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Hotel Room Bibles A Thing of the Past?

Hotel Room Bibles A Thing of the Past?

Kerby Anderson

April 23, 2008



            Visitors to a hotel in Tennessee won't find a Bible in their nightstand. It appears that the long standing tradition of placing a Bible in a hotel room may be coming to an end, at least in this hotel.


            Instead, hotel guests will have to call room service in order to get a Bible. And they will be given the option of ordering from a "spiritual menu." They can order a Bible, a Book of Mormon, the Qur'an, or even books on Scientology. The public relations director says: "Our guests come from different places and they definitely come from different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, so we want everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable."


            The hotel (whose hotel chain is based in Oregon) has decided to break away from the tradition of allowing the Gideons to place a Bible in each room. They want to offer a variety of spiritual options to travelers who are not Christians and may be looking to learn about different faith traditions.


            People in the hotel industry don't know if this is a coming trend or an isolated example of a hotel recognizing the pluralism of our society. I suspect that it will become a trend unless Christians express their opinions. Perhaps Gideon International will make a statement.


            I might mention that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Gideon Bible placement in hotels. Just last year alone, the Gideons distributed more than 1.1 million Bibles in the United States. They also distributed another 700,000 around the world. Most of these Bibles were placed in hotels and motels.


            I think it is interesting that when the Gideons first tried to place Bibles in hotels, the hotel owners had to be convinced of the value in having the Bible in each room. Now placing a Bible in a hotel room is almost automatic. But this recent decision by this hotel to alter the practice might be the beginning of a different philosophy concerning Bible placement.


            I don't know about you, but I would be sad to see God's word removed from hotel rooms. I'm Kerby Anderson, and that's my point of view.