JONATHAN Denby, the quirky owner of a quirky Lake District hotel in the UK has annoyed a local vicar – and no doubt a great many other Bible-thumpers – by replacing Gideons with an erotic novel.
The irreverent wag’s decision to substitute the Bibles with copies of Fifty Shades of Grey – a 2011 erotic novel by British author E L James at the Damson Dene Hotel was criticised by the Rev Michael Woodcock, the parish priest at a local church, who said:
It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.
Um … is the vicar unaware of the fact that the Bible, according to this report:
Contains so much graphic eroticism that parents may want to keep the sacred text away from youth under age 18.
The report was about 2,000 Hong Kong residents who called on a Chinese Decency Commission to restrict the Bible to adults only:
Because it contains passages that seem to give the okay to incest, rape, adultery and a father offering his daughters to strangers for sexual gratification.
Denby, on his blog, said of Fifty Shades of Grey:
I’m told it’s a ripping good yarn and everyone who’s in the target audience loves it. This made me wonder about the sense of providing a book, the Gideon Bible which no-one reads, and many dislike, in the bedside cabinet of our hotel bedrooms, instead of a book which everyone wants to read, such as Fifty Shades of Grey.
My decision has attracted quite a bit of media interest and we have spent much of the day talking to the press and TV about it (see here and here). In this secular age it seems distinctly odd that anyone would expect to find a religious book in a hotel bedroom.
But I won’t be giving all our Gideon bibles to the Help The Aged charity shop – I’ll keep a couple behind the reception desk so that if any guest whose preferred bedtime reading happens to be the bible finds that they have forgotten to pack their copy, they’ll be pleased to read in the guest handbook that they can borrow a copy from the receptionist.
In this report, Denby said he purchased the hotel from a Methodist group about a decade ago.
Because everybody is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.
Hat tip: Pete H