Offended?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

There's something that I've never understood and still boggles my mind. Why do hotels still have Bibles in the nightstands? I can understand why it was "back in the day," but this is 2006. In an era where people are crying "discrimination" at every turn and suing everyone, how is it that hotels can get away with this? For a while, I thought it was just the low-end, quarter-star hotels in the middle of nowhere that were still doing it, but today I found out that my hotel does it as well- and we are a pretty decent, somewhat pricey property in Tyson's. I was shocked. And, quite frankly, slightly offended. I think I've mentioned before that I am offended by anyone pushing religion on me, and I am not even Muslim and only part Jewish. So I think I would be even more offended if I was Muslim or Jewish (or any other religion- besides Christian).
And the thing is- not a single person at my hotel can give me a legitimate reason for this (other than "it's tradition"). We are a relatively progressive company and strive to make everyone comfortable. So why would we have something in the room that makes a large number of people so uncomfortable?
So my question to all of you is- are you offended by it?

31 comments:

White Dade 8/31/2006 03:47:00 PM  

As a card-carrying Jew, no I am not offended. bacasue noone is forcing me to read it and I actually have to look to find it. And some people need some inspiration while on the road.

Kathryn Is So Over 8/31/2006 03:49:00 PM  

I'm not offended, but I'm Christian and rarely use hotel room drawers, so I almost never see them.

I do love the scene in European Vacation when Clark falls off the bed, his wife comes in to see him on the floor and says, "What are you doing?" And he goes, "....ah... just... looking for the Bible! Here it is!"

Cody 8/31/2006 06:11:00 PM  

The bibles are there because a christian group called the gideons asks the hotel if they can put bibles in the rooms. Most hotels will let them.

I-66 8/31/2006 06:36:00 PM  

I'm not offended. Then again, I'd characterize myself as agnostic and haven't been in any church for something that doesn't involve a wedding for more than 8 years.

I'd probably be a little offended if it was open and sitting on the bed upon my arrival as if suggesting that I should read it. I figure anyone who is so religiously devout that they're going to be reading their book of choice on their travels probably has their own copy on hand - whatever it is.

David in DC,  8/31/2006 06:44:00 PM  

I'm Vice President of my synagogue and I'm not offended. Half of the stuff in there is my Bible too.

(The half that Christians call the Old Testament and Jews and bible scholars tend to call the Hebrew Scriptures so as not to suggest that the "New" Testament supplants the "Old".

The equivalent PC term for the "New Testament" is, not unreasonably, the "Christian Scriptures").

The Gideons' purpose is clearly evangelical, but it's hard to fault them. As WD says, some people need inspiration while on the road.

As for Muslims being offended, I think their attitude, traditionally, about the Qu'ran would leave them offended if some version of it WAS distributed widely in what they would view as an Infidel setting.

I dunno how Mormons might feel about the Book of Mormon not being included. Nor Zoroastrians, Druze or Bahai.

The Church of Scientology routinely sues folks under copyright law for distributing their holiest writings. But whaddya expect from a religion founded by a science fiction writer who'd earlier remarked that the quickest way to get ruich in America would be to found a religion. (L.Ron Hubbard)

But the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have a lot of consolation and inspiration in them, even if you don't buy that part or all of them were divinely inspired.

"Travel" and "travail" come from the same root. It's hard to be on the road. If the Gideons Bible offers some solace, I think it's cool.

Besides what would Rocky Raccoon have had to read in the Beatles' song if the Gideons' Bible weren't there.

Andy 8/31/2006 07:17:00 PM  

I barely even notice those things are there. Quite frankly Ash, I'm a little disappointed at what is coming off as hyper-sensitivity to the whole thing. No one is forcing anyone to read it, and it's not even in plain sight. I could see if you had to recite a Psalm to get into your room, but Jesus shouldn't bother anyone from the back of an empty drawer.

The Husband 8/31/2006 08:00:00 PM  

3 things

1- do you work at the Ritz in tysons?
2- thanks for stopping by my blog
3- i'm not offended at all by a bible in a hotel (and i'm catholic). i don't feel as if they are pushing religion on me. however, like you said, in this day an age when everyone is suing for ridiculous reasons, i'm suprised they still have them in the rooms.

Rachel 8/31/2006 09:30:00 PM  

I am not offended at all by a bible being in the room. I don't usually read it, but if you are really bored and can't get to sleep "Numbers" is a great book to read since it is basically all math.
Plus if you need firm to write on while in bed it is handy in a pinch. (not writing ON the bible, but on a piece of paper that is covering the bible)

Montezuma's Revenge 8/31/2006 11:01:00 PM  

NIA: When you come visit me in NYC would you like a nice memosa with fresh squeezed OJ and some fresh sliced fruit for breakfast in bed or coffee with eggs over easy and blueberry waffles?

rod 9/01/2006 12:03:00 AM  

I think most people who complain aren't offended, but simply pissed off. It works both ways, Christians get pissed and call it offended.

mgc 9/01/2006 12:53:00 AM  

i like the Bible and beer! i've` had too much beeer!

