Ban on Distribution of Bibles at Public Schools in Berlin

Country: Germany

Date of incident: October 10, 2012

The International Gideons are known for distributing pocket Bibles for free - mostly at schools, hospitals, hotels and medical practices. They were denied to further distribute Bibles at public schools in Berlin by the ministry of education and cultural affairs.

A letter from the Berlin Senate Department of Education, Youth and Science, clearly requires the omission of the distribution of Christian Bibles reasoning with an administrative regulation of 2011 which implies that on state property “Advertising of ideological religious or political nature” is prohibited. In 2004, the Senator of Education then, Klaus Böger (SPD), expressly thanked Gideons for providing this amount of Bibles saying: “I hope this will contribute as cultural heritage to a deeper knowledge of our Western culture among young people.” Responding to the Senate’s letter Wendel, the chairman of Gideons in Germany, points out the pocket Bibles don’t contain any "advertising for churches, clubs, or the International Federation Gideon". Furthermore, the ministerial conference earlier recognized these Bibles as school materials. Wendel asked the education senator to reconsider and to withdraw its decision. Source: