The decision by one of Britain’s largest hotel chains to remove Bibles from its rooms has sparked complaints from Christians.
Travelodge, which operates 500 hotels, says the Bibles were removed for “diversity reasons,” citing the country’s increasing multicultural influences, the Daily Mail reported. The chain reportedly said that despite the recent uproar, the decision to remove the Bibles was made in 2007.
The company said in a statement that the move was designed so as “not to discriminate against any religion.” Now the Bibles, supplied by the Gideon Society, are available at the reception desks for guests to borrow.
According to the Daily Mail, a receptionist at a Travelodge branch in London could not find a copy of the Bible when one was recently requested, and suggested instead to use the hotel’s free Wifi to “Google it and read it online.”
The employee was forced to call his manager when pressed to find a hard copy of the Bible and was told that there were no Bibles in the hotel since a renovation done last year.
Travelodge is the first national hotel chain to remove Bibles, according to the report. In 2012, one independent hotel replaced Bibles with the best-seller, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The Church of England is not happy with the hotel’s policy. “[It is] both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design, economic incentive or a spurious definition of the word ‘diversity.’ ” the Church said in a statement.
Tim Stanley, a U.S. historian, makes the point that no one ever lodged a complaint to Travelodge about the hotel room Bibles, and says in an op-ed for the Telegraph, “It’s an act of cultural vandalism upon a tradition that goes back 126 years.”