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Bibles are back in the nightstand drawers

Bibles are back in the nightstand drawers

Religion News Service notes that the Navy has decided to put New Testaments and Psalms back in nightstand drawers after removing the due to complaints about preferential treatment for Christians:

Gideon member distributing scripture in motel room.jpgIn June, the U.S. Navy ordered housekeepers at thousands of Navy-owned guest lodges near U.S. and international bases to remove the Bibles and any other “religious materials” from their rooms. Scriptures would remain available on request.

But public outcry, prompted this week by a social media alert from the American Family Association and protests by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, led the brass to reverse course Friday (Aug. 15).

Gideon member distributing scripture in motel room” by Delfeye at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Innotata using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


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George Clifford

DOD yielding to pressure from right wing groups such as the American Family Association and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is sad but also unsurprising. When I stay in military facilities (or elsewhere, for that matter), I don’t want useless stuff in the drawers. As a military, I stopped accepting Bibles and Testaments from the Gideons because I could not give the items away. People do not want to read the King James Version; most cannot begin to understand it.

To be equitable, a room that comes equipped with the Gideon Bible or Testament should also have a Book of Mormon, the Teachings of the Buddha, etc. Some rooms in which I have stayed have actually had several religious books; while I appreciate the attempt to support religious freedom and pluralism, I would have preferred to have no materials in the room. Space is often at a premium and if I were in transit between duty stations or staying for more than a couple of nights did not appreciate unwanted items cluttering up my limited space.

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