After the Washington Post took six figures for the homophobic Both Sides insert recently, it’s no surprise to see smaller papers make similar moves like distributing whole custom-tailored New Testaments to its citizens. Yes, even its Jewish citizens. Found this unbelievable item Via Talk Left (AP):

Colorado Springs has its official daily newspaper: the Gazette.

And, thanks to the International Bible Society, Colorado Springs now has its own customized Bible.

This Sunday, Dec. 19, the two will officially join hand in glove. That’s when all 91,000 Gazette subscribers will retrieve from their driveways or their porches — or their rooftops — copies of the New Testament, tucked inside the newspapers standard blue plastic wrappers.

…Colorado Springs is merely the first city where the International Bible Society plans to distribute the New Testament inside daily newspapers. Jackson said the group is currently in discussions with the Denver Post to distribute a Denver version; Seattle, Nashville and Santa Rosa, Calif. are also high priorities.

From the Gazette, there has been — at least so far — scant warning or public discussion about the undoubtedly controversial decision to distribute Bibles. An article detailing the plan appeared two months ago in the newspaper’s Oct. 16 lifestyle section, in which Gazette publisher Bob Burdick compared the plan to other endeavors, like giving out laundry detergent and America Online computer disks. “Just because we distribute something doesn’t mean we endorse it or don’t endorse it,” said Burdick.

[Sound familiar, Washington Post? -Pam]

…The Gazette’s editor so far has remained publicly silent, but, not surprisingly, over at Temple Shalom, the city’s largest Jewish congregation, the matter has already been widely discussed. Leave it to say, not everyone is thrilled. Temple Shalom administrator Mary Simon says some congregants plan to cancel their subscription in protest. But they also have another idea for people who don’t want the New Testament with their Sunday newspaper. Temple Shalom plans to collect unwanted Bibles and deliver them to a church or a homeless shelter that needs them. “We’re trying to make a positive statement,” Simon said.

Now that’s admirable, especially since the Gazette initially planned to distribute the New Testaments on Dec. 12, until some bright bulb realized that day falls in the middle of Hanukkah and maybe, just maybe, getting a Bible from the Gazette might be an even harder slap in the face to non-Christians.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding