Jeremy Taylor: Here’s a story that may offend both the religious and fans of good fiction. A hotel in England has replaced all of its Gideon Bibles with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ the first installment in E.L. James’s notorious trilogy of “mommy porn.”So... Having a Bible there is "wholly inappropriate" and "forcing" a certain viewpoint on people but somehow 50 Shades of Grey doesn't force a viewpoint? Does it not articulate a worldview as well? The presence of aBible "forces" and the 50 Shades doesn't? Huh?!? Do we not see the self-refuting nature of this decision?
Jonathan Denby, who owns The Damson Dene Hotel, has been wondering what to do with the Bibles ever since he bought the place from a Methodist group a decade ago. Since Denby believes forcing Scripture on his guests is “wholly inappropriate” he knew he would eventually switch them out, and his first thought was to replace them with Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead.’
However that plan never came to be, and it wasn’t until ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ exploded unto the scene that he realized he had the perfect book to stick in all of guests’ nightstands.
“Because everybody is reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do,” he explained. “To have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”
To be clear, I am fine if a business owner wants to remove Bibles from their establishment for the sake of religious neutrality. Just don't make silly claims about the book you replace it with as somehow being neutral.