(Photo “Hotel Room” courtesy of user Flood G. and Flickr).
In an undetected story this week, Fox News shared that Bible placement in hotel rooms is on the decline. Apparently it is unstylish to include the Bible as part of modern décor. In a post-enlightenment, post-Christian culture this news fails to shock most readers. It is to be expected that the Bible is being dethroned from its prominent pedestal in society (placed there by many people merely as an icon to be admired more than followed). While the story itself is unsurprising and much of what was reported is to be expected, the nuances of the article offer further testimony to culture’s disregard for Christianity, and that is what makes this article noteworthy.
The story comes as the result of a recent study undertaken by a hospitality analytics group. Their conclusion was simply that the amount of Bible placements in hotels has dropped. While the Fox News story conflicts with the headline suggesting the result shows less than half of the available rooms have a Bible, the story itself reports that the decline is in the number of hotels offering a Bible. In looking at other sources it appears that the actual survey reports only 48% of hotels offer a Bible. Perhaps this does indeed equate to less than half of the hotel rooms as well, but the fact isn’t clear. What is certain is that 48% of hotels place Bibles in their rooms which is a drop from 95% in 2006. That is an almost 50% decline by that measurement. It’s not so much that this statistic reveals something new, but rather how much affirms what has already been proven true.
Three facts are raised to the level of confirmation, not when reading the report, but when reading the stories that accompany the report.
- Genuine Christianity Is Unstylish: The reason many, especially Marriott, has given for not including Bibles as part of their hotel room inventory is that they are trying to appeal to a younger generation. A Bible is integral to the Christian faith and cannot be divorced from one another. Thus an assertion that the Bible is outdated is to assert also that genuine Christianity is also outdated.
- Genuine Christianity Is Unseen: At one point in the article the following statement is made: “Many newer hotel brands install shelves rather than nightstands with drawers next to the bed, displacing the religious materials’ previously discreet home.” Such a statement communicates much about society’s stance on true Christians. It is OK to believe and to practice it, but only if it is discreetly hidden. The idea of placing a Bible in a hotel room is OK with many, but only so long as it is not visible to those who do not want to see it. The same seems to be true of genuine Christians as well.
- Genuine Christianity is Unacceptable: Finally, hotel chains have said in their appeal to the younger generation, they are less religious than the older generations. It appears that they are also less tolerant. Simply hiding the Bible is not enough, but rather its complete abolition within the hotel room is the only acceptable solution. Certainly, a Bible placed in a hotel room, even one that may be openly placed on a shelf, does not force itself upon the guest, but is only opened and read upon his or her choosing. However, just the mere presence of the Bible is taken as an affront to one’s own beliefs.
You will note that in these three observations, I am direct in my assertion of genuine Christianity. Many claim to be Christian and many claim to speak for Christians, yet their tolerance of sin denies the truth of our Lord. Of this superficial Christianity many are quick to accept, but of the truth that comes as an affront to the culture, they are quick to decry it. It is of this genuine Christianity that our culture sees as antiquated.
There is nothing new in this story. Christianity is counter cultural and always has been. The gospel authors affirm this notion in their portrayal of the life of Christ and society’s rejection of Him. To be surprised by the rejection of Christ, and even the message of Christ, would deny that this has been the historical status of Christianity. Instead, we should come to expect to be so and it should affirm the need to be more firmly rooted in Him.
To read the Fox News story referenced in this article, please click here.