A battle over bibles in Georgia state parks has taken a turn. This week, park rangers were told to remove bibles from all rooms and cabins. But, WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin has more on a change of heart.
It all started with a question from a concerned park patron. The Governor of Georgia says the bibles were taken away as a pre-emptive effort to avoid litigation. Now, he says taking away the good book.. may have been a bad idea.
Park visitor Francine Jarriel explains, “when I'm staying in a cabin or hotel room is to look in a drawer and see if the Gideons have placed a bible in there. It's a source of comfort.” But, her source of comfort has found itself at the center of controversy. Following an expression of concern over bibles being placed in cabins and lodge rooms around the state, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources decided to remove all bibles. At Mistletoe State Park that didn't sit well with visitors. Park visitor Joe Lloyd says, “I personally think it stepped over the bounds a little bit too much, reading too far into it.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal agrees saying, “These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state, and I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion. In fact, any religious group is free to donate literature.”
Within a matter of hours, the bibles were placed back in lodge rooms and cabins cutting short a possible bible battle in the woods. Jarriel says, “we all have our right to worship and if they don't want to read it, they don't have to.”
Park Rangers were not allowed to talk on camera. But they assured me that all bibles have been placed back in the cabins.