Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Update: Breaking The Law By Spanking Your Children

I want to give an update on the whole spanking issue. Recently, a Massachusetts lawmaker proposed a bill that would make that state the first in the country to ban spanking completely. This is absurd and foolish, to be quit honest with you, but this is not the first attempt, and many will follow. If this bill passes, parents could be charged with child abuse or neglect.

If you go to the link containing the news story, you will find a link that says "survey," that allows you to vote whether or not you think that spanking should be banned from Massachusetts. Whenever I voted, the votes where 3408 against the ban and only 177 for the ban. That a ratio of 95% compared to just 5%! Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised, and hopefully it reveals that there are still some parents out there who still have some sense in them. And besides, I think it's obvious that time-outs aren't working!

This whole debate is ample evidence that we are raising a bunch of wimps that will not be ready for the real world.

Comedian Brad Stine makes a good point whenever it comes to this issue. he debunks the idea that by spanking, we are teaching our kids to hit. Such an argument can be made for criminals. By putting criminals in jail, aren't we teaching them to hold people against their will? I'm just trying to be consistent. If we ban spanking, maybe we should ban all forms of punishment, including jails!

Here is a blog I wrote several months ago giving some of the Biblical, philosophical, and other reasons why spanking should be allowed, and why government should stay out of our business.

I don't know how many times when I was young that after I got a spanking for something I did, I would tell myself, "When I have kids, I'm never spanking them." Well, now that I'm married, and every time my wife and I are around family and friends and they ask us about having children, I have began to think more seriously think about the issue. I must say, it took me about a 1/2 second to come to my conclusion: I will spank my kids with or without the governments permission.

Well, there is a new bill in the California legislation that attempts to ban parents from spanking their children under the age of four. The bill was brought up by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, Democrat. If the bill becomes law it would be the first law passed on the issue. Nowhere, in federal, state, or local law, in the nation is there a law that prohibits the act of spanking against children.

We all knew that this day was coming, and we can expect more bills in the future to be proposed, and maybe even passed, by other states. Modern psychology and child rearing has attempted to tell us that spanking only damages the child instead of teaching it responsibility, character, integrity, etc. Well, here's my problem with this bill and why I support spanking:


First, it is a theological issue. This is the main reason why I say that I am going to spank my kids with or without the governments permission. The Bible is very clear that a child must be spanked by the parents when it disobeys. The majority of the verses used are from the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 13:24: "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."

Proverbs 19:18: "Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not see your heart on putting him to death."

Proverbs 22:15: "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far form him."

Proverbs 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."

Hebrews 12:7, 11: "It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?...For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

It is clear then that godly parenting involves spanking and appropriate discipline. The Bible knows nothing of time out or anything like that (not that other methods are wrong). It is clear that the Bible sees spanking as a very important part of raising a child. It must be noted however, the Bible does not suggest beating a child or abusing a child, but appropriate spanking it does support.


I want to ask you, do time-outs really help? I remember when I was a child, time-outs didn't really work on me. I have always considered time-out as an opportunity to rest and get my energy back so that I could go for another round. Now I'm not saying that it never works or that it shouldn't be practiced, but I am asking if it really helps? I don't think it does, and I'm not for sure that there is any credible evidence to support it.

We will oftentimes tell a kid to go take a time-out and think about what they did and why it is wrong. Do you really think that the child is doing that? Usually, their mad that they can't keep going and vow that after their time-out is over, they'll just go at it again.

However, if you spank a child, I know for a fact that the stinging sensation on their backside will get them thinking about what they did and why it's wrong. Though the child may get madder and pout more, it teaches them obedience and submission much better than pleading with them to listen and think about it.

Spanking to me just logically makes sense. I remember not doing things because I knew I would get a spanking. I remember trying to be my best at school, church, etc., because I feared getting a spanking. I did not fear my parents as if they were abusing me, I feared the consequences of my actions. That is godly parenting, and that is exactly the reaction parents should expect whenever they use corporal punishment.

