The American hotel tradition of placing a Bible in guests’ rooms is changing as these establishments broaden their menu of religious reading material to please the new diversity of guests.
USA Today (July 10) reports that the Bibles placed in hotel rooms for over a century by the Gideon International ministry has become “an unwitting brand standard” that is being challenged by the desire of some hotels to offer their guests options that range from the Bhagavad-Gita to the Book of Mormon. In deference to the Marriot’s founders, these hotels now supplement the Bible with the Book of Mormon.
The Society for the Promotion of Buddhism has placed gratis copies of the Teaching of the Buddha in more than 2,300 hotels across the U.S. as part of a program that also includes 53 other countries. Washington, D.C.’s Madison Hotel will reopen with each guestroom having a windowsill decal pointing toward Mecca — an amenity mainly found in the Middle East.