College Hotel Now ‘Bible Free’ After Atheist Complaint

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An atheist activist organization, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, is celebrating their success at getting all the Bibles removed from guest rooms at a hotel which recently became part of the Arizona State University.

According to the initial letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in March 2016, an employee of the hotel (not an offended customer) alerted the atheist organization to the fact that Gideon Bibles were still placed in the guest rooms at the Thunderbird Executive Inn, even after it became affiliated with the public university.

FFRF said this is an illegal endorsement of Christianity over other religions, and allowing the Bibles to be placed in the guest rooms sends the message that the university expects guests to read the Bible.  They said if any guest wants to read the Bible, they can bring their own copy or get one from a local church or library.  FFRF said in their letter that the Bibles in the guest rooms send a message to “non-adherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.”

A press release from the group dated August 16, 2016, praises the hotel for removing the offensive Bibles:

Publicly supported hotel rooms at Thunderbird Executive Inn in Glendale, Ariz., are now bible free, thanks to a request from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

FFRF, a state/church watchdog with 24,000 members, contacted the Thunderbird School of Global Management after receiving a consumer complaint. The school became a unit of Arizona State University last year.

“State-run colleges have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion,” wrote FFRF Legal Fellow Madeline Ziegler.

Ziegler noted that the mission of the Gideon Society is to “win the lost for Christ.” Distributing Gideon bibles, which are Christian, inappropriately sends an unconstitutional message of endorsement of one religion’s so-called “holy book” over others, and of religion over nonreligion.

“Anyone zealous enough to need the bible as bedtime reading will travel with one,” noted FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The rest of us paying guests seek a vacation from proselytizing when we’re on vacation. What is offensive at private hotels and motels, however, becomes unconstitutional at public-supported rooms.”

 

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