Religion, Spirit and Self Empowerment

Travelodge removes the Bible from every room: No one had complained… but chain ‘doesn’t want to discriminate’

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One of Britain’s biggest hotel chains has removed Bibles from its rooms to avoid upsetting non-Christians.
The decision by Travelodge has been condemned as ‘tragic and bizarre’ by the Church of England, which says Bibles in hotel rooms are important to provide hope, comfort and inspiration to travellers.
But the chain, which runs 500 hotels, said the country was becoming increasingly multicultural and it had taken the action for ‘diversity reasons’.

It said the policy was implemented ‘in order not to discriminate against any religion’ – despite having had no complaints from guests.
Bibles were taken away at the same time as a refurbishment of its rooms, removing drawers where they were kept.

The Bibles, which were provided free by the Gideon Society, have been retained and are stored behind reception for guests to borrow on request, the company says.

A Church of England spokesman said: ‘It seems both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design, economic incentive or a spurious definition of the word “diversity”.’

It seems not all Travelodges even have Bibles available on request. At the branch in Battersea, south London, there was no Bible in the room or behind reception.

When requested, the receptionist could not find a copy and said no one had ever asked him for one in his four months of working there.Instead, he suggested using the hotel’s free wifi to ‘Google it and read it online’.

When pushed for a hard copy, he rang his manager who told him they used to have them in rooms, but hadn’t had any at the hotel since refurbishment last year.

But other hotel firms, including Britain’s largest budget hotel company, Premier Inn, and InterContinental Hotels, owners of the Holiday Inn chain, say Bibles are being retained at their hotels. A Premier Inn spokesman said: ‘Bibles are available in Premier Inn rooms.

‘On the rare occasion that a customer does not wish to have a Bible in their room, they can request this to be removed ahead of their stay by contacting the hotel directly.’

Upmarket hotel chain Millennium & Copthorne, which runs four-star hotels in areas including Mayfair, Kensington and Knightsbridge, confirmed it still has Bibles in rooms and has no plans to remove them despite ‘welcoming guests from around the world’.

Travelodge is the first national hotel chain to remove Bibles – although in 2012 one independent hotel, the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite, Cumbria, replaced them with the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.

A Travelodge spokesman said: ‘The reason is because of diversity. With the country being increasingly multicultural, we didn’t feel it was appropriate to just have the Bible because there are people of other religions. People were also taking Bibles away and with the redesign of the rooms, it was felt that it would be better to remove them.’

Another spokesman added: ‘In order not to discriminate against any religion, customers who would like a Bible can pick a copy from any one of Travelodge’s 500 hotel reception desks across the country, whilst staying at the hotel. To date, Travelodge has not received any customer feedback regarding this decision.’

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