Abimelech Society

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The Abimelech Society is a not-for-profit, loosely-organized group dedicated to overturning the work of the Gideons.

History[edit]

The Abimelech Society is a loose association of atheist men and women who remove copies of the Bible placed by the Gideons in hotels, schools, hospitals, jails, and many other places. The association was founded by a couple of freethinkers in Canada in the 1960s, when they found the only reading material in their hotel rooms to be a Gideon Bible. Angered by this overt propaganda, they decided to do something about it. There is no formal membership in the society, no dues, and anyone is welcome to join.

The Society takes its name from Abimelech, the bastard son of Judge Gideon, who thwarted the work of his father (Judges 9). Mind you, Gideon had been a bit of a bastard himself by destroying other tribes who didn't quite take the same Yahweh route as himself.

Aims[edit]

Their goal is the removal of the so-called Word of God or Holy Bible from hotels, motels, hospitals, school classrooms, university dormitories, penal institutions, and any other places where the Gideons try to leave their propaganda.

Abimelechs are encouraged to replace removed books with alternative reading.

Worldwide organization[edit]

Although there are adherents in many countries around the world there is no annual meeting. Through the valiant action of the society's members, thousands of Bibles and New Testaments have been withdrawn from circulation, confiscated, destroyed, or put to some useful purpose. Members can join by simply saying "I am an Abimelech".

The final solution[edit]

The Society encourages discussions among members of topics relevant to the Society such as what to do with specimens once confiscated, and maintains a Book Depository in Winnipeg, Manitoba for temporary storage of specimens.

Among the known final uses of specimens are: insulation material in home construction and rolling papers for smoking tobacco and other herbs. Bibles, because of their "dense" nature, tend to burn poorly in fireplaces, but have been used as fuel in restored steam locomotives by atheist rail enthusiasts. Owing to the low absorbency of Bible paper the Society does not recommended that specimens be used for hygienic purposes except in case of extreme need.

The Abimelech Society hopes that the direct action of atheists in eliminating such pervasive propaganda will contribute to the diminishing influence of organized religion worldwide. Involvement in this type of direct action gives freethinkers a sense of participation in the ongoing struggle against ignorance and superstition, and reduces their sense of helplessness in a society of religious dupes. It also opens them to accusations of suppression of ideas and book burning, which are not exactly "freethought" ideals.

Legal issues[edit]

Some people have questioned the legality of removing the books from hotel rooms. Is the activity theft? However, as many Gideon Bibles indicate that the book may be taken if the reader becomes engrossed in the text, then the mere act of removal is probably not actionable.

External links[edit]