Bibles in Hotel Rooms: What Can We Do With Them? April 19, 2014

Bibles in Hotel Rooms: What Can We Do With Them?

I’m going on a five-day trip today, and there’s no doubt what I’ll find in the nightstands of the hotel rooms where I’ll be staying.

Just from a marketing point of view — that is, apart from the fact that I don’t believe in gods — it’s still amazing to me that hotels would provide, as a default, Bibles (or any choice of religious literature) to all of their guests. Where’s the sense in potentially irritating multitudes of customers who are Jews, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or agnostics?

The Gideons boast that

Research from the hotel industry tells us that approximately 25% of travelers read the Bibles in their hotel rooms.

So three-quarters of all guests have no use for the book whatsoever.

I’d have no problems if the hotel kept a big box of so-called Holy Books under the reception desk, free for the asking by religion-starved checker-inners. And that, to me, is as far as it should go.

Provenance Hotels, a small North American chain, has the right idea.

As a non-believer, I find an unsolicited Bible in a room I’m paying for… well, puzzling. Even a little irksome. As long as hotel management is spreading quasi-spiritual propaganda, why don’t they also put a crucifix and a nice print of the Ten Commandments on the wall (maybe alongside a portrait of L. Ron Hubbard, a photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, an aerial view of the Kaaba, and other religiously-tinted art)?

It’s all a bad idea, isn’t it?

Inspired by a Reddit discussion, I’m wiki’ing the question. I hope you’re with me when I say I’m not going to deep-six or deface any hotel Bibles (just as I’d like atheist literature to be left undisturbed). But what would be appropriate, funny, or poignant things to do with Gideon Bibles? Have an idea? Tell us.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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