The Catholic Church in Britain has described a decision by a budget hotel chain to remove Bibles from its hotel rooms as “bizarre and sinister”.
Travelodge, a company with hotels in the UK, Ireland and Spain, announced last week it had removed Bibles from its hotel rooms “in order not to discriminate against any religion”.
The company, whose Bibles had been given for free by the Gideon Society, took the decision despite receiving no complaints about the presence of the sacred book in the rooms.
Robert Rigby, chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, said the action “is at once bizarre and sinister."
The Bible is a "hallmark of our European and indeed to some extent, our global culture,” he said. “Not only do millions believe it to contain the Word of God, but it is also well on the way to being the best-selling book of all time, with over 100 million copies sold each year.”
Recalling the Bible is a “source of encouragement, comfort and indeed prayer”, he said the move on the part of Travelodge “is likely to do little to bolster its budget image, displaying as it does a corporate view and appreciation of strictly secular values, over the more human and emotional aspects of its clientele and others.”
Travelodge, one of Britain's largest hotel chains with an estimated 500 hotels in operation, has said it will retain old copies and store them behind reception for guests to borrow on request.