FFRF Urges Hotel Companies to Remove Bible from Rooms
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Regardless of what hotel you're checking into, there's a good chance you'll find a copy of the Bible inside the nightstand drawer.
But one group is out to change that.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a non-profit organization based in Wisconsin, has issued letters to a handful of hotel companies urging them to offer bible-free rooms the same way they offer smoke-free rooms.
Wyndham Worldwide, Intercontinental Hotel Groups, Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, G6 Hospitality, Marriott International, Best Western, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts were among the 15 companies contacted by FFRF.
Together, the companies combine to operate 33,000 hotels in the U.S. and more than 4.1 million rooms internationally, the FFRA said.
In the letter, FFRF co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker write that "it's simply bad business to promote divisive religious teachings to a diverse clientele."
"Many of your guests are freethinkers — atheists, agnostics, skeptics or Nones — who are offended to be charged high fees only to be proselytized in the privacy of their own bedrooms, to be told, for instance, that they are “fools” who can do no good (Psalm 14:1)," added the group.
Citing data from the Pew Research Center, the organization defends its stance by noting that "'Nones,' those who have no religion, are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population based on religious identification" and that "about 70 percent of international guests are not Christian."
In the letter, Gaylor and Barker go on to encourage the companies to remove the bible, pointing out other hotels and brands that have done so. "Please join the growing number of other inclusive hotels — which include boutique hotels, Soho Grand Hotel, New York’s Mercer Hotel, Kimpton Hotels — that have stopped serving as a conduit for Protestant missionaries," wrote Gaylor and Barker.
"Travelodge Hotels laudably removed bibles from more than 500 hotels last August 'in order not to discriminate against any religion.'"
As a potential compromise, the FFRF recommends that hotel companies "offer a list of local (including secular) resources" that can be made available to guests upon request.
In addition to calling on major hotel companies to make changes, the group was critical of Gideon International, an evangelical Christian association that works to provide bibles for hotel rooms.
"It’s time that the lodging industry just says NO to the Gideons," write Gaylor and Barker. "The Gideon Society is exploiting hotels and motels to proselytize a captive audience."
As the FFRF pointed out in its letter, Kimpton Hotels, the largest chain of boutique hotels in the U.S., does not feature Bibles in its rooms. It remains to be seen if other chains follow suit.
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