Atheists Accept Georgia Governor's Kind Offer To Place Literature 'From All Groups' In State Campgrounds
It seems that someone in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which runs the state's parks, decided that if Bibles are good enough for motel rooms, then sure, why not distribute them in the cabins in state parks, too? But then Ed Buckner, the former head of American Atheists, went camping and found a Bible in his state-owned cabin that he rented from a state agency. Because he hates America, he raised a stink about how the Constitution maybe doesn't allow the State Of Georgia to act like Motel 6, saying that
"When you go into a state park cabin and the only piece of religious literature there is a Protestant Bible, that suggests the government's endorsed that particular perspective."
We do not see why he is so upset, though, because as a whole lot of Christians pointed out, when the state provided him with a Protestant Bible in a state-owned cabin, that is not really an endorsement of any particular religious views because nobody forced him to read the Bible, now did they? Needless to say, they would also not consider it a church-state issue if the cabin's nightstand contained only a Quran instead. We're pretty sure of that.
State park officials initially said they would remove the Bibles, but this caused a certain amount of butthurt among Christians because lack of evangelizing = Oppression. And then Georgia Gov. Nathan whoop said, hey, No Big Deal, because even though the only religious materials in the cabins are completely sectarian, it's totes legal because the State didn't pay for the bibles; the Gideons donated them. Besides, said Gov. Deal,
"I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion,” he said. “In fact, any group is free to donate literature.”
Oh? said some sharp kids at American Atheists. Did you say any group? Hey, guys, as it happens, we are a group, and we would just love to donate some literature to be placed in bedside table drawers in Georgia state parks! And so they will be sending the Georgia Department of Natural Resources "enough popular atheist books to place one in every state park cabin in the state."
In a press release, the group acknowledged that it would really prefer that state-owned facilities be oppressively neutral on matters of religion, but if Georgia wants to play this way, sure!
“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,” said President David Silverman.
The books will include Ibn Warraq's Why I Am Not A Muslim, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Madalyn Murray O’Hair's Why I Am An Atheist, and Christopher Hitchens' deliberately not-capitalized just to piss people off god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
Sure, this is totally going to happen, and there will be no butthurt at all among Christians, because it's not like the state would be forcing anyone to read those titles.
On the off chance that you can't grab a copy from the bedside table of a cabin in a Georgia state park, we've included linkies to generate Big Kickback Bucks for Yr Wonkette.UPDATE: Um, yeah, and now those linkies actually WORK. (Lesson learned: a URL that looks OK on Yr Dok Zoom's browser is not necessarily a functioning link for other people.)