The virulently anti-Christian Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is at it once again. What are these atheists so angry about this time?
Apparently, Gideon Bibles resting in hotel table drawers are just too much to bear for the self-proclaimed freethinkers, atheists, and agnostics at FFRF.
That’s right. They are trying to ban the Bible. After losing battle after battle in courts on claims based on clearly flawed constitutional analysis ranging from attacking “In God We Trust” and college football chaplains to the National Day of Prayer and cheerleaders’ spirit banners, they have now turned their targets toward Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms.
How did this latest battle begin? On October 15, 2015, FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor spoke at Northern Illinois University on the topic, “Women Without Superstition: No Gods – No Masters.”
While in town, Ms. Gaylor and her husband, FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, stayed at the Holmes Student Center Hotel in DeKalb, Illinois. They were shocked, horrified, and dismayed to discover a copy of the Bible – placed by a Christian group, the Gideons, in their hotel room. They unbelievably claimed to be “proselytized in the privacy of their own bedrooms.” Who knew a closed Bible’s mere presence qualified as proselytizing. Yet, they called the Bible “obnoxious” and claimed that the mere presence of the Bible in a state-run lodging was “inappropriate and unconstitutional.”
Once again, the FFRF seems to forget not only the meaning of the Constitution, but also the meaning of words such as “proselytizing.”
Five days later, FFRF sent a letter to Northern Illinois University (NIU), stating in part:
“Providing bibles to Holmes Student Center Hotel guests sends the message that NIU endorses the religious texts. Including bibles sends the message to non-Christian and non-religious guests that they should read the bible, and specifically the version of the bible provided: the Gideon Bible. Certainly, if guests want to read this religious text during their stay, they can bring their own copy or access any of the numerous churches or libraries near the university.”
No one is making any guest open the Bible. No one is making them read it. In fact, the university is not “providing bibles;” it is allowing a Christian group to place literature, the Bible, in hotel rooms much like a pizzeria may leave coupons. I’ve been arguing religious speech cases just like this one for decades at the Supreme Court. The university is free to allow religious texts to be placed just as it is permitted to allow other literature to be placed in its hotel rooms. It can allow all or none.
FFRF is simply wrong on the law.
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