Gideon bibles? Ok then – atheist books too.

American Atheists has sent out a press release.

Cartersville, Georgia—Beginning Wednesday, visitors to Georgia State Parks vacationing in government-owned rental cabins can read atheist books during their stay courtesy of American Atheists. The national non-profit announced that its former President, Ed Buckner, will distribute hundreds of donated copies of atheist literature to the Red Top State Park for placement in cabin bedside drawers, alongside Bibles already placed there, on Wednesday morning.

Additional atheist books will be distributed to A.H. Stephens Historic Park in Crawfordville, Georgia at 2:00 PM EDT on Wednesday afternoon, with more parks to follow later this week.

In May of this year, Buckner was vacationing in Amicalola Falls State Park with his family, where he had rented a state-owned cabin. Within the cabin he found nine Gideon Bibles, placed there by park management. Since the cabins are government owned, Buckner considers it a violation of separation of church and state to allow their placement without granting equal representation to other religious groups. “When you go into a state park cabin and the only piece of religious literature there is a Protestant Bible, that suggests the government’s endorsement of that particular perspective,” said Buckner.

Upon receiving his complaint, park management initially removed the Bibles, but after conferring with his Attorney General, Governor Deal ordered them to be returned, noting that the books were donated by the Gideons, and adding “Any group is free to donate literature.”

The upset made international media, including The Economist and Reuters (see links at end of release).

American Atheists took Deal up on his offer this week with the first delivery of donated books, including copies of The Skeptics Annotated Bible by Steve Wells, Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq, and Fear, Faith, Fact, Fantasy by Dr. John A. Henderson. See images here.

“American Atheists does not believe the State of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins; however, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials,” said President David Silverman.

“We appreciate the governor’s invitation to place atheist books in the cabins and look forward to providing visitors with the opportunity to learn more about atheism when they visit Georgia’s beautiful state parks,” said Managing Director Amanda Knief.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

American Atheists’ 40th Annual National Convention will feature such speakers such as NFL Oakland Raiders Chris Kluwe, Survivor®: Philippines grand prizewinner Denise Stapley, Grammy-winning Spin Doctors bass player Mark White, Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims, popular bloggers PZ Myers and Greta Christina, and American Atheists President David Silverman. The convention will also feature a costume party, live music, stand-up comedy, an art show and silent auction, national and local exhibitors, and childcare options for attending families. The convention takes place the the weekend of April 17-20, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


American Atheists, Inc.

P.O. Box 158

Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300

Fax: (908) 276-7402


  1. Martha says

    You know, I’m not much for the billboards, but this makes me happy to have donated to American Atheists, even though my motivation for doing so was to support Dave Silverman’s support of atheist feminists.

  2. Rey Fox says

    Within the cabin he found nine Gideon Bibles

    Do these cabins have wood burning stoves?

    I wish people would see “donating literature” as what it really is: spam. But as long as sauce for the goose is good for the gander, then I would suggest donating the Anarchist’s Cookbook, the Joy of Sex, and other fine literature.

  3. says

    I’ve always found Bibles in hotels more amusing than anything. I always bring my own reading material on vacation, and I figure people who want to read will do the same. I once went on a trip with some friends, one of whom is Christian, and she brought her own Bible—which, again, I figure people would do if they intended to read the Bible while on vacation. Still, I get what they’re saying, since this is owned by the government, so at least there will be some variety. I’m wondering if other religious groups, and maybe even just other ideological groups, will donate their stuff as well.

  4. says

    Just wanted to add that I would sometimes be curious to read the Bible in the hotel room drawer, but obviously I couldn’t because my family was there and we’re not Christian. So, let’s say you’re on vacation with relatives who are a particular religion. What do you do, just pick up the stuff from a different religion and read it, potentially starting an argument with your family? I guess if you were there on your own, it would be possible.

  5. CGM3 says

    I remember reading about this when it first came out, including a remark someone made about how atheist books “won’t last long”. Be interesting to see if the new donations soon go missing…

  6. Sercee says

    My room mate is a hotel manager. We chatted briefly about this when it came out and I mentioned that when I was travelling a lot I started tossing the bibles in the garbage (well, the recycling bin, paper is still paper). We didn’t have time to get into it because one of us was headed out to work and the other headed to bed, but he strongly disapproved of my action despite he himself being atheist. Now that this is back on my mind I’m going to have to ask him why.

  7. Doubting Thomas says

    Trashing books is a whole lot easier than defacing billboards. The effort might be better spent elsewhere.

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