By Tom Quiner

Iowa State University removed bibles from their campus hotel when a single atheist complained.
Quiner’s Diner wrote on the subject and the Des Moines Register ran the piece a week ago. Because of the widespread coverage of my essay, Iowa State heard from a whole lot of people on the matter.
To his credit, the administrator at Iowa State who made the decision to yank the Bibles called me on the phone today to explain his reasons. We had a  twenty minute conversation that was friendly, but didn’t really cover any new ground.
He acknowledged that they have received a lot of response due to my piece in the Register, and that most of it was critical of the university for yanking the Bibles out of the hotel rooms.
He made it clear that the university is not hostile to religion generally, or Christianity specifically, citing pro-Christian events that have taken place on the campus.
Their decision stands on the removal of Bibles from hotel rooms. I disagree with it, but nonetheless appreciate the call. He took the heat and let me speak my piece.

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  1. oarubio on March 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for the follow-up, Tom. Yes, ISU should be credited with its personal response to you. The situation remains the same, however, it’s fashionable to attack Christianity. I wish people would understand that, historically, this is the precursor to more severe intrusions, etc. — Tony

    • Parody on March 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      I wholeheartedly disagree that this action was an attack on Christianity. If you look at it rationally, it is simply removing the imposition that the presence of the book presents to anyone who has chosen a different path.
      It is hypocritical to say that you support freedom of religion and then to provide reading material that dictates one and only one religion is the right path. Controversially, it would be unreasonable to expect the university to provide material that represented every possible spiritual path that a person may choose. So the reasonable choice is to avoid putting anything into the public hotels that would be used to advertise for any of these – as these advertisements can easily be received as intimidating.

      • quinersdiner on March 6, 2014 at 7:31 am

        Sorry, I don’t follow your thinking. Iowa State didn’t buy the Bibles. They were gifted from Gideon International. If the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to provide Korans, more power to them. Why would that be intimidating?

      • Parody on March 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        It has nothing to do with how they were obtained, but what they represent. I’m sure you would understand if people were opposing crayons and coloring books that were supplied to a local kindergarten by Budweiser and Marlboro if they were covered in branding for their respective companies.

        • quinersdiner on March 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm

          What does it represent? If you’re an atheist, it’s just a nice story that Gideon gifted to the University. If you’re a Jew, a Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Dutch Reform, Calvinist,or any one of some 40,000 Christian denominations who comprise the Judeo-Christian roots in this country, you’ll find comfort in the Book. Since the Bible is sacred scripture for these 40,000 some groups, Iowa State is surely not showing favoritism to any one group. They are merely supporting diversity. I’m sure you appreciate diversity, don’t you?

          • oarubio on March 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm

            Yes, despite the unfortunate splintering into thousands of denominations over the last five centuries, a Bible covers a lot of common ground… although I believe the Gideon would be seven books short 😉

          • quinersdiner on March 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

            You are correct, Tony, and they are beauties. Even an atheist would appreciate the Book of Wisdom. Heck, so would a Protestant!

      • Parody on March 7, 2014 at 7:46 am

        Good job dodging the analogy guys. That was the primary point of my post. The stories on the inside have a lot of value, but they are immaterial in this case. The message on the cover is what is offensive. It tells everyone that we give favoritism, and special treatment to Christians. Just because the book represents a majority of people makes no difference.

        • quinersdiner on March 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

          I’m really missing something here. I’ve been to hotels that have the Mormon Bible. I do not view that Bible as scriptural. I certainly wasn’t offended. Why should I be? This business of atheists being offended is a sham. I don’t buy it for a second. Rather, it’s a campaign to suppress Judeo-Christian beliefs and values from the public square and replace it with a new religion, Secular Humanism, Evangelical Atheism, or Neo-Paganism, whatever you want to call it. You and your fellow evangelical atheists are not shooting straight about your motives.

      • Parody on March 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

        The part that you appear to be missing is that the feelings that you have about a certain act or event are not always shared by everyone who holds the same beliefs as you, or even a majority of them.
        Like the public university, I am interested in what is best for everyone, not just my own belief system. That means that if something can reasonably be viewed as offensive or intimidating, such as adorning every room with religious propaganda, then that needs to be avoided if possible. In the same respect, I would not put magazines of “Guns and Ammo” or “High Times” in every room even if they were given to the University. There are people who love them and are incapable of fathoming how someone could be offended by it, yet I’m sure you can see how there are also people who would definitely be offended.

        • quinersdiner on March 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm

          No, I don’t see it. Sorry. Nonetheless, thanks for your feedback. I do appreciate it.

  2. Parody on March 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Furthermore, the ease of presenting the church’s propaganda should have no weight in determining which faiths get front billing. If the University is going to represent itself as an entity of a country whose core was built upon freedom of religion as one of its main tenets, then the University has an obligation to either represent ALL religions, or none. Any middle ground would be showing favoritism, regardless of the cost incurred.

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