An atheist complained about Gideon Bibles inside his cabin at a Georgia state park and they were removed recently, according to an article in today’s Christian Post, Monday, May 20.
Somebody in the Georgia decisionmaking chain of command panicked and made the decision to remove the Bibles.
However, on Wednesday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal ordered the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to return every Bible to cabins at the state’s parks.
The Bibles were donated by the Gideons International, an interdenominational Christian association.
Governor Deal said, “Out of an abundance of caution to avoid potential litigation, the commissioner removed the Bibles from rooms……though they were still available on site…after a complaint from a visitor. The attorney general and I agree that the state is on firm legal footing as we move to return the Bibles to the rooms.”
Deal further said, “These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state, and I do not believe that a Bible in a beside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion. In fact, any group is free to donate literature.”
There is no other state in the United States where the placement of Gideon Bibles in state lodges has been challenged, according to Malcolm Arvin, a Gideon spokesman who spoke with Reuters.
The Gideons donate and place Bibles in hotels, motels, doctor’s offices, hospitals and with the military in addition to state lodges.
The Gideon Bibles are named after the organization based in Nashville, Tenn. which was founded in 1899. The Bibles are distributed free of charge in 194 countries and 94 languages.
No one may purchase a Gideon Bible. They are distributed free by the Christian businessman’s group.
The association was founded when two traveling businessmen shared a hotel room and realized they were both Christian believers. They decided it was a shame there were no Bibles in the room and decided it was a good idea to raise money for that puirpose.
The group opposing the Gideons right to place Bibles in Georgia known as the American Atheists of New Jersey, was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair in 1963.
She was later murdered by people who robbed her in Texas. For awhile she toured the TV talk show circuit discussing her beliefs and was a favorite of the Phil Donahue Show.
Ed Buchner, the former president of American Atheists, was the person who complained recently about finding Gideon Bibles in his room.
Gov. Deal met with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens before announcing all the Gideon Bibles would be returned to the state lodges.
Eric Metaxas, bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy has recently said secular forces in America are trying to limit Christian activities to churches much as the Nazis did in pre-World War II Germany under Hitler.
According to Metaxas biography of Bonhoeffer, Hitler’s attitude was to limit believers to activities within church walls. Metaxas observes parallels between pre-World War II Germany and modern America in attacks on Christian activities.
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