Northern Illinois University quickly removed all bibles from the Holmes Student Center Hotel after receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation stating that it was unconstitutional to have them there.
FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan D. Jayne sent the letter on Oct. 20 to Norm Jenkins, director of the Holmes Student Center, stating, in part: "Providing bibles to Holmes Student Center Hotel guests sends the message that NIU endorses the religious texts. Including bibles sends the message to non-Christian and non-religious guests that they should read the bible, and specifically the version of the bible provided: the Gideon Bible. Certainly, if guests want to read this religious text during their stay, they can bring their own copy or access any of the numerous churches or libraries near the university."
The next day, Oct. 21, Gregory A. Brady, deputy general counsel for Governance and Administration at NIU, responded to FFRF by stating that the university "will be removing any such bibles from their hotel guest rooms."
"We're grateful to NIU for so promptly making a decision to respect all of its hotel guests and stay above the religious fray," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Gaylor and her husband, FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, were staying at the Holmes Student Center Hotel in DeKalb, Ill., while in town to speak to a chapter of the Secular Student Alliance when they discovered the bibles in the rooms.
"Nonreligious hotel guests should not have to pay to be proselytized in the privacy of their own bedrooms," Gaylor said. "The bible calls for killing nonbelievers, apostates, gays, 'stubborn sons,' and women who transgress biblical double standards. What's obnoxious in a private hotel, however, becomes inappropriate and unconstitutional in state-run lodgings."
Recently the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa also removed all bibles from hotel guest rooms after being contacted by FFRF.
FFRF, a national state/church watchdog group, is a nonprofit organization with more than 23,000 members nationwide, including more than 700 members in Illinois and a local chapter, FFRF Metropolitan Chicago.