While many don’t seem to object to the Gideons’ handing out Bibles to graduating high school seniors outside the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville, others say the practice is incompatible with policies that strive to keep education and religion separate.
“First, how are we viewing people who are incarcerated? Are they to be considered human beings with rights to evolve as anyone else, and, if so, is due consideration to be given (as policy) as to the how of this?”
A city staff member has questioned what he says was a mandatory meeting at which United Way representatives made a funding pitch, followed by a Gideons member distributing Bibles, giving a sermon and leading staff in prayer. City representatives say the United Way presentation was not mandatory and Police Chief Bill Hogan says he’s apologized for the Gideons presentation.