October 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear a complaint about the distribution of Gideon Bibles in the Canadian province’s public schools.

Rene Chouinard, a Grimsby, Ont., father of two children, told the National Post that he wanted to distribute atheist and other non-religious literature in schools in response to a longtime practice in which the Gideons International hand out Bibles. He was told he could not.

As a result, Chouinard has decided to complain to the province’s rights tribunal and seek the end of Bible distribution.

“I don’t think 10-year-old kids should be expected to make decisions on which theological concept is correct,” Chouinard told the Post.

For almost 50 years, the Gideons have given out free Bibles to fifth-grade students all over Canada as long as those students have parental permission, the Post said. When Chouinard was asked permission for his daughter to receive a Bible, he refused.

“If they allow Gideon Bibles in the schools, then why can’t other groups distribute their material as well?” he said, according to the Toronto Sun. “This is not fair for people who may believe in other religions.”

Chouinard has received word that the tribunal will hear his complaint in February 2013.