The bible is mandatory

Another win for forced religion by the state.

In June, the U.S. Navy ordered housekeepers at thousands of Navy-owned guest lodges near U.S. and international bases to remove the Bibles and any other “religious materials” from their rooms. Scriptures would remain available on request.

But public outcry, prompted this week by a social media alert from the American Family Association and protests by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, led the brass to reverse course Friday (Aug. 15).

Now, the Navy’s “religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes, the daily military newspaper. Meanwhile, the Bibles (New Testament and Psalms but no Hebrew Bible) will be tucked back into nightstand drawers.

Public outcry about what? About not forcing religious books on people who don’t ask for them? Even though all that people who do want them have to do is ask for them? Why is it so important for the government to thrust them on people rather than providing them if asked?

Why stop there then? Why not have the cops come to everyone’s door and shove a bible in? Why not arrest people who aren’t in church on Sunday morning? Why not order people to pray at gunpoint?



  1. John Morales says

    From my perspective (i.e. outside the culture) it seems more like a display (and an endorsement) of religion than a forcing of religion upon occupants.

    (Christianity: the official religion of the U.S. Navy!)

  2. says

    Well on the one hand it’s not exactly a display, because it’s in a drawer. But it is a kind of forcing, even though not the most literal physical kind. It is put in a drawer in your room whether you want it or not. It’s a nudge. It’s meant as a nudge. That’s the point of it. With the government behind it – it’s a harder nudge.

  3. says

    Well, if they’re going to force religious material into every room, may I suggest that there be mandatory inclusion of diverse religious material? I’d imagine telling the outcriers that for every bible or new testament, a package with the Quran, a Wiccan guide to sex magic, and a copy of Betrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian must go in along with it, would stop them up short.

  4. scottbelyea says

    Hmm … I’ve noticed Bibles in a good many hotel rooms, and have never felt forced, nudged, poked, or anything. Even recall one room (somewhere in Westchester County NY, I think), that had both a Bible and a Koran.

  5. Brucee says

    Ibis3, that’s one of the two options posed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and in June, the Navy said they’d rather take everything out.
    But the Navy is funded by Congress, so this is just temporary. That is, until we go from zero atheists there,to 218. I’m not sure it will happen this year.
    If only there were people in the US Navy who were willing to support the US Constitution.

  6. scottbelyea says

    Just one. But I’m curious – what do you believe to be the difference from my perspective?

  7. Cuttlefish says

    Scottbelyea– For myself, I have not “felt forced, nudged, poked, or anything” either. What I have felt is “hey, it’s the hotel owner’s view–if that’s what they want, that’s fine”. But then, I have not stayed in a Navy hotel, where the same thought would be followed by “hey, wait, establishment clause!”.

    “It’s the hotel owner’s view” is precisely the wrong message if it is a hotel run by representatives of the government that is by, of, and for the people, who–last time I checked–were considerably more diverse.

  8. Tim Harris says

    Surely, the thing to do is to take the bible with you when you leave and if there are objections tell them, with expressions of huge, grinning gratitude, that they’ve got a convert who can’t be without the thing now that s/he has opened it.

  9. says

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond….

    Travelodge removes the Bible from every room: No one had complained… but chain ‘doesn’t want to discriminate’
    * The chain, which runs 500 hotels, has made the move for ‘diversity reasons’
    * Said country is becoming increasingly multicultural and Bibles ‘discriminate’
    * The books donated by Gideon Society are now hidden behind reception

    Note that last one: the buybulls are still at the hotels for those who ask for one. They’re just not being forced on those who didn’t want them in the first place.

    And christians are calling that “discrimination”.

  10. says

    Especially keep in mind that these Navy hotels are run by the Navy, for the Navy. Most of the people using them are Sailors, Marines, and their dependents. People who need to use the hotels because of orders the Navy gave them. A bible in the drawer takes on a different tone than if you were in a Motel 6.

  11. Omar Puhleez says

    OB: “Public outcry about what? About not forcing religious books on people who don’t ask for them? ”

    I travel a fair bit and stay in motels. After a day dealing with the trucks that go hurtling past and certain lunatic drivers with some sort of death wish, it is good to relax. But sleep does no always come easily.
    In such a case the remedy is at hand, in the shape of the Gideons’ Bible. I find the best cure for insomnia is a dip into the Epistles of Paul the Apostle. After about 5 minutes of trawling through that verbiage, I am off in the Land of Nod.
    Nobody forces me to read it. And as for the Koran, from the little I have read of it, it looks like the greatest cure for insomnia of all.

  12. Kevin Kehres says

    I’ve been in hotel rooms where there was a Gideon bible, a Book of Mormon, and the Baghavad Gita.

    The Mormons seem particularly intent on keeping up with the Gideons these days. I’m ignorant about such things but wonder — do they consider the “bible” to be their “bible”?

  13. Matt G says

    I wouldn’t call it “forcing”, but it is another example of privileging Christianity over other religions.

    Slightly OT, but when I was in Germany two years ago, I found a Buddhist book in the hotel drawer along with a Bible.

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