MADISON, Wisc. — A professing atheist group known for its activism has sent a letter to hotel chains nationwide, requesting that it make available “Bible-free” rooms for those who do not wish to have a copy of the Scriptures in their room during their stay.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently wrote to 15 hotel chains to make the request, including Wyndham Worldwide, Marriott International, Best Western, the owners of Holiday Inn, Quality Inn, Hilton Worldwide and Motel 6, and the owner of Radisson, Carlson and Country Inn.
“It’s time that the lodging industry just says NO to the Gideons,” the letter reads. “The Gideon Society is exploiting hotels and motels to proselytize a captive audience.”
It asserts that the Bible is also a bad read for guests.
“The Bible actually makes gruesome bedtime reading,” the correspondence states. “Millions of men, women and children have been harmed by Bible teachings and primitive beliefs in ever-lasting torment, original sin, human sacrifice, lethal or self mutilating ‘tests of faith,’ and religious bigotry.”
“The Bible calls for stoning to death gays, for corporal punishment of children and preaches women’s inferiority and submissiveness,” it said.
FFRF suggested that the hotel chains remove the Bibles from the rooms, but make them available for any that might request a copy. It also recommended that a list of resources be provided for those in crisis. In its press release issue this week, FFRF said that it would prefer Darwin’s “Origin of Species” in the rooms.
“Those who must read the Bible every day will surely take precautions to travel with their own copies,” the group wrote in its plea. “The rest of us deserve a break from mindless evangelizing when we are on vacation.”
Gideons International was founded in 1899 in Janesville, Wisconsin, and first began distributing Bibles in 1908.
“In view of the fact that almost all of the Gideons in the early years of the association were traveling men, the question quite naturally arose regarding how they might be more effective witnesses in the hotels where they spent so much of their time,” the organization explains of its history on its website. “One trustee went so far as to suggest that the Gideons furnish a Bible for each bedroom of the hotels in the United States.”
Gideons International now is active in 190 countries worldwide, and has printed Bibles in over 90 languages.
“Through God’s grace and to His Glory, more than 1.9 billion Bibles and New Testaments have been placed through our association, and the work continues,” the group says.