British Columbia

Free Bibles banned in Burnaby schools

The Burnaby School Board has voted to end the distribution of free Bibles in elementary school classrooms by a Christian group.

The Burnaby School Board has voted to end the distribution of free Bibles in elementary school classrooms by a Christian group.

Gideons International has been giving out pamphlets to Grade 5 students in Burnaby for years thatask them and their parents if they would like to receive a free Bible.

Last year, a parent complained that the offer was inappropriate.

The school board voted this week to ban the practice, with most of the trustees saying it's not part of the public school system's mandate to spread religious beliefs.

School trustee Ron Burton told CBC News that schools in Burnaby are diverse, and it's wrong to promote any religion in a public institution.

"I think people see the school system as a haven where there is no religion, there is no politics."

Richard Lee, the only trustee who voted to allow the free Bibles, said there is a place for religion in a classroom, as long as it doesn't influence what's being taught.

"How is the Bible corrupting anybody? How is the Bible leading to law and disorder? Let's have a discussion. Why are these people uncomfortable?"

Lee said materials from other religions should also be passed out.

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