Think about the rowdy, annoying kids you meet in public. You know, the ones that whine and throw a fit whenever their parents don't give them what they want, or want to go home, or whatever. What do you hear the parents say most often? "Wait 'til we get home, your going to take a timeout Mr," or "I want you to sit there and think about what you just did." Now honestly, does that teach the kid anything? I don't think so. But if the child knows that their actions and whining will lead to a spanking, they are more apt to obey and suck it up.


Here is another question I have: How is the government going to enforce this bill if it gets passed into law? Some suggest that parents who spank their children should go to jail for up to a year. Does spanking deserve such a punishment? Should disciplining a child be a crime?

Think about it, are we going to have police monitoring our homes when we punish our children, or watch how we react to our children whenever they are being rude, disobedient, or whining in public? To enforce such a law would cost too much money and waste our time and the governments time. How about passing laws and giving suggestions that actually solves problems like crime, social security, etc. Why waste our time with this?

Anytime the government does something that makes it bigger only creates problems. We can see this in the economy, in society, etc. Whenever the government gets bigger, our freedoms gets smaller. In this situation, the government is essentially telling us that they can raise our children better, and so they must hold our hand while we raise our kids. In fact, some have suggested that first time offenders (give me a break) shouldn't get jail time, but should take a parenting class. You know, where the stuck up elites who are so far out there that they have lost their grasp with reality and treat Freud as a god. They are going to be the ones teaching the classes, not people living in reality.

Are we so worried about the children that we demonize parents? Now, I do not think that we despise parents, but at the same time, we are so engrossed with the innocent children that we almost assume that they never do anything that is deserving of discipline. And thus, we look down on corporal punishment because "innocent" children shouldn't be harmed, we say.


Have such laws and ordinances worked in the past. Well, let's look at one for example: schools. We took prayer and spanking out of schools, and many liberals and Freud lovers thought that this would end much of our problems in society. But has it? Has putting an end to spanking at schools solved our problems or created more? Obviously the latter.

The truth is, since students know that, by law, the teacher cannot touch them makes them more disobedient and more disruptive. I know because I went to a public school. How should a teacher deal with students who are disobedient and disruptive? They can't. The only thing they can do is take them to the office, and they can only send them home, call the parents, or send them to detention. And what a punishment that is. In detention, you get plenty of time to do whatever you want (for the most part). I use to joke that if I ever got behind in class, I would do something that would get me ISD (in school detention) and catch up. And while I was there, and when I got done with everything, I would try to solve world hunger. No wonder I had friends who were in ISD more than in class. That is not the goal of punishment.

When liberalism entered into our schools, they actually believed that they would solve many of our worldly, societal problems. The fact is that they have created more. By taking power out of the hands of teachers and administrators, and now parents, we have only encouraged disobedience in our schools. Is it not by chance that there are more bullies, school shootings, violence, in our schools now than when teachers could spank students? I don't think so. Do we really think that detention and medal detectors are going to put an end to such things? I doubt it.

It is no wonder youth ministers, pastors, mentors, etc. have such a hard time with students. They have been raised in a society where there is no punishment for their actions. Why do what your told if their are no consequences? I know I wouldn't have. This is a fundamental problem with liberalism; it's not practical and it doesn't work.

These are just a few reasons why I am against this bill and support spanking. But I believe that there are some exhortations that are needed when this subject is brought up.


As parents, if you say, "when I get home your going to get spanked for this," or "do it again and your going to get spanked," etc., then you must fulfill your promise. To be inconsistent only encourages the child to continue in their actions because they become convinced that their parents won't do anything. How many times have you heard someone say, "it doesn't matter, their not going to do anything about it." This is not good.

When you say your going to spank, then follow through with it. Also, if one action is deserving of spanking, it is always deserves a spanking.


Obviously, not everything that a child does is worth a spanking. At times giving them a time-out, or grounding them, or sending them to the corner may be good. However, at the same time, do not be afraid to spank whenever the child deserves it.
I do not want to sound like one that thinks that we should be our children. I don't think that at all. I do believe that we should discipline our children, and that the parents are to be in control. I get sick and tired of seeing teenagers talking back to their parents or openly disobey their parents. This is not good. If the child is disobedient to the parents, how do you think they'll act to our laws? Probably with the same attitude.

