By Diana Chandler
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) — After 17-year-old Perry participated in Bring Your Bible to School Day in the seventh grade, he started a Bible study for classmates and grew closer to God during his mother’s cancer diagnosis in his junior year.
“I think that if you take one step, one action at a time, and just take your Bible to school,” Perry said in advance of the 2019 observance Oct. 3, “then whether right there or way later on in your life, you realize that that was exactly what [you] needed in that moment.”
The impact of Scripture in Perry’s life anchors a promotional video for the 2019 event and its motto “Bring It. Share It. Live It.” Event founder Focus on the Family (FOTF) encourages students of all ages not only to bring their Bibles to school Oct. 3, but to live their faith with targeted events scheduled throughout the year.
“For the first time this year, Focus on the Family will challenge Bring Your Bible to School Day participants to put into practice the ‘Live It’ portion of the event’s ‘Bring It. Share It. Live It’ motto,” FOTF said in a press release. “Students and their families will be equipped with monthly challenges — specific, tangible actions they can take to live out their faith at school and in the community throughout the year.”
More than 650,000 students participated in 2018, FOTF said of the event that drew 8,000 participants in 2014 in its first year. “Live It” events will be announced in 2019 and 2020, FOTF said.
Endorsing Bring Your Bible to School is veteran stock-car driver J.J. Yeley, whose car for the Sept. 20 and Sept. 28 Xfinity Series races in Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, respectively, is emblazoned with the Bring Your Bible to School logo and colors.
“Navigating a racetrack at high speed may take courage,” Yeley said in an FOTF press release, “but in today’s world, it can take far more courage to be a student and publicly share and live out your faith in school.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, also endorsing this year’s event, defended his faith after an attack accusing him of hatred against the LGBT community in New Orleans.
“There’s been a lot of negativity spread about me in the LGBTQ community recently, based upon an article … that led people to believe that somehow I was aligned with an organization that was anti-LGBTQ,” Brees said in a Sept. 5 YouTube video linked in FOTF’s press release. “I’d like to set the record straight. I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals, and that is, ‘Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ … That means love all, accept all, and respect all.”
FOTF President Jim Daly applauded Brees’ support of the event.
“Like Scripture teaches and Drew Brees referenced,” Daly said, “as Christians, we believe we’re called to love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind — and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Candi Cushman, FOTF’s director of education issues, founded Bring Your Bible to School to educate students about religious freedom.
“We were hearing from students and their families about how kids were told they couldn’t read their Bible during free time at school, or that they should hide their Bible away in a locker because it might offend someone,” Cushman has told BP. “We were also seeing that same sentiment echoed in the national headlines.
“We wanted to create a fun, empowering way to remind students of their basic religious-freedom rights and let them know that they don’t have to hide their faith, or be ashamed of it, when they walk in the school doors,” Cushman has said. Bring Your Bible to School “resonates because it is something that’s an easy, proactive and positive way for students to express their faith and start conversations.”
Event information and promotional materials for students, parents, teachers and churches are available at bringyourbible.org.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.