Earlier this month, Damson Dene Hotel, in England’s Lake District, replaced in all 40 guest rooms, the ubiquitous bedside cabinet Gideon Bible with something a bit more modern, the soft-porn bestseller: “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James, a former TV executive, wife and mother of two based in West London.
The irony is that the Damson Dene Hotel, was purchased from a Methodist group 10 years ago. Its current owner, Jonathan Denby, apparently thought it inappropriate to distribute Bibles in today’s secular society and has explained his decision in a blog post:
“Tonight millions of women will be curling up in bed with a good book and you can bet your life it won’t be the Bible. More likely than not it will be Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read the book yet – I’m not in the target audience – but I’m told it’s a ripping good yarn and everyone who’s in the target audience loves it. This made me wonder about the sense of providing a book, the Gideon Bible which no one reads, and many dislike, in the bedside cabinet of our hotel bedrooms, instead of a book which everyone wants to read, such as Fifty Shades of Grey.“
Denby said he did not do it for any philosophical reasons, and had considered substitutions for a long time. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” Denby told NBC News.
Denby also said in his blog: “I’ll keep a couple behind the reception desk so that if any guest whose preferred bedtime reading happens to be the Bible finds that they have forgotten to pack their copy, they’ll be pleased to read in the guest handbook that they can borrow a copy from the receptionist.“
That hasn’t stopped the local vicar from publicly denouncing the change. Rev. Michael Woodcock, Local vicar and parish priest at St. Mary’s Church in Crosthwaite has publicly denounced the change. He told British media that the hotel’s decision is just a gimmick. “It is a shame that the Bible has been taken out,” he told the paper. “But I am sure it will be put back in the future. The more attention that is drawn to this the more bad publicity it gets.”
‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘ is all that people are talking about at the moment, but I know that some are too shy to buy it for themselves,” hotel manager Wayne Bartholomew told the Daily Mail. “I thought it would be a special treat for our guests to find it in their bedside cabinet and that includes the men too.”
“The Bible is a great read. It has stories which feature sex and violence, as well as comedy, tragedy, poetry, and prose. Its themes are eternal; they still speak directly into people’s lives centuries after it was written,” said a member of The Bible Society.
- Vicar condemns hotel after it replaces Gideon Bible with 50 Shades of Grey (authormariagrace.com)