Publicly supported hotel rooms at Thunderbolt Executive Inn in Glendale, Ariz., are now bible free, thanks to a request from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
FFRF, a state/church watchdog with 24,000 members, contacted the Thunderbird School of Global Management after receiving a consumer complaint. The school became a unit of Arizona State University last year.
“State-run colleges have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion,” wrote FFRF Legal Fellow Madeline Ziegler.
Ziegler noted that the mission of the Gideon Society is to “win the lost for Christ.” Distributing Gideon bibles, which are Christian, inappropriately sends an unconstitutional message of endorsement of one religion’s so-called “holy book” over others, and of religion over nonreligion.
“Anyone zealous enough to need the bible as bedtime reading will travel with one,” noted FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The rest of us paying guests seek a vacation from proselytizing when we’re on vacation. What is offensive at private hotels and motels, however, becomes unconstitutional at public-supported rooms.”
Gaylor welcomed the college’s prompt response.
Northern Illinois University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pennsylvania State University, Portland State University and the University of Iowa also have removed bibles from their public-supported hotel rooms in recent years after FFRF contacted them to express concerns by patrons and students.
FFRF has nearly 600 members in Arizona.