Well, this is just a little bit of my opinion on the subject. One could obviously say more, but I think this gets my point across. I hate to think that by the time I have children, I may be breaking the law when I spank them. It is a sad day whenever our society throws discipline out the window.

Watch this video, and see how they treats the issue of spanking and the Bible. These "experts" know nothing of the Bible nor how to interpret it. A basic study of Biblical hermeneutics would be beneficial for these people.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Much To Be Thankful For

It seems like every year on the day before Thanksgiving, the media feeds us with bad news. This year, we are being informed about how crappy our economy is; the housing market is in trouble, we might be going in a recession, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer (a template lie fed to us by liberals in this country), etc. They are also telling us that our country is in horrible shape: the world hates us, Bush is destroying us, we're loosing (rather, they want us to loose) in Iraq (actually we are kicking tail everyday over there), etc. And of course, not to mention, human caused global warming.

Despite all of this doom and gloom, we do in fact have much to be thankful for.

The prosperity of this country far exceeds anything any nation has ever experienced in history. And it is available to everybody, and not just to a select few. The fact that everyone has access to the American dream is profound. The oppurtunities in this country are simply amazing. Those who have lived with nothing, have the oppurtunity to make something of themselves. Everday our economy gets better and more oppurtunities are open. As long as the government stays out of everything, the possibilities are endless.

We are also safe. This is something that no citizen in any nation in history can say with certainty. I am not concerned with the war in Iraq right now, rather the reality that we have a nation that is safe. That does not mean that we will never be attacked, for we have been hit on our own soil several times in our history, but Americans do not have to live with the fear of regime change, rebellion, revolution, or attack. We have the greatest military, and we are safer than anyone else in the world.

Finally, we are free. The dream of our founding fathers is being lived out by us hundreds of years later. We are free to speak our minds, serve our God, and vote for who we think is right. We have the freedom to debate and to have our opinion. Let us not forget this gift we have been given. Freedom is not a gift that we deserve, but rather others have fought for it for us.

We must be thankful for living on the greatest nation on earth in history!

As Christians we should rejoice with thanksgiving abundantly. First of all, because we are redeemed. Despite the fact that we are worthless sinners in constant rebellion against our Creator, God nonetheless looked down and redeemed us. Let us never forget this. We do not deserve salvation, for we are wretched. Nor can we earn our salvation. Rather, God offers it freely because He was willing to make His Son a propitiation on our behalf. That is the gospel!

If we had nothing else in the world but to be redeemed, we have more than we could ever deserve.

Not only that, but this same God that has redeemed us has also commissioned us. It is an amazing thing to be used by our Father in Heaven. Despite the fact that we need work, He uses us. He trains us, leads us, changes us, and commissions us. Let us not look at living a godly life and being a witness for His sake to be a burden, but rather a blessing.

As believers we ought to be abundently thankful for all that we have been given.

How could we be so gloomy this weekend? If we realize what we have, we will forever be content. We deserve none of it, and yet we have been given these gifts and oppurtunities. So don't spend this weekend being bitter because the store is out of a certain toy your child wants, but rather be thankful that you have the money, the oppurtunity, and the breath to face the Black Friday craziness!

Be thankful this weekend, for much has been given to us!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mohler: Never in the Closet...The New Face of Homosexuality

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written an interesting article concerning homosexuality in our nation. I encourage you to read it:

The moral landscape of the culture usually shifts slowly, with barely perceptible changes that accumulate over a long period of years. This is not the case in our own times, for the pace of moral change now defies the imagination.

This is especially true when it comes to the issues related to sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. The pace of moral change is now accelerated to the point that it is clearly visible and undeniable.

Evidence for this is found in a recent article published in The Boston Globe Magazine. Entitled, "Easy Out," the article makes the case that today's gay teenagers in Massachusetts find leaving the "closet" very easy -- because they never thought themselves to be closeted as homosexual in the first place.

