Staying in a Georgia State Park? Starting Today, You Can Find Atheist Literature in the Cabins

Back in May, former American Atheists president Ed Buckner visited a state park in Georgia and found a Bible in his rented cabin. That wouldn’t be unusual in a privately-owned hotel… but a state park?!

It’s not that the Bible was “offensive.” It’s just that, on principle, it shouldn’t have been there. It suggested government endorsement of Christianity.

At the time, park officials removed the Bibles from the cabins, but Governor Nathan Deal quickly put them right back in because he (wrongly) believed they were legal:

Gov. Nathan Deal

“These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state, and I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion,” Deal said. “In fact, any group is free to donate literature.”

O RLY?! Any group can donate literature?!

You can imagine how the staff at American Atheists was salivating when they heard those magic words:

We appreciate the governor’s invitation to place atheist books in the cabins and look forward to providing visitors with the opportunity to learn more about atheism when they visit Georgia’s beautiful state parks,” said Managing Director Amanda Knief.

“American Atheists does not believe the State of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins; however, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials,” said President David Silverman.

Well, it’s finally happening.

Not before state officials attempted to throw an obstacle in the atheists’ path — they said all donations had to be hard-cover books… but no matter.

Today, Ed Buckner will be delivering a giant bundle of atheism to Red Top Mountain State Park at 10:00a and A. H. Stephens Historic Park at 2:00p. (More godless literature will be given to other state parks in coming days.)

Which books?

Fear, Faith, Fact, Fantasy by the late Dr. John A. Henderson.

Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq.

And — my personal favorite — leather-bound copies of The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible by Steve Wells.

The kicker? There are labels in all of the books that credit Governor Deal for inviting the donations.

If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, just imagine the reaction of the guy who opens up his nightstand to grab the Bible, only to realize his edition has some unexpected notes written in the margins…

Hats off to the Atlanta Freethought Society and Ed Buckner for pursuing this opportunity, American Atheists and SAB Books for their donations, and especially Governor Deal for giving atheists a chance to spread our message to unsuspecting families all over the state of Georgia.

***Update***: American Atheists says this in a press release:

“American Atheists does not believe the State of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins; however, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials,” said President David Silverman.

“We appreciate the governor’s invitation to place atheist books in the cabins and look forward to providing visitors with the opportunity to learn more about atheism when they visit Georgia’s beautiful state parks,” said Managing Director Amanda Knief.

(Thanks to Philip for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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