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‘Atheist fundamentalists’ force hospital’s removal of Bibles

‘Atheist fundamentalists’ force hospital’s removal of Bibles

A new state-of-the-art hospital in Scotland has ditched a plan to put Bibles in all patients’ rooms – and the Rev David Robertson, of the Free Church of Scotland, above, is furious.

According to this report, Robertson blamed the U-turn on:

A small and vociferous group of secular atheist fundamentalists (who) are seeking to impose their values on the whole of Scottish society.

NHS officials ditched the Bible plan after hearing a complaint that Christianity should not be promoted over other faiths – and now any patient who wants a Bible has to request one.

A total of 344 Bibles had been donated to the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary by the Gideons outfit.

Ciaran Kelly, of the Christian Institute, said:

It’s sad that the hospital wasn’t a little bit braver in responding to this complaint. Making Bibles available isn’t forcing them on anyone.

Dr Donald Boyd, of the Scottish Christian Party, added:

Equalities legislation is meant to be respecting individual rights. What you’ve got is aggressive individuals who are turning minority rights into majority rights.

When I found a Bible in my hotel room in Gibraltar last year it wound up in the bin.

A spokesman for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said:

All 344 Bibles remain available to patients, but NHS Dumfries and Galloway took the decision to halt the direct provision of Bibles into social areas and single-bed rooms in order to consider the most easily accessible yet appropriate locations.

A spokesman for Gideons said:

I understand the person who made the complaint was not of any religion and they were possibly saying why should the Christians get preferential treatment?

We discussed this and thought the last thing we want to do is to put people’s backs up by being pushy, so we’ll accept that.

Robertson is reported here as saying:

Having a Bible in a country where the majority of people still profess to be Christian, in an area where there are many Christian churches, is not rocket science.

It can’t do any harm and it could actually do some people a great deal of good. So why would you prevent it just for ideological reasons?

He believes the hospital shouldn’t have given into the complainant.

The lesson is – if you are one of these boards who are deciding these things – don’t give into the bullies. Don’t allow one person; don’t allow a tiny minority to dictate for everyone else. Encourage people to show a great deal more tolerance because this is fundamentally intolerant in the name of tolerance.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

31 responses to “‘Atheist fundamentalists’ force hospital’s removal of Bibles”

  1. 1859 says:

    ‘…Encourage people to show a great deal more tolerance….’

    OK, if it’s ‘tolerance’ you want Mr. Robertson then you must be ready to ‘tolerate’ copies of every religious book ever scrawled beside every bed in every hospital – that would not only be downright fair it would also show tolerance over and above the call of duty.

    However, let’s just face the facts here. Society and peoples’ attitudes are changing fast and you, Mr. Robertson, just don’t like being left behind. This has nothing to do with ‘fundamentalist atheists’ acting like members of an elite Atheist SS. No, it’s about removing religion from the public sphere like hospitals and schools etc., and placing it into the private sphere of your own home where you can worship whatever set of garden gnomes you please. That is real tolerance. So stop crying Mr. Roberson Jesus loves you more than you will know.

  2. barriejohn says:

    A small and vociferous group…seeking to impose their values on the whole of Scottish society.

    Hmmm – irony, anyone?

  3. sailor1031 says:

    seems to me that if you can get one on request that should be more than enough. Can I get a copy of the Upanishads on request? Bhavagad Gita? Dialogues of the Buddha?Book of Mormon? Koran? any of the other thousands of “scriptures” out there? Because if not the christians are still getting favourable treatment; just not quite as much as before

  4. Ryan Smith says:

    Your inability to understand what tolerance means and your lack of self awareness is truly concerning Mr Robertson. The removal of religion from the public has long been over due. Devout Christians that would feel the need to have a Bible in close reach carry one with them. My friend has one in his truck, and his wife has one in her purse. But if we wanted tolerance and acceptance of religion on a full scale that gave no preference to one over another, I would want a miniature library in each room, complete with the every religious book to ever grace our planet. That would show tolerance to everyone, which if you understand the word tolerant; “showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”
    synonyms: open-minded, forbearing, broad-minded, liberal, unprejudiced, unbiased;
    Hmm. Unbiased. Did you catch that?

  5. Bubblecar says:

    “don’t give into the bullies”

    Who are the “bullies” here? I’d say it’s clearly those who seek to take advantage of seriously ill people by pushing religion on them when they’re particularly vulnerable and supposedly in the care of a state-run hospital.

