State university removes Bibles from its hotel rooms

The Gideon Bible, long a mainstay in hotel rooms across America, will no longer be found in rooms at the Iowa State University Memorial Union Hotel.

Because of a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the holy books will only be found in the hotel’s  browsing library come March 1, the Des Moines Register reported Friday.

“If a state-run university has a policy of providing a Christian religious text to guests, that policy facilitates illegal endorsement of Christianity over other religions and over nonreligion,” foundation attorney Patrick Elliot wrote in a letter to Richard Reynolds, director of the university-owned, 52-room Memorial Union Hotel.

John McCarroll, director of university relations, said that in moving the bibles, the university “is trying to be respectful of individuals who may have differing opinions on this.”

The watchdog group won a similar effort in 2013, when bibles were removed from rooms at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 “We’re delighted to see reason and the Constitution prevailing,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation’s co-president. “We can all sleep easier knowing secularism is being honored at our public universities.”

Or as Founding Father John Adams put it, “Thanks to God that he gave me the stubbornness when I know I am right.”

Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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