Nightmare 9/01/2006 07:13:00 AM  

I put little stickers in the bibles I find in Hotel rooms. They say things like;
"Parental Advisory..For entertainment purposes only. Descriptions of origins, promises of eternal life and answered prayersect. should not be taken literally"

or;

"Disclaimer; Contents may conflict with reality"

AlienCG 9/01/2006 07:23:00 AM  

I've stayed in plenty of hotels throughout my working life and I never even notice the bible. I did decide early in my travels to look to see if that tradition was still going. Sure enough, in the nightstand, there was a bible.

Ashburnite 9/01/2006 08:23:00 AM  

wd- good point.

kathryn- love that scene. love that movie!

cody- I'm just wondering why hotels still let them tho.

66- I'd say I'm agnostic as well. I just don't like opening the nightstand drawer to get the yellow pages and seeing the bible sitting there on top.

david- as always, awesome answer.

andy- you're probably right..I'm probably just being hyper-sensitive about it.

Ashburnite 9/01/2006 08:28:00 AM  

cs- 1. nope; 2. you're welcome; 3. yeah, it's not so much that I'm offended for myself, I just tend to think that it would offend some people.

rachel- haha...I never thought of it as something firm to write on, but I'll remember that.

mr- didn't realize I invited to visit you, but a memosa and fruit sound great.

rod- good point.

mgc- haha....sounds like someone's been drinking :-) miss you, love.

nightmare- HAHA!! I'll have to rememeber that!

acg- and were you as suprised as I was?

Tara 9/01/2006 08:54:00 AM  

Someone joked that it was to make people feel guilty for stealing the hotel goodies like mini shampoos and such. It doesn't offend me to see it there, but I don't really think much about it anyway.

minijonb 9/01/2006 09:20:00 AM  

that comment from nightmare made me laugh out loud.

i'm not sure anyone could sue about this... at least not in the 1st Amendment sense, since a hotel is not a public, government or educational setting.

i'm a Jew who's not offended by it. sure, when i was a kid i wondered about the same things you mentioned, but i moved on... too much other stuff to get offended by in this world.

Kirsten 9/01/2006 09:31:00 AM  

Like you, I hate religion being forced down my thought..I find it something very personal, and something I do on my own, without someone preaching at me...LOL...But, as for the bibles, I never really thought about it, so I don't think it ever offended me...anyways..I hope you have a great day...take care
Kirsten

David in DC,  9/01/2006 12:21:00 PM  

Typo of the week:

"... I hate religion being forced down my thought..."

amera hearts 9/01/2006 12:48:00 PM  

i'm not offended that there are Bibles in hotels.

the best thing about life is free agencie. you choose what you do and so you can choose to not read the Bible.

Kirsten 9/01/2006 07:14:00 PM  

nice....sorry about the typo...geez...

KassyK 9/01/2006 11:56:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KassyK 9/01/2006 11:57:00 PM  

I am going to step in here and say that I am offended by it but there are so many things I am offended by as a Jewish person in a Christian world that its impossible to pick the Bible in a hotel as a big one. AND since I consider myself Agnostic--I choose not to open the drawer or even think about it being there.

Great post. :-)

nicole 9/02/2006 11:45:00 AM  

Not at all offended since I still read that book every Sunday. ;) But you're right, I'm shocked that hotels are willing to take a chance on a lawsuit of any kind.

Hops 9/02/2006 05:01:00 PM  

Those Gideons really do cover a lot of ground. Like every hotel room has a bible in it.

They even come to my college and give out pocket-sized versions. I have about a dozen and I use them as coasters.

They're very handy.

Dave,  9/02/2006 05:20:00 PM  

I'm jewish and look at it like a bathing cap...a convenience for some that I'll never use...

Montezuma's Revenge 9/03/2006 03:55:00 AM  

NIA - of course you're invited, that's why I'm asking what you would like for breakfast in bed...

NotCarrie 9/03/2006 10:32:00 AM  

It would be nice and considerate for the hotel to have other religious books on hand as well, maybe. The Bible there doesn't offend me and I usually don't even give it a second thought. I would be offended if I saw it messed up or something from a previous guest. That would make me sad to see.

Ashburnite 9/04/2006 06:53:00 PM  

tara- hey...maybe that's why they still have them in rooms.

mjb- "but i moved on" great, thanks for making me feel dumb for dwelling on it :-)

kirsten- yeah, I don't care what someone's beliefs are, as long as they don't try to shove them down my throat.

david/kirsten- eh, it happens.

amera- true.

kassy- thanks, hun :-)

nicole- I agree. whether you read it or not, it's hard not to be suprised about it being in hotel rooms.

jh- haha! coasters? see- college does teach you some things- how to make use of random stuff.

dave- good point. and very nice comparison.

mr- thanks, but you don't even know me- I could be some psycho ;-)

notcarrie- I think they should just have a few copies (along with other religious texts) available at the front desk.

minijonb 9/05/2006 09:39:00 AM  

"but i moved on" ... i think of everything in terms of "moving on" from my ongoing divorce.

... "i didn't like what i had for lunch today... but i've moved on"

=:-)

Ricardo 9/07/2006 01:31:00 PM  

Ummm....not sure why but it does seem a bit old fashioned. Not offended by it unless a bell hop or something throws one at my head.

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