“What?” Keith jumped up. “What are you saying? We’re supposed to take the kids’ Bibles away from them? Their prayer journals? Their memory cards?”
“There’s no need to be defensive.” Doctor Summers glared up at him. “Please be seated. You will only be borrowing them, to get them scanned. And we want materials from everyone in the community. Parents, grandparents, pastors – Anyone who studies the Bible. Don’t you see? This will become a resource people all over the world can use, for all time. Mr. Bradley, your prayers, your thoughts, your study of the Bible could teach someone in Thailand, Mali, Alaska – someone in a spaceship traveling to Mars – these insights will become eternal.”
“But it’s voluntary, right?” Talia asked. “People don’t have to give us their Bibles, do they?”
“This program fails if it doesn’t accomplish the critical goal of gathering all the possible data,” Doctor Summers insisted. “It must be completely inclusive to succeed. How can we say that only fifty percent, or seventy-five percent, or even ninety-eight percent of people’s Bible study information gives a complete picture of this vital topic?”
“What exactly do you mean by ‘this program fails’?” Keith’s dad demanded.
“It doesn’t fulfill the requirements,” Doctor Summers said. “It doesn’t qualify for the grants.”
“You mean additional grants,” Keith prompted.
“No, I mean any grants,” Doctor Summers responded.
“You mean we lose everything we’ve gotten from implementing the Bible as Literature program?” Principal Bradley choked.
“It’s clearly stated in the contract you signed that this is a graduated program, consisting of steps that must be followed. The program itself is voluntary, but you agreed to provide this information – complete information. Really, there’s nothing scary or unreasonable being asked for here. Are your Bible studies secret? Why does the idea of sharing them with the world disturb you? Are you that selfish?”