced euphoria of toys, breakfast cereal, or underwear. But I bristle when they tell me to join their religion or suffer eternal torture. If that’s your message, say it. Don’t hide behind a sea of childhood sweetness as you tell the 4.7 billion non-Christians of the world that they’re going to hell.