One of the biggest hotel chains in Britain has decided to remove all Bibles from its rooms to avoid offending people with other beliefs to the consternation of the Church of England.
Travelodge, which operates 500 hotels, says the Bibles were removed for "diversity reasons," defended itself by saying the country is increasing in multicultural influences, the Daily Mail reportedm on August 15.
Although there were no complaints from guests, the hotel management insisted its policy stems from the desire to "not discriminate against any religion."
A Travelodge spokesman said, "People were also taking Bibles away and with the redesign of the rooms, it was felt that it would be better to remove them."
The Church of England, part of the 88-million strong Anglican Communion, and the biggest churhc in Britian, condemned the decision.
It said, "It seems both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design, economic incentive or a spurious definition of the word 'diversity'."
Travelodge later said that the removal of Bibles from hotel rooms was a policy decided upon in 2007. It has been gradually implementing the policy through the years.
Travelodge is the first hotel chain in Britain to remove Bibles. In 2012, an independent hotel replaced the Bible with the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.
Other hotel chains in the UK said that they still have Bibles in their rooms.
Britain's largest budget hotel company, Premier Inn and InterContinenal Hotels said Bibles are available at their hotels.
A representative from Premier Inn said that a customer who does not wish to have a Bible in the room can request it to be removed by contacting the hotel ahead of time.
Millennium & Copthorne, which runs four-star hotels in several areas in Britain said that it has no plans to remove Bibles despite "welcoming guests from around the world."
Tim Stanley, a U.S. historian said, Travelodge's removal of the Bibles is "an act of cultural vandalism upon a tradition that goes back 126 years."
The practice of placing Bibles in British hotel rooms originated with the Commercial Travellers' Christian Association, founded in 1888. The work was taken over by the Gideon Society, which distributes free Bibles in almost 194 countries worldwide.