Should Copies of the Bible Be Removed From Hotel Rooms?
C opies of the Bible have been removed from the rooms of greater than 500 Travelodge hotel properties throughout the United Kingdom because having a Christian book does not reflect Britain’s “multicultural society” despite not receiving any complaints from guests about this practice, according to an article written by Jessica Elgot of The Huffington Post UK.
Guests who want to read a copy of the Bible may request a copy at the front desk.
“The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through sharing personally and by providing Bibles and New Testaments”, according to its official Internet web site. “While we are known worldwide for our work with hotels, we predominantly share Scriptures in schools and colleges, prisons and jails, hospitals, and medical offices. To date, we have placed 1.9 billion Scriptures and are on our way to 2 billion with your support.”
Well, this Travelodge story presents a minor setback to that goal, doesn’t it?
Although the city is better known for its vaunted and historic music industry, the printing of religious materials is a major industry in Nashville — and it is also the home of the headquarters of The Gideons International, which was founded on July 1, 1899.
“Each Bible placed in a hotel room has the potential to reach up to 2,300 people in its estimated six-year life span”, according to the section of its Internet web site which answers frequently asked questions. “Research from the hotel industry tells us that approximately 25% of travelers read the Bibles in their hotel rooms.”
According to this article written by Matt Soniak of Mental Floss, “The Gideons don’t go room to room themselves, slipping the books in nightstands like Bible elves. When a hotel opens, local Gideons members will present a Bible to the hotel’s general manager in a small ceremony and then give enough books for each room and some extras to the housekeeping staff for distribution. In addition to hotel rooms, the Gideons also give Bibles to military bases, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and to students on college campuses. Each Bible handed out is free of charge, and the project is funded entirely by donations to the group.”
I personally have never heard of the legend that “money is sometimes left in Gideon Bibles by Christians looking to reward the next tortured soul who turns to the Good Book for solace.” Have you?
At this time, I had not found out just how much money the Herculean effort of supplying copies of the Bible to hotel rooms alone costs — but I suppose that is not relevant.
I do find it ever so slightly ironic that the country in which the copies of the Bible is the same one from which The Beatles came — and one of their many songs is a little ditty from 1968 called Rocky Raccoon, from which this lyric is derived:
And now Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon’s bible
Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
To help with good Rocky’s revival, ah
Personally, I have never been offended about finding a copy of the Bible in the nightstand drawer in any hotel room at which I have ever stayed; so it would stand to reason that I am not against them having them supplied in hotel rooms.
In fact, that nightstand drawer would look pretty empty without a copy of the Bible. Due to technology, I have noticed that copies of traditional telephone books have been slowly disappearing from hotel rooms. That should save a forest full of trees…
…but I digress. While I attempt in vain to get the song Rocky Raccoon out of my head, please comment on whether or not you believe that copies of the Bible should be removed from hotel rooms…