More than a half a million students in the United States are expected to take part in this year’s “Bring your Bible to School day” observance.
Launched by the socially conservative group Focus on the Family in 2014, the event will take place on Thursday and is centered on students sharing their Christian faith with peers.
In a statement released Sept. 19, the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based group estimated that more than 500,000 students will participate this year.
“The annual student-led event, now in its sixth year, provides a unique opportunity for young people to share about their faith by highlighting its source — the Bible,” Focus on the Family said.
“Throughout the day, children and teens will share their experiences via social media using the hashtag #BringYourBible.”
According to the group, this year’s observance will contrast with past years in that they are presenting participating students with “monthly challenges” that will involve “specific, tangible actions they can take to live out their faith at school and in the community throughout the year.”
The group is also partnering with the Alliance Defending Freedom to offer free legal representation to any student who might be challenged by school officials for their involvement.
One of the celebrity promoters for “Bring your Bible to school day” was New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who appeared in a video promoting this year’s observance.
Titled “Shout Out From Drew Brees,” the short video featured Brees encouraging students to take part in the observance and explaining his favorite verse of the Bible: Second Corinthians 5:7, which reads: “For we live by faith not by sight.”
“So I want to encourage you to live out your faith on ‘Bring your Bible to School Day’ and share God’s love with friends,” said Brees in the video. “You’re not alone.”
Brees' involvement was not without controversy, as the New Orleans-based liberal publication Big Easy Magazine criticized the NFL player for associating with the conservative Christian organization due to its stance on LGBT issues.
Big Easy Magazine launched the Twitter hashtag #SaintsDontHate and was joined by progressive entities such as The Advocate, Queerty, and Patheos' “Friendly Atheist” blog.
“Brees didn’t just film a commercial urging kids to bring their bibles to school. He filmed an ad for one of the most vehemently anti-LGBTQ organizations in the country,” Hemant Mehta, of the Friendly Atheist blog, claimed.
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly expressed gratitude for Brees’ involvement in a statement provided to The Christian Post last month.
“We have deep respect for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and appreciate him encouraging students to ‘live out’ [their] faith on ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’ and share God’s love with friends,” Daly said.