Atheist Sought Change, Not a 'Media Circus'
In Georgia, books promoting atheism will be placed alongside Gideon Bibles in every state park cabin, if Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal stays true to his word.
On Friday, (May 17), American Atheists announced they will be sending books on atheism to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to be placed next to Gideon Bibles inside every cabin and lodge at the state's parks, examiner.com reported.
The donation of atheist literature comes after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued an invitation to non-Christian groups to donate literature to be shared in state park cabins. Addressing concerns about the legality of placing religious literature (Gideon Bibles) in cabins belonging to the state park system, Deal said:
"These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state, and I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion. In fact, any group is free to donate literature."
American Atheists are taking Gov. Deal up on his offer. Books to be donated include “Why I Am Not A Muslim,” by Ibn Warraq, “Why I Am An Atheist” by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, “god is not Great,” by Christopher Hitchens and “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins.
However, most atheists, and most other Americans who respect and understand the U.S. Constitution believe it is wrong for the state to be providing and thus promoting any religious position. Thus, American Atheist's President David Silverman says: "American Atheists does not believe the state of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins; however, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials."
The issue of Bibles being placed in Georgia state park cabins came to light after former American Atheist President Ed Buckner rented one of the lodges last month and filed a complaint after finding numerous Bibles in his cabin.
In an e-mail to Woodall's Campground Management over the weekend, Buckner stated, "I only wanted the policy/practice changed, not a media circus. But the (governor and attorney general) decided otherwise."
The Bibles were originally removed from the state park cabins, but Gov. Deal ordered the Bibles back via executive order, saying he does “not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion.”