Hotel's dissing the Gideons


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a figment of your imagination
Interesting article from Newsweek on what hotels are providing their guests instead of allowing the Gideons to put a bible in the room.
In the rooms of Manhattan's trendy Soho Grand Hotel guests can enjoy an eclectic selection of underground music, iPod docking stations, flat-screen TVs and even the living company of a complimentary goldfish. But, alas, the word of God is nowhere to be found. Unlike traditional hotels, the 10-year-old boutique has never put Bibles in its guest rooms, because "society evolves," says hotel spokeswoman Lori DeBlois. Providing Bibles would mean the hotel "would have to take care of every guest's belief." ...

Edgier chains like the W provide "intimacy kits" with condoms in the minibar, while New York's Mercer Hotel supplies a free condom in each bathroom. Neither has Bibles. Since its recent renovation, the Sofitel L.A. offers a tantalizing lovers' dice game: roll one die for the action to be performed (for example, "kiss," "lick") and the other for the associated body part. The hotel's "mile high" kit, sold in the revamped gift shop, includes a condom, a mini vibrator, a feather tickler and lubricant. The new Indigo hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., a "branded boutique" launched by InterContinental, also has no Bibles, but it does offer a "One Night Stand" package for guests seeking VIP treatment at local nightclubs and late checkout for the hazy morning after.
Hotels like any other business simply respond to the needs of their customers, and the needs of customers today are not what they were 25 or 50 years ago.

I personally don't see this as anything particularly intuitive about hotels or business. On the other hand, I think it speaks volumes about present day zeitgeist, and the "need" for society at large for religion, in particular the culturally dominant religion. Were there an analogous comparison in other cultures like say Israel, Somalia or Afghanistan, I wonder if the same could be said?

I think one of the main reasons the Gideons were so welcome for so long in the West is because the people were still dealing with the psychological devastation of the Depression of the '30's and the Great War of the '40's. That's all a couple of generations behind us now, and succeeding generations forget amid prosperity. Something tells me that there is still a more urgent psychological need in other more devastated societies to keep their intrinsic religion more close at hand, whereas we have "grown" to allow ourselves freedom from our religious needs (some would no doubt say "crutches").

History tends to repeat itself however. Seems to me the psychology in the West prior to the Great Depression was not a great deal different than today in thumbing its nose at its religious heritage. I am not prepared to say that it played a role in bringing about the Depression, but "irrational exuberance" is not limited to the 21st century. It would not surprize me in the least to see the pendulum swing yet again...particularly if these tough economic times magnify and continue for any length of time.

There's something about being reduced to catching sparrows in mousetraps in the front yard just to be able to eat (true family story), that makes religion maybe not such a frivolous endeavor afterall.
Certainly far more practical.....
How so? A Gideon Bible is "free" to the hotel. There certainly are enough other "advertisements" in the little book on the desk (that they had to pay for, to print).

This Advertisement (the bible), is free of charge.

I may not read the bible everytime I'm in a hotel (and I am in hotels alot), but I have walked out of $300.00 a night hotels, and told the manager the reason why, was because there was no bible in my room...