    The hospital made the right decision but they should have refused the Bibles in the first place. They wouldn’t accept a donation of hundreds of political texts, so why should religious propaganda be seen as acceptable material for hospitals to “make available”?

  6. Mack says:

    A lot of Christians complain about bullying or even oppression while in reality they just are losing once held privileges.

  7. Chris Whitehouse says:

    Where’s your faith Robertson? Why not go into the hospital, prayers aflying, and heal all the sick? Then you won’t need any hospitals to push your book.

  8. Neil ferguson says:

    Here we go again, Christians complaining about not being treated more favourably than everyone else.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Bubblecar: There’s an ignorant little squirt by the name of Angus Buchan (born Southern Rhodesia, 1947), who has a vanity channel (Shalom Ministries) on TBN. Funnily enough, I happened to watch a little bit of his performance yesterday (he holds forth in the open air on his South African farm, dressed in massive trench coat and even more massive cowboy hat). He was talking about how he was on a flight the other day seated next to an Indian couple (engaged), and was “able” to engage in conversation with them (i.e. ram his views down the throats of a captive audience) and even pray with them. Can you imagine it? They must have been over the moon! Christians do this sort of thing all the time; “sharing Christ” in hospitals, in schools, in old people’s homes and hospices, on the beach, on your street corner, and in some countries actually preaching on buses and trains, to the great annoyance of legitimate passengers. Their arrogance and pig-headedness is breathtaking. In most cases they have complete freedom to believe what they like and worship as they wish, yet any attempt to curtail this obsession with converting everyone else to their faith is met with squeals of “persecution”.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/luke-waltham/angus-buchan-should-not-be-praised-and-admired_a_22051826/

  10. Broga says:

    Robertson has the closed mind so typical of many Christians. There are so many books that can provide insight and inspiration (if the patients chose to read them) and this man assumes that the bible transcends them all.

  11. Club Secretary says:

    Come come Barriejohn, we all know that people of religion are seriously irony impaired,

    On a related point, last week I went into the local hospital for a minor surgical procedure. During the preliminary to the operation , amongst the unusual questions regarding medication and medical history, I was asked my religion!

    I was somewhat taken back, I have been in and out of that hospital for the last 20 years (the curse of old age and a decadent lifestyle) and have never been asked that question before.

    Does this happen in other NHS hospitals?

  12. Broga says:

    Club Secretary : I’m surprised to hear that question was asked. I suppose if you were a Jehovah’s Witness they would want to know.

  13. Chaz says:

    1) “Making Bibles available isn’t forcing them on anyone”.
    OK then – make some copies available on request to the front desk. Leave a card saying so in the room. I bet that not one request to the front desk for a bible would be received.

    2)”Having a Bible in a country where the majority of people still profess to be Christian, in an area where there are many Christian churches, is not rocket science”.
    Wrong, the majority are not christian. And if there are so many churches leave a card in the room advertising them.

    3)”– don’t give into the bullies. Don’t allow one person; don’t allow a tiny minority to dictate for everyone else”.
    We humanists and secularists and atheists are doing precisely that thank you.

    4)Before I retired I travelled extensively … all over the world. And whenever I found a bible in a hotel room it was consigned to the trash. Not the waste paper bin under the desk but in the nearest available trash dumpster. And I stayed in some hotels many times over and was never challenged about the missing bibles. I can only assume that no one checked the bibles or no one gave a toss.

  14. AgentCormac says:

    ‘Having a Bible in a country where the majority of people still profess to be Christian…’

    Robertson isn’t wrong, but only by a whisker – 53.8% of Scots claim to adhere to some brand of christianity or other. But it’s hardly what you might call an overwhelming majority. And as we have seen since the Brexit referendum, it’s easy for those with even the merest sliver of a lead in numbers to dismiss entirely the views of almost half the population, believing that only they have an opinion that counts.

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Equality/Equalities/DataGrid/Religion/RelPopMig

  15. L.Long says:

    Well it depends on what they mean as putting buyBulls in every room. Who is paying for this? If it is the hospital, then piss off…NO! But if the church is paying (they have tons of money) then MEH! Also the hospital is a separate business unit so they can decide as they wish, no religious material then no buyBulls, besides from what I can tell from various testing reading buyBulls is tough half unconscious and being prayed for leads to an early death!

