The decades-old routine of handing out free Gideon Bibles in public schools has sparked renewed passions amid complaints the practice is discriminatory and no longer has a place in a secular education system.

The latest flare-up occurred in the sprawling Bluewater District School Board in southern Ontario after a parent’s objection led to the discovery the board had no policy on the issue.

Word that Bluewater officials were reviewing the practice in order to come up with a policy provoked a torrent of support for continuing the tradition.

“I’m not even a Gideon. I’m just a concerned Christian parent in a country that’s still 70 per cent Christian,” said Rev. Mark Koehler, pastor at First St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Hanover, Ont.

“We’ve taken prayer out of school. We can’t say certain greetings at Christmas time. We don’t want further erosion of our Christian faith and heritage to happen.”

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