Reporter Alison Lobron introduces her article with the account of Russell Peck, who declared his homosexuality as a high school freshman at camp:

One day Peck heard several female friends giggling over an attractive older boy, and the next thing he knew, he had joined the conversation. "The girls were talking about how cute he was. I said something like 'Yeah, he is so cute,'" Peck remembers. "It just kind of came out, and I was really startled by it." But his friends were neither startled nor uncomfortable. "They didn't miss a beat," says Peck, now 19 and a freshman at New York University. "They totally accepted me."
Emboldened by his friends' casual reaction, Peck, a slim young man with curly brown hair, told his parents that he was gay. He was only 15. Their response was equally positive and accepting. His mother, Nancy Peck, who lives in Concord, says her only concern was making sure that Russell was "safe, happy, and healthy." Her son shared his news with friends at Concord-Carlisle that fall, joined Spectrum - a school-based discussion club about gay and lesbian issues - and continued, he says, to feel "very comfortable" during his remaining three years of high school.
Lobron explains that a massive shift in the culture's understanding of homosexuality has produced what gay advocates have been promoting for years -- the virtual normalization of homosexuality. Friends, teachers, and even parents respond to declarations of homosexual interest, romance, and more with simple acceptance. Russell Peck's mom just wants him "safe, happy, and healthy." This assumes, of course, that homosexuality is perfectly consistent with "safe, happy, and healthy."

And that is precisely the point, of course. The elites have decided that this is what all the rest of us are missing -- that homosexuality is normal (even among teenagers) and our concern should thus be to make sure that gay teenagers are safe, happy, and healthy.
Lobron extends the argument:

In the relative ease of his coming out, Russell Peck represents what one educator calls the "next wave" of gay and lesbian teenagers: adolescents who have grown up with openly gay teachers, television characters, neighbors, politicians, and even parents and who take for granted the acceptance that earlier generations struggled to achieve. After all, this year's high school freshmen were in elementary school when gays began to marry in Massachusetts; for them, gay marriage is more status quo than radical. Most of today's high school students weren't even born in 1989, the year the US Department of Health and Human Services reported that gay and lesbian teens were two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than straight teens, sparking a wave of activism that has made many schools more tolerant places - and taught parents how to support gay children.

As a result of these cultural shifts, gay and lesbian teens are acknowledging same-sex attraction at ever-younger ages and questioning the concept of both "coming out" and "the closet." Increasingly, their challenges look less like the public health crisis of the 1980s and more like the ones their straight peers have always faced: How do you know when a boy likes you (versus just liking you)? How do you ask a girl out? And what do you do when your mom hears about your new boyfriend from one of her friends at the supermarket?

Everyone must be concerned about the problem of teenage suicides, whatever the cause of the teenager's crisis. The reduction in suicides among Massachusetts young people is truly good news. But the logic that the right way to reduce teenage suicides among those struggling with sexual identity is simply to normalize that identity is a moral revolution in itself -- and a revolution with obvious limits. Are any and all sexual orientations and identities to be normalized? Do we even have a concept of normal that means anything?

Lobron makes the significant observation that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts has meant that this generation of Massachusetts teenagers simply assumes that homosexual unions are normal. This should come as no surprise, for some leading homosexual activists have long argued that this is indeed the main point behind the push for same-sex marriage.

One of the most troubling aspects of Lobron's article is the fact that children as young as 13 are welcomed to groups like the Boston Alliance for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, where they are assured that their same-sex interests are just normal. Just imagine for a moment what that means as a cultural upheaval in itself.

USA Today also produces evidence of this moral shift in an article by Gary Gates on how these changes might play out as a factor in the 2008 presidential race:

Since 1990, the Census Bureau has tracked the presence of same-sex "unmarried partners," commonly understood to be lesbian and gay couples. From an initial count of about 145,000 same-sex couples in 1990, the 2006 data show that this population has increased fivefold to nearly 780,000 couples. The number of same-sex couples grew more than 21 times faster than the U.S. population did. So either gay recruitment efforts have succeeded, or lots more lesbian and gay couples are "coming out" on government surveys.

As a demographer, I say it's the latter. In a 1992 survey by the University of Chicago, 2.8% of men and 1.4% women identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Ten years later, a National Center for Health Statistics study pegged that figure at 4.1% -- almost one-and-a-half times more men and three times more women.


