Georgia Governor Orders Bibles Returned to State Parks Following Removal Over Atheist Complaint

BibleAtlanta, Georgia — The governor of Georgia has ordered that Bibles recently removed from lodges at government parks throughout the state be returned, reports state.

Republican Governor Nathan Deal issued the order after the Georgia Department of Natural Resources removed the Bibles following an atheist complaint about their presence.

Ed Buchner, 67, the former leader of the organization American Atheists, expressed his disapproval last month after finding a Gideon’s Bible in a cabin at one of the state parks. He said that he believed the Bibles violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

“Out of an abundance of caution to avoid potential litigation, the commissioner removed the Bibles from the rooms – though they were still available on site – after a complaint from a visitor,” explained Deal.

However, the governor states that both he and the state Attorney General, Sam Olems, believe that the Bibles stand on “firm legal footing.”

“These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state, and I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion,” he said. “In fact, any group is free to donate literature.”

But Buckner disagrees and states that he may take legal action against the state.

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“I can very much imagine this turning into a lawsuit,” he said. “It’s outrageous that anybody thinks this is acceptable.”

However, the removal of the Bibles also sparked outrage from those who supported their presence.

“I think that they should be left there,” resident Jamie Knight told local television station WAGA. “If someone chooses to read the Bible then that is their right. If they don’t believe in God, then they don’t have to look at a Bible.”

The Bibles had been distributed by Gideon’s International, an organization headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Gideon’s International has given away nearly two million Bibles around the world over the past one hundred years.

The American Bible Society, a ministry similar to Gideon’s International, states that a number of the nation’s Founding Fathers worked to distribute Bibles to the American people. The organization was led by several historical founders in its early years.

“ABS’ early leadership reads like a Who’s Who of patriots. Our first president was Elias Boudinot, former president of the Continental Congress. John Jay, John Quincy Adams, DeWitt Clinton and James Fennimore Cooper also played significant roles, as did Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and Francis Scott Key,” the organization’s website outlines. “Since those early days, American Bible Society has worked closely with organizations to reach people in the United States and around the world who might otherwise not have access to a Bible.”

The American Bible Society, located in New York City, began its Bible distribution in 1817, as it donated 300 Bibles to the Steuben County Bible Society in Bath, New York.

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  • Mike

    They would never allow Korans to be placed in those lodge rooms. That very fact would show that they are promoting Christianity as the state religion!

    • Michael Sawyer

      “They would never”? And you know this, how? You speak as one with prophetic vision.
      I am all in favor of a copy of ALL “holy” writings be made available
      The truth of Scripture will ultimately overcome the lies of men.

  • George

    I travel for business and know for a fact that there are Korans (found one in a lodge in New Hampshire), Book of Morman (found in lodge in Colorodo), and Holy Bibles placed in many lodgings all around the country. Bottom line, there is nothing promoting one religion when the Old Testament can be used for Judaism, and the New Testament lends to many different religions including all types of so called Christianity. In a court of law this case would never hold water due to this fact it is not holding forth one religion as true. Most people don’t realize this because they are full of opinion and no facts, and as we all know facts are stubborn things.

  • Tracye L. Davis

    As a resident of a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, I would like to voice a complaint of my displeasure and inconvenience of the Holy Bible Not being readily available to me in places of lodging in the State of Georgia. As a Born-Again Believer, I have a right to enjoyment of this historic, yet prudent for today, piece of GOD-breathed literature! As a person with disabilities, I am not able, nor should I have to, search “high and low” for a copy of these Scriptures because One Person is offended by his CREATOR.