The New Zealand department of conservation maintains a network of huts in the backcountry — these are little shelters with a radio for emergency calls and a mattress so hikers can wait out a spell of bad weather. It’s all very sensible. Until the evangelicals discovered them. Now there’s a missionary campaign to put a bible in every one of them, too, since, as the founder of this plan says, “I realised then this was a captive audience.”
I think I’m going to have to move to New Zealand now. The response by hikers to this effort is classic pragmatism. They think it is a fine idea.
“Given the option of a ropey old Reader’s Digest I would rather use a page from a Bible to start a fire.”
Notice how polite he was to avoid mentioning the other use in which the tissue-thin pages of the bible are superior to the thick glossy sheets of Reader’s Digest.