It transpires (see for example the Not-So-Friendly-Humanist, Freethinker, and Pharyngula blogs) that a student christian union has started an attempt to have bibles placed in each student room at the Edinburgh University Pollock Halls of Residence.
Apart from the sheer arrogance of this approach, this does fill me with amusement. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, when I was a student at Edinburgh, Pollock Halls appeared to double its occupancy on Friday and Saturday nights following the dread discos (usually closing with the rousing sing-along anthem Hi Ho Silver Lining). Indeed such frequently carnal activity was reflected in amused comments from University accommodation officers concerning the single beds provided at Pollock Halls.
So, I suppose if passed, the distribution of bibles will be followed with a multitude of other holy books. Will it extend to the works of L. Ron Hubbard, who’s flights of fancy came a cropper in French courts recently? After all, Hubbard’s bonkers beliefs aren’t especially unusual in comparison to the tosh found in the bible.
I particularly liked Barry Duke’s (Freethinker blog) suggestion of a warning label that should be affixed to each copy:
I have an upcoming trip to the US – I imagine there will be Gideon bibles in each hotel room I will stay in. The temptation to affix such labels would be severe…
On the other hand, perhaps the kindly souls at the christian union would consider Robert Crumb’s illustrated version of Genesis. At least that would amusingly illustrate (probably in a nice earthy sort of way) several elements of the warning label.
Good luck to those who seek to prevent this absurdity. Students don’t need extra doorstops in their tiny Pollock Halls bedrooms.