Meanwhile, support for gay people grows. In the late 1980s, Gallup polls found about 30% of Americans thought "homosexual relations between consenting adults" should be legal. A May 2007 poll finds this figure has risen to 59%.

If it's no surprise that Americans are becoming more comfortable living among openly gay men and lesbians, the Census data do pack a wallop that politicians ignore at their peril. Since 1990, the number of self-identified same-sex couples in Mountain, Midwest and Southern states has averaged a sixfold increase. Compare that with the more liberal East and West Coasts, where increases have been less than fourfold.

All this calls for a new awareness among evangelical Christians of how much has changed around us. Our challenge as a people committed to biblical truth has never been greater or clearer. The normalization of homosexuality is just taken as a fact by so many in our society today -- especially among those in younger ages.

Evangelical Christians must meet this challenge with both biblical truth and a keen eye on the cultural shifts around us. Our current challenge is not only to tell the truth about homosexuality, but to recover any notion of a moral norm when it comes to sexuality. That will take more intellectual energy than the evangelical movement has yet devoted to this task.

Commitment? What's That?: Recovering Marriage in a Culture That Took It Out of It's Vocabulary - Part 2

Divorce is a big business now. According to recent surveys, most marriages end up in divorce. Therefore, most children grow up in broken homes. What a sad testament for an "enlightened" society! So much for secularism and liberalism; it only tears down homes and leaves children without a parent (sometimes both).

Western society is obsessed with divorce. It is the direct result of human laziness. Thanks to feminism and other liberal movements in the West, couples don't see the point in "sticking with it." I mean, why should a guy remain in a relationship whenever he is only needed to supply sperm? Feminist are arguing that men are needed at all, let alone in the raising of children. And now, with the rise of homosexuality, marriage and commitment isn't necessary about children, but satisfying the self.

This is the problem with homosexuality: the motive. Many homosexual men crave sex without commitment, and therefore, date someone of the same gender with the same mindset. This is why many homosexual men have so many partners. It's about satisfying the self, not meeting the needs of their partner. Women are no different. Though homosexual men crave sex without commitment, lesbians crave affection and a companion with less sex. Again, it isn't about meeting the needs of one's partner, but having your own needs being met.

But don't assume this is only the case with homosexuals. Heterosexuals are no different. A thriving, healthy marriage isn't about whether or not your partner is meeting your needs, but rather, are you meeting theirs. Perhaps this is why marriage is so hard. A good marriage means giving up everything for the sake of the other. Our culture has lost this mindset. No wonder the divorce rate is so high.

Nowadays, getting a divorce is as easy as shopping on ebay. Anyone can do in just a few minutes. Some treat divorce as part of the process of finding that special someone, completely neglecting the covenant they made before God in the marriage they are leaving.

Divorce has never been healthy and beneficial for anyone, and yet our society acts like it is a wise option. Tell that to the children who don't know their father. Tell that to the teenagers who don't have a male influence in their life, while their single mom, working two jobs to make ends meet are having a hard time raising their children on their own.

So much for the sexual utopia movement! Broken relationships never mend anything, they only tear things apart. I should know, I'm a youth pastor. I can't tell you how many teenagers and children I meet and minister too who simply need a man in their lives. I don't know how many I meet that hate going home because their parents can look at each other without starting an argument.

I often wonder what this broken home generation will be like whenever they have kids.

In fact, I think I already know. Like Europe, America will likely follow in the trend of increasingly not getting married and not having children. The average European couple might have one child, and they might be married. And that's a big might! But why should they? Everything they saw in their parents own raising of children and struggling (oftentimes failed) marriage is something they don't want to experience. So why bother?

Well, here is more evidence of our on-demand-divorce-society. First, the West has introduced it's first Divorce Fair. I remember whenever I was engaged how my future wife dragged me to a wedding fair. For one, it was held in Rupp Arena, the home of the Kentucky Wildcat basketball team, and I am no fan of the Wildcats, I'm a Louisville Cardinal fan. Secondly, it was the Protestant equivalent of purgatory. I guess I had to go through it just earn treasures in heaven. :o)

My wife and mother had a blast, while I spent the entire time trying to keep the workers at the dancing booths from getting me to let them show me how to ball dance!

