A Bible. (CC/Trounce)
After a complaint that their presence violates the Constitution, Wisconsin’s public university system has removed all copies of the Gideon Bible from guest rooms at a campus conference center.
The University of Wisconsin-Extension removed 137 copies of the book from the Lowell Center after receiving a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in early November.
“Permitting members of outside religious groups the privilege of placing their religious literature in public university guest rooms constitutes state endorsement and advancement of these Christian publications,” FFRF attorney Patrick Elliot wrote in a complaint letter.
UW-Extension chancellor Ray Cross wrote in a response letter that “after carefully reviewing your concern,” all Bibles would be removed by Dec. 1. It appears the conference center recently completed the removal.
“We reviewed the concern raised about the placement of Bibles in our guest rooms and decided to remove them. We want to make sure all guests are comfortable in our lodging,” a UW-Extension spokesperson said in a statement.
“While private hotels may choose to put any type of literature they want in their guest rooms, state-run colleges have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion,” wrote staff attorney Patrick Elliott in a press release on the FFRF website .
While FFRF tends to focus on the separation of church and state, they have previously petitioned the members of the hotel industry to create "Bible-free" rooms, similar to smoke-free rooms.
According to their website, Gideons International distributes the holy books for free to hotel rooms in order to "win the lost for Christ."
[Wisconsin State Journal]
[Freedom From Religion Foundation]