British Hotel Replaces Bedside Bibles with
Instead of the gospels, guests at the Damson Dene Hotel get "mommy porn" as their bedside reading.
By JUDITH WELIKALA | July 29, 2012
“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.”
“Fifty Shades of Grey traces the relationship between a business magnate and a young college graduate, featuring explicit depictions of bondage and submissive acts. 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.”
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the Westmorland Gazette, “It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.”
I’ve stayed in many hotels in the past. In no instance have I ever found cause to search for and/or read from a hotel room bible. If I were so inclined my preference would be unavailable. The Gideons’ bibles are incomplete, ignoring the Torah and the Tanach. What they do provide is a stripped down edition that is intended for Protestant Christians. The non-Protestant Christians are ignored; as are all hotel guests who practice no religion.
There are apocryphal tales of men (this sort of tale almost always involves men, it seems) who have checked into hotels, accidentally found a bible in a drawer, and been somehow prevented from committing suicide by some miraculous interaction. These remain tales. They are along the same order as the soldier spared a combat death when the bullet that hits him is slowed by a bible. They provide fodder for inspirational speeches designed to raise money for some itinerant preacher milking a tent revival circuit.
In the first instance, the tale never provides verification. In the second instance, those tiny little throw-away editions that churches shove into soldiers’ hands are too thin to stop a pellet gun. Better to carry a Zippo over one’s heart into combat. Zippo, at least, provides verifiable advertising.
If I want something to read in a hotel, I’ve got it with me. I don’t need to look in the drawers. If I want to watch news or simply want white noise, there is always a television. If I want something erotic to kill idle hours, that can be had for a slight fee.
And now, for women who find little interest in average hotel erotica, a thoughtful inn-keeper has provided something written for women that they can take or leave for the duration of their stay. While it may not interest all women, it contains, by all accounts, less sex and violence than the Gideons’ contribution to non-literature.