A British hotel has replaced Bibles with the popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey. I think it’s a great idea, and though I might argue with their choice of replacement, it’s still a hell of a lot better than having a religious text there as the only option for reading.
Jonathan Denby, owner of the hotel, told NBC News he felt that in a secular society, it was “wholly inappropriate” to put a religious book in someone’s bedroom. He confessed the novel, which started life as Twilight fan-fiction, wasn’t his first choice of replacement. In fact, he hasn’t even read it. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand — Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” he said, but “because everybody is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”
He makes a good point and that’s what I thought, too, when I read it: it may not be the best, but people like it, and it’s nice to make people happy.
Since the Damson Dene’s dirty little secret has emerged, the hotel has received dozens of angry emails — not from Britons, but from Americans — demanding that the bibles be restored beside the beds. Writing on his personal blog, Denby revealed that he has been called a “puppet of Satan,” and that several people emailed him “pretending that they were just about to make a booking the Damson Dene, but had changed their mind.”
I’ve received similar hate emails from believers, and I’ve found it’s best to ignore them. You can’t talk reason into them, and they pleasure being judgmental and venting.
Unsurprisingly, the move has also attracted the ire of local parish priest Rev. Michael Woodcock, who told the Westmorland Gazette, “It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.” He added, “The Bible remains a source of comfort and inspiration that many people do find helpful.”
I think the same goes for 50 Shades — I’ve heard many women have found comfort and inspiration in that, too…
However, Wayne Bartholomew, manager of the hotel has been quick to point out that, “The Gideon Bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it’s written using more formal language, so James’s book is easier to read.”