Rooms at Iowa State University’s Hotel Memorial Union will no longer contain Gideon bibles, after a guest complained to a watchdog group about “unwelcome religious propaganda in the bedside table.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national group with around 150 Iowa members, wrote a letter Jan. 29 to Richard S. Reynolds, director of the union requesting removal of the Bibles.
“If a state-run university has a policy of providing a Christian religious text to guests, that policy facilitates illegal endorsement of Christianity over other religions and over nonreligion,” wrote Patrick Elliott, the organization’s staff attorney.
Reynolds responded to the letter on Thursday, notifying the organization that the Bibles would be removed by March 1.
The Memorial Union building and the 52-room hotel within was run by an outside non-profit organization before it became a part of Iowa State University in 2003. Bibles in the guest rooms predated the transfer of ownership to the university, said John McCarroll, director of university relations.