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Georgia Governor Orders Return of Bibles to State Parks

Teresa Neumann : May 20, 2013  Kimberly Barbour WRCB News

"If someone chooses to read the Bible then that is their right. If they don't believe in God, then they don't have to look at a Bible." -Jamie Knight

(Atlanta, GA)—Last week, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered all state parks to have the Gideon Bibles returned to lodges and cabins after they were removed by an earlier order from the state's Department of Natural Resources.

Bibles in cabins Not surprisingly, the controversial removal of the Bibles caused an uproar in the Bible Belt state. (Photo: WRCB News)

Several news sources said the initial action to remove the Bibles started with a single complaint.

"It's what's wrong with the United States today," said one Georgia resident, Eldon Crane. "Too many people are getting their own ways."

Another Georgian, Marcus Moon, agreed. "For some reason, we're letting the few dictate to the many on what we should or shouldn't do."

The general consensus among Georgians seems to be that state facilities should be free to have Bibles available for those who want to read them, as has traditionally been the case with Gideon Bibles in hotels, etc., and if someone doesn't want to read it they are under no compulsion to do so.

Said one park visitor, Rebecca Wade, "Nobody's going to pick up a Bible if they don't want to."

Bibles in cabins The Governor's official website statement reads:

After consulting with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Gov. Nathan Deal today instructed the state Department of Natural Resources to return Bibles to cabins and lodge rooms at state parks. (Photo: WRCB News)

"Out of an abundance of caution to avoid potential litigation, the commissioner removed the Bibles from rooms—though they were still available on site—after a complaint from a visitor. The attorney general and I agree that the state is on firm legal footing as we move to return the Bibles to the rooms. These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state, and I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion. In fact, any group is free to donate literature."







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