  16. tonye says:

    A few years ago I got a small packet of stickers with the slogan ‘this book is a work of fiction’ from, if memory serves me right – Cafepress.

    Unfortunately, I have only had the chance to use them a couple of times.

  17. sugarmouse says:

    Should every patient have access to a copy of Dawkins; The God Delusion as well? What if want someone wants a book about other beliefs: the flying spaghetti monster? Marx Communist Manifesto? Should hospitals have a large library of books of religions and beliefs?

    Surely Christians already have their own Bible? It’s time for them to stop whinging “we are a Christian country” (church attendance would suggest otherwise). If you want a book to read whilst in hospital do what everyone else does and bring one in yourself.

  18. Dan Knight says:

    When all you’re accustomed to is privilege, equality feels like oppression.

  19. Monty says:

    Good on them for relenting. There’s absolutely no reason for the NHS to be promoting ANY religion.

  20. Stephen Mynett says:

    Club Secretary, being asked your religion is a standard question on admittance to most/all hospitals, although things have changed a lot over the years.

    Now it is quite useful because when you say none you can make sure hospital chaplains do not bother you and if they do there are grounds for complaint. There are still chaplains that ignore this and are a real pest, they just see hospitalised people as easy prey (pun intended) for their religionist aims.

    Until some time in the 1980s it was ipmpossible to say no, even if you did a lot of hospital staff would just say “I will put you down as CofE then”, there was no space on the admittance form for not religious. I had many arguments in the past, even pointing out I was not baptised/christened did not help and after a while when you are ill and in pain it is too much bother to continue.

    Luckily attitudes are better now and you can make it clear you have no religion, although that does not stop some hospital workers from trying it on with their brand of god stuff.

  21. Arkenaten says:

    So why would you prevent it just for ideological reasons?

    Or … look at it from the other side: ” So why would you want it just for ideological reasons?”

  22. H3r3tic says:

    @AC – whilst you are correct in pointing out that only 53.8% of Scots profess to following one of the various denominations of Christianity in 2011 I think it is perhaps more relevant that this figure has reduced from 65.1% since the census conducted in 2001. Give it another ten years and I sincerely doubt that that Christians will still be able to claim that they represent the majority of UK subjects north of the wall.

  23. carrie goodstein says:

    My Jewish mother-in-law was in the hospital, largely unconscious or out of it. When the released her back to her nursing home, she had something new: a bracelet with a little cross on it. We don’t know if random religious people were roaming the halls passing out trinkets, or if it was one of the nursing staff who did it, but it was grossly inappropriate and offensive. Religion is a personal choice and should not be shoved at people, especially those in vulnerable positions.

  24. Again, this is not just neutral information being made noncoercively available in public places, it’s superstitious ideas being propagated in public areas, where even vulnerable children may read them. Just because most people are superstitious should not give them carte blanche to proselytize their fantasies in publicly funded places. The hospitals were right.

  25. Vanity Unfair says:

    A new state-of-the-art hospital would not be necessary if the treatment urged in the NT worked.

    James, 5 (13-16)
    Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
    14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
    15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
    16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

  26. Jeff McClintock says:

    I’m pretty sure any serious Christian own their own Bible, therefore the Gideon’s Bibles are mere opportunistic evangelism aimed at not Christians, and that’s just plain rude and pushy.

  27. barriejohn says:

    Jeff McClintock: You’re spot on. The Gideon Bibles even contain a short prologue, and guide to what verses you should be reading to find Jesus. You can read some of it here:

    http://blog.gideons.org/2010/12/the-bible-contains-the-mind-of-god/

    They’re not just providing Bibles for the convenience of those who forgot to bring theirs with them!

  28. Broga says:

    Christians do not want the bible read other than selectively. Their preference was for the bible to be in Latin so that the priests could interpret it. The internet has been a disaster as it has kicked a hole through religious censorship – except at the BBC.

  29. Christopher Myson says:

    Didn’t “Mother Teresa”‘s nuns baptise Hindus and Moslems on their death beds surreptitiously? “Do you want to go to heaven?” Presses wet cloth to forehead and mutters magic spell…

  30. Connie says:

    I loved Monty’s statement re privilege, equality and oppression. Can I quote you in future?