Gideon Bibles used to be a mainstay in hotel rooms. Starting in 1908 with the Bible Project, Gideons made it their goal to get a Bible in every hotel room in the US as a gracious act. Since then, more than 1.8 billion Bibles written in over 90 different languages have been placed in hotels around the world. The project was so successful that other religions started providing the Book of Mormon or the Koran, and many hotels started providing their own Bibles.
Recently though, hotels have increasingly been careful not to offend Buddhists or any other guests with differing religious beliefs, and back in 2014 Travelodge removed all Bibles from their UK properties, citing the need to avoid discriminating against those with different religious beliefs. They still kept a Bible at the front desk though, that guests could borrow.
According to studies pre-2013, 25% of people still read the Bible in their hotel room. I myself have only thumbed through the hotel bibles once or twice in all the years I’ve stayed at hotels, but have come to know it as a familiar item in the room, tucked away in the bedside drawer.
There are now reportedly less than half of all hotel rooms in the US that currently have Bibles in them.
The Los Angeles Times reported late last week that Marriott hotels will no longer offer religious materials at their Moxy or Edition hotels. Initially, the decision also included AC Hotels and Protea, but only Moxy and Edition stuck as they were the Millennial focused brands.
The LA Times quotes a Marriott spokesperson as saying that the religious books don’t fit the “personality” of the fun-loving Millennial hotels –
Of course, there is also pressure from atheist groups, a logistics issue where there may not be standard bedside table drawers, and a trend towards sensitivity to avoid offending anyone.
Other Marriott branded hotels will continue to offer Bibles and the Book of Mormon for now.
Hat Tip: LoyaltyLobby)