But instead of just wedding fairs, Austria is offering the world's first Divorce Fair. And no wonder. Divorce is a big business now. There, couples who see the end in sight, will have access to lawyers, detectives to catch their spouse cheating on them, divorce counselors (you know, to tell you that it wasn't your fault), and even people willing to test the DNA of your children to see who the father is.

Have we really sunk this far? Grant it, it is only happening in Austria, but don't be so naive and assume that it won't happen here. We are no different whenever it comes to undermining the original intent of marriage. We care more about our careers, than about Saturday morning cartoons with the kids and romantic dinners with your spouse.

A divorce fair is right up our alley. Why not? Anytime the going gets tough, we get going!!!! We are so spoiled that a little turbulence in our marriages and parenting makes us assume that we are crashing, and we therefore jump out.

Here's a simple lesson in marriage and relationships (and even in life in general): hard times and struggles, whenever we make it to the end, draw a couple closer together, not farther. But first, we've got to grow up, stop acting like selfish children, and make it to the end.

As if a Divorce Fair wasn't enough, you can now get a divorce online! And this is in America! Now, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home to divorce your spouse. Imagine what a surprise that might be whenever one's spouse comes home and find that their marriage "partner" has been online printing off divorce papers!

Here again, we see the carelessness of marriage. We treat everything in our society as optional. Marriage is optional, commitment is option, work is optional (cause you can always get Uncle Sam to pay your bills), and parenting is optional. I'm waiting for Webster to remove "commitment" from his dictionary!

It's a crazy world we live in, and it will only get worse. Remember what the Bible says about depravity: man will do whatever it takes to live for himself and make sin legal, normal, common, and accepted. So we shouldn't be surprised by this trend, it will only get worse. Between the 7 year itch proposal, a divorce fair, and divorce online, it is hard to imagine how our society could get worse in this area. But never doubt human depravity. Where there's a will, there will be way. And our society is looking for a way out.

Orthodoxy has been thrown out the window postmodernity has replaced it. And look at where it is taking us!
I have also reposted a blog I did years ago before I had a blog site. I put it on my Shortblog. Click here to read it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mohler: From the Bible to "Intimacy Kits" -- Goodbye to the Gideons?

It's amazing how "don't offend" me society is quickly becoming more and more secularized. We can see it in our politics, our favorite shows/movies, our music, our games, and now, our hotels. Out of fear of not offending others, many hotels across the nation are increasingly not allow the Gideon Bibles to be placed in their hotel rooms. Heaven forbid we offend someone!

But what will replace this great tradition of our faith confronting the culture? Things that are more of necessity I guess. Some hotel rooms have already replaced the Bible with Al Gore's global warming book, "An Inconventant Truth." Now, they are being replaced by things like condoms, erotic games, tickets to local nightclubs, I-pods, and even a goldfish. It seems, yet again, that our oversexed culture has made it's decision: morality or sexuality. And it has chosen sex.

I have been to my fair share of hotel rooms over the years, and I always check for a Gideon Bible. Although I always try to take my Bible with me on trips, sometimes I forget, and so their Bibles are of immense importance to me. But now, it seems, instead of a Bible, I might open the drawer and find the latest sex game craze. That will be awkward if I'm traveling with my youth group or a group of my male friends!

I find it interesting that out of fear of offending those who don't believe in Christianity and/or the Bible, they have replaced them with something that is equally offensive to Christians. That's the way our culture of "don't offend me" works. If it is Christianity that offends you, we will respond by normalizing offending Christianity. Somehow that seems fair to our culture.

Here is yet another example of the culture that we live in and the fact that it isn't going to get any easier to be a Christian. No longer will it be the norm.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written an article concerning this development. He makes some excellent points, and I encourage you to read what he has to say. I want to reiterate what Mohler says at the end of his article, "Think of this the next time you are in a hotel room. Check the bedside table for a Gideons Bible. When you find one, thank the hotel management. And, when you have the opportunity, thank the Gideons."


No more Gideons Bibles in hotel rooms? That is the point of an article published in the online edition of Newsweek. Reporter Roya Wolverson explains that the trend in upscale hotels is to include no Bible among the room furnishings.

