So I tried getting a free Bible a few months ago from LESEA Broadcasting. These are the people who bring us The Jim Bakker Show, Jimmy Swaggart, and the like. I sometimes watch Bakker for laughs on the weekend; I can't figure out if the guy looks more like Master Yoda or the Grinch.
Anyways, LESEA ran a commercial that explicitly stated that I could request a free Bible from them. All I had to do was call their 800 number. So I did. The lady on the phone was nice enough, she took my information, I did a little wink-with-a-fist-pump gesture at my wife, and that was that. Then I waited. I waited until I forgot that I was waiting.
About a month later, the mailman drops off a rather flat and bible-free brochure from LESEA Broadcasting. My yes lit up as I read the brochure. LESEA proudly states that they have given away millions of bibles, and continue to do so. At this point I'm wondering what the hell is going on, where is my Bible, and they I read the next page. For my LOVE GIFT of $25, LESEA will send me a free Bible. My love gift will go towards free bibles for the third world.
Really, that is what it said. Even I didn't expect this. So distastefully bold, yet brilliant in execution.
Thwarted in my complimentary bible attempt, I began looking online for free bibles. Time and again, I find *free* Bibles that always require something. Either I must give a love gift, cover shipping costs, or sit-down with a kooky missionary. Gideon Bibles at hotel rooms aren't even free, the hotel will charge you a replacement fee.
Frustrated, I went to the Christianity.com website and found the following advice on requesting a free Bible:
1) Contact a local church (too many strings attached)
2) Download free Bible software (I don't want software, I want something I can read in post-apocalyptia)
3) Use a free online Bible (see #2 above)
4) Be a Philippines or Africa resident (what the hell?)
5) Contact a Bible Society (with a disclaimer that they offer bulk pricing discounts...so not free)
6) Contact FreeBibles.net (this one sounds promising, even if they say they only provide bibles to the needy or imprisoned)
7) FreeBibleSociety.org (this one sounds the most promising, no strings attached)
I went to FreeBibles.net and requested my free Bible. This did not come without strings though. In order to process my request, I had to attest to at least one of the following conditions:
-I am very poor
-I am very sick or homebound
-I am incarcerated
Not only did I have to attest to one of these conditions when I requested my Bible at the website, but I had to do it again in a follow-up email! Are they worried about people stealing Bibles? Is it even theologically possible to commit a crime while acquiring a God's Holy Word?
I also pursued the second option, FreeBibleSociety.org. This is supposedly the no-strings-attached option, and I like that. While filling in my information at the website, I'm greeted with a bolded text field which states that there is a 3 year waiting list for all Bible requests. Unbelievable. What if I get eaten by a shark next week? If Jesus knows the entire arc of my life, would he know that I was expecting a Bible to arrive in the future? Would He send me to Hell, then deliver a Bible to me in three years?
Undeterred by the delay since I plan on living, I completed my request. I then received an email from a William Watson, with a text file attached (this is a real asshole move by the way...computer viruses like to arrive as text files). I opened the file, and in it was more info on the waiting list, a comment on the small print size, and an admonishment to buy a Bible at a Dollar Tree store.
Your request has been heard. At present there are over 4000 requests, but we will send you your Bible as soon as we are able. Please be patient. We receive more requests in one day than we are able to fulfill in a week. The fact that so many people want to read God's word is very encouraging, but delivery is slow going. You will receive your Bible in time.
It should also be noted that, because of the demand, only as many as 2 Bibles are sent at one time, unless extenuating circumstances exist. Also, the Bibles we are offering at this time are English language, KJV Bibles and the print is small. Special requests will try to be fulfilled, but in many cases they cannot be. Do not despair; we will see what we can do.
Pss. For those in America, you should know that we buy our Bibles from The Dollar Tree stores and at dollartree.com. It is the inexpensive way to buy a Bible. We say this only because our list of requests is so long; it takes a long time for requests to be fulfilled. If you cannot wait, it is a way to get one quickly, for little money.
Pss. IT IS WITH REGRET THAT WE MUST INFORM YOU THAT, AS OF AUGUST 1 2009, WE HAVE EXCEEDED 5000 REQUESTS AND IT MAY TAKE UP TO 3 YEARS FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR BIBLE. SPECIAL NEEDS, SUCH AS ILLNESS AND THE LIKE, WILL TRY TO BE FULFILLED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, BUT FOR MOST, THE WAIT WILL BE A LONG ONE. WE ARE SORRY FOR THIS, BUT HAVE NO PHYSICAL WAY OF PREVENTING THE WAIT, AT THIS TIME. IT IS OUR DESIRE TO FULFILL EVERY REQUEST THOUGH. PATIENCE, IN THIS INSTANCE, WILL INDEED, BE A VIRTUE.
Jesus Christ man, why is this so friggin' hard? All I want is a free Bible. I don't want to buy it, I don't want to move to Africa to get it, and I certainly don't want to receive it in prison.
Isn't this enough to realize that the Bible, Christianity and Jesus are all man-made? Wouldn't the beautiful baby Jesus provide me with a free, over-nighted, postage-paid, LARGE PRINT Bible?