The Damson Dene Hotel in the Lake District of England has replaced their Gideon Bibles with the popular best-selling novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James. The book is an erotic fantasy marketed toward women.
Jonathan Denby, the hotel’s owner talks about why he made the switch on his blog:
“Tonight millions of women will be curling up in bed with a good book and you can bet your life it won’t be the Bible. More likely than not it will be Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read the book yet – I’m not in the target audience – but I’m told it’s a ripping good yarn and everyone who’s in the target audience loves it. This made me wonder about the sense of providing a book, the Gideon Bible which no-one reads, and many dislike, in the bedside cabinet of our hotel bedrooms, instead of a book which everyone wants to read, such as Fifty Shades of Grey.”
He goes on to say:
“In this secular age it seems distinctly odd that anyone would expect to find a religious book in a hotel bedroom. But I won’t be giving all our Gideon bibles to the Help The Aged charity shop – I’ll keep a couple behind the reception desk so that if any guest whose preferred bedtime reading happens to be the bible finds that they have forgotten to pack their copy, they’ll be pleased to read in the guest handbook that they can borrow a copy from the receptionist.”
The hotel’s manager, Wayne Bartholomew, told the Westmorland Gazette:
“The Gideon Bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it’s written using more formal language, so [E. L.] James’s book is easier to read.”
Denby also states in a more recent blog post that the reaction has been extremely positive from those who have stayed in the hotel and from others in England. He was surprised however by the reaction from the United States. He talks about getting e-mails from Americans who were outraged. One even called him “a puppet of Satan.” Many of the e-mails claimed the sender was on the verge of booking extended vacation stays or a large number of rooms for alleged business conferences. Denby however saw through those claims, “As the Damson Dene has only rarely had a visitor from the States we know these statements are false.”
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