Rocky Raccoon and Gideon’s Bible

It’s an official trend: upscale hotels are removing their in-room Bibles, often replacing them with “intimacy kits” containing condoms.

The American Family Association, noting that the number of luxury hotels with in-room Bibles has dropped 18% since 2001, is predictably outraged: “Without action now, it is simply a matter of time before other chains remove the Bibles.”

And the problem with that is…what?

The AFA press release is just the latest reminder by the religious-industrial complex: organized religion deserves special privileges everywhere. Why a religious text in every hotel room? And why a Christian one? As the Sofitel chain explains, they’re removing Bibles because guests are asking for other religious texts. This threatens to dwarf the whole smoking/non-smoking room thing; “will that be a Bible room, Koran room, Book of Mormon room?” Knowing the sex habits of many tired travelers, perhaps hotels should offer the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Of course, it’s exactly the AFA and their fellows (Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, etc.) who demand that hotels eliminate pay-per-view in-room porn. They say people just can’t ignore the stuff, which apparently leads viewers to rape, murder, and pillage.

Of course, many people are offended by finding an unwanted Christian Bible in their hotel room. They are supposed to just ignore it and celebrate America’s religious diversity, while anti-porn crusaders can’t imagine anyone just ignoring the in-room porn that a person has to pay for. What hypocrites. What a disgusting, patronizing view of human beings these “decency” groups have.

I guess atheists’ ability to resist the sex and violence in the Bible (for free) is better than the sex-o-phobes’ ability to resist it on-screen (for ten bucks).

Suggestion: keep the Bible (and dozens of other religious texts) in hotel rooms, but charge for them, like hotels do for porn or diet coke. And as with porn and diet coke, people can bring their own; pay for them; or do without. This would put the Good Book on a level playing field with the Good Orgasm.

In case you’re interested, this week marked the 99th anniversary of Gideons International placing their first Bible in a hotel room. For all their effort, I don’t notice the world becoming a better place, although hotel rooms have gotten much better.

Anyway, why regret replacing Bibles with condoms? Despite their claims, Bibles are obviously not preventing unwanted pregnancies. Condoms do. And we all want that, right?


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