The Gideons, founded in 1899, have distributed millions of Bibles and New Testaments in scores of languages worldwide. The availability of a Bible in millions of hotel rooms is explained by the fact that Gideons International was founded after two traveling businessmen met as both were staying in a hotel in 1898. After discovering that both were Christians they shared their evening devotional together. Later, along with a third man, they agreed to start a ministry devoted to the needs of the traveling public. This led to their spectacularly successful effort to get the Bible into millions of hotel rooms.

Now, it seems, some hotel chains think the Bible no longer belongs in the hotel room:

In the rooms of Manhattan's trendy Soho Grand Hotel guests can enjoy an eclectic selection of underground music, iPod docking stations, flat-screen TVs and even the living company of a complimentary goldfish. But, alas, the word of God is nowhere to be found. Unlike traditional hotels, the 10-year-old boutique has never put Bibles in its guest rooms, because "society evolves," says hotel spokeswoman Lori DeBlois. Providing Bibles would mean the hotel "would have to take care of every guest's belief."

What might be surprising to many Americans is that the Bible-free room isn't a development just in hip New York City hotels. Across the country upscale accommodations are doing away with the Bible as a standard room amenity. And in its stead have arrived a slew of "lifestyle" products that cater to a younger, hipper (and presumably less religious) clientele. Since 2001 the number of luxury hotels with religious materials in the rooms has dropped by 18 percent, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The Nashville-based Gideons International, which has distributed copies of the Christian scripture to hotels since 1908, declined to comment on this trend.

This is just another dimension of our cultural situation. These days, providing (or allowing) Bibles furnished in hotel rooms is potentially controversial. As the spokesperson quoted above implied, allowing the Bible and not allowing other materials might be seen as pushing an agenda.
This is sad, but it is also a sign of the times. Gladly, not all chains and hotels have followed this example. The fact is that many persons have come to faith in Jesus Christ by reading a Bible supplied to their hotel room by the Gideons. Many others have turned to the Bible when in crisis. Some have even decided against suicide when they read from the Gideon's Bible. Are they now to look for salvation and solace from an iPod docking station or a goldfish?
Wolverson reports further:

The reason for hotels' shift in focus? Leisure travel is up, business travel is down, and younger generations are entering the hotel market. Leisure now leads business by more than 10 percent in U.S. hotel stays, according to travel research firm D. K. Shifflet & Associates. With the lead in technology, design and nightlife, the boutique market is where Generations X, Y and young baby boomers want to be, says CEO Doug Shifflet. And with the boutique sector booming (boutique hotel rooms have grown by 23 percent since 2001, compared to only 7 percent for standard rooms), more traditional chains, which once catered to business clientele, are now desperate to emulate.

So the hotels want to be hip, and the presence of a Bible in the drawer is unhip? Perhaps this section of Wolverson's report explains the impetus:

Edgier chains like the W provide "intimacy kits" with condoms in the minibar, while New York's Mercer Hotel supplies a free condom in each bathroom. Neither has Bibles. Since its recent renovation, the Sofitel L.A. offers a tantalizing lovers' dice game: roll one die for the action to be performed (for example, "kiss," "lick") and the other for the associated body part. The hotel's "mile high" kit, sold in the revamped gift shop, includes a condom, a mini vibrator, a feather tickler and lubricant. The new Indigo hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., a "branded boutique" launched by InterContinental, also has no Bibles, but it does offer a "One Night Stand" package for guests seeking VIP treatment at local nightclubs and late checkout for the hazy morning after.

So it turns out that the real story is not just the absence of the Bible in many hotel rooms, but the presence of very different materials, from complimentary condoms to erotic dice games. That does help to explain things.

This development is another reminder that we are living in a time of tremendous cultural and moral change. The absence of Gideons Bibles from an increasing number of hotel rooms tells us something about the secularization, sexualization, and extreme sensitivities of our age.
It also tells us that there will be no Bibles available in those hotel rooms when travelers need them, and that is a tragedy by any measure.

Think of this the next time you are in a hotel room. Check the bedside table for a Gideons Bible. When you find one, thank the hotel management. And, when you have the opportunity, thank the Gideons.