OPINION: Keep the damn Bibles, or don’t take them at all


Joseph Barringhaus

FILE PHOTO: Ed Bogner speaks to students by Shocker Hall and gives out free copies of the New Testament.

The campus recently went through one of my least favorite experiences in my entire college career. No, it wasn’t another boring SGA meeting.

As most students know, some kindly gentlemen from The Gideons International were posted around many of the campus’ entrances, offering the New Testament to any person unfortunate enough to walk past them. 

It’s like a worse version of the encounters in Pokemon. There’s seemingly no way around them, and they are set to give any student crossing them a copy.

Now, I’m not particularly a religious person. Even if I were, I wouldn’t be someone who would stand around a college campus handing out bibles to unwitting college students. It’s not particularly my scene.

But what I absolutely despise about this event is that some students will take the bibles and then toss them in the nearest trash can or worse, just leave them somewhere on campus. On top of newspaper racks, on coffee tables, sometimes as far away from a trash can as possible.

On top of all these books being, in my opinion, a waste of paper and resources, some students seem to be too meek and soft-spoken to simply reject the offering, opting to get rid of them as soon as they’re out of the field of vision of these men.

Did you think this was going to be anti-religion? No, everyone’s at fault here. 

I have no problem with these men sharing something important to them with the students on campus. I can imagine the possibility of a student taking the book, flipping through it, and thinking that this could be something that can potentially benefit them. Nothing wrong with a little eternal salvation.

But don’t feign interest just so you can get them off your back and you can drop the book off at the nearest receptacle. A simple “no thanks” will do.

Without fail, every time these people come around, you will be able to find those books scattered all over campus. And as if to add to the mess, there is no limited supply of the bibles. They have plenty ready to pass out.

If you want to avoid taking them, but you’re also nervous about potentially negative social interactions, then do what I do and get to know the alternate paths and entrances to your destination.

I’d rather not repeatedly say “no” to them, so I just walk around them. Is it a little extreme? Probably, but I’d rather do that than be approached by men who seem to have a little too much time on their hands, even if they mean well.

This is everyone’s campus. While there are people hired to ensure the campus’ cleanliness, we should make their job a little easier on these special days by, at the very least, properly disposing of the books if you’re actually not keen on keeping them.

At the end of the day, these servants of their lord are salespeople. It’s all about the bottom line. The potentiality of saving one student is a total win in their books, so they will take rejection about as well as any other salesperson. They are more than likely trained for it.

So, once again, a simple “no thanks” will do.