Des Moines Register publishes Quiner's Diner essay

[The following Quiner’s Diner blog post appeared in this morning’s Des Moines Register. Thanks to the Register for running the piece.]

Guest at ISU vexed by Bible could have left it in the drawer

By Tom Quiner

I’m offended.
These two words carry mammoth clout in this politically-correct age. I’m offended that Iowa State University, whom I support with my tax dollars, will be removing the Bible from Iowa State University’s Hotel Memorial Union because a single guest complained.
Just one.
The guest contacted the “Freedom from Religion Foundation” who leaned on Iowa State to remove the offending book.
In a stunning act of moral cowardice, the University caved like a house of cards to this organization which aggressively evangelizes atheism throughout the country.
Since it took but a single offended person to precipitate Iowa State’s knee-jerk reaction, I offer up my offense to offset that of the offended atheist.
I call on Iowa State President, Steven Leath, to allow diversity of religious thought by allowing Bibles to remain in the hotel drawers. We know diversity is important to President Leath because he said so.
Just last month he waxed eloquent about a diversity report that was prepared for him. He said he would use the report to ensure that Iowa State …

“is as diverse as it has ever been, but we have a responsibility to build upon past successes and ensure that we strive every day to create an environment that is as welcoming as possible to all people.”
The University’s refusal to allow Bibles in the campus hotel doesn’t seem very welcoming, does it?
The offended atheist characterized the Holy Bible as “unwelcome religious propaganda in the bedside table.”  Note the word “in.”
Doesn’t it make sense that if someone finds the contents of a book offensive, they simply leave it in the drawer? Why in the world would Iowa State deprive everyone else the opportunity to read the Bible simply because an evangelical atheist is mad about it, even if the Book is out of sight in a drawer!
Perhaps the atheist is fearful of being converted through osmosis.
A Freedom from Religion spokesperson played her trump card by suggesting that Christians would be offended by competing books:
“Imagine the uproar if someone found a Quran or Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ in their state-supported hotel room. Government can’t take sides on the religious debate.”
Since the Bibles were gifted by Gideon International, not the university, and since they’re not forced on anyone, the matter has nothing to do with the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. And for some reason, I doubt a university as politically-correct as ISU would cow tow to a single Christian who demanded the removal of the Qu’ran.
An Iowa State spokesperson tried to rationalize the decision:
  “What we’re doing is trying to be respectful of individuals who may have differing opinions on this.”
If a Qu’ran, a Bhagavad Gita, the Tipitaka, or a book promoting the various religions of secular humanism were in the drawer I would do one of two things, I would pick it up and read it out of intellectual curiosity, or I would leave it in the drawer and turn on the TV. Simple. Problem solved.
Iowa State’s decision to ban the Bible reminds me of their decision in 2005 to deny tenure to a former faculty member, Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of “The Privileged Planet.” Mr. Guillermo’s book made the case for “intelligent design,” a politically-incorrect view in academia dominated by atheists.   Even though Mr. Gonzalez didn’t teach this philosophy in his classroom, 124 members faculty signed a petition denouncing intelligent design, reinforcing their hostility to all things religious.
Iowa State’s hostility to Christianity is quite apparent in their recent decision.
If this suppression of religious thought concerns you, perhaps you should let President Leath know your views. You can reach him by e-mail: