Are The Days Of A Bible In Every Hotel Room Coming To An End?


The tradition of offering Bibles in hotel rooms could be in decline as increasing numbers of guests access spiritual literature via apps on their phones. 

Even until recently, most hotels in the West would have a Bible in their guest rooms, distributed free by Gideons International since 1908.

More than 80 million Bibles are still distributed annually by Gideons and demand is growing in areas such as South America and Asia, not just in hotels but in schools and prisons as well.

Yet fewer than half of US hotels have Bibles in their room, according to new research, the Daily Mail reports

At the same time, nine in 10 hotel rooms offer high definition or flat-screen televisions and more than eight in 10 offer free gyms to work out in.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association and hotel research firm STR surveyed 8,000 hotel managers.

Marriott International is among hotel chains deciding to restrict distribution of Bibles.

A spokesperson for the company told the Los Angeles Times that Bibles did not fit the "personality" of the Moxy and Edition hotel brands, aimed at millennials.

However, President-Elect Donald Trump's new Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC includes a Gideon Bible in the nightstand in every room.

The Washington Post reorts that a note left with the Bible says: "If you would like to continue your spiritual journey, we also offer the followings: Talmud. Quran. Gita. Avesta. Tripitaka (Pali Canon). Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Book of Mormon. Kindly contact Housekeeping should you wish to have one delivered to your room."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which lobbies to maintain separation of church and state, wrote to 15 major hotel companies last year, asking them to keep Bibles out of hotel rooms.

Jeff Pack, of Gideon International, told the Los Angeles Times that he is not sure why there is an apparent decline in  religious material in hotel rooms because there has been no fall in the distribution of Gideon Bibles. "The decline of religious materials in hotels, as cited in the survey, is reflective of increasing secularism and independence in the world. This has resulted in an erosion of spiritual awareness," he said.

Two years ago in Britain, Travelodge removed Bibles from hotel rooms to avoid discriminating against any particular religion. Guests can still borrow them from front desks on request.