Is this the end of the Gideon hotel Bible?

I was on a recent trip to Los Angeles – hardly the Bible Belt – when curiosity struck. I slid open the bedside table at my downtown hotel and there it was: a Holy Bible, placed by the Gideons. Later in the trip, at a second hotel, the book had some company in the Book of Mormon.

Huh, I thought. That’s still a thing?

It turns out the presence of hotel-room Bibles is still very much a thing, even as hotels streamline their in-room offerings, smartphones offer as much religious content as any devotee could wish for, and the number of Americans who profess Christianity has fallen.

While some individual hotel brands have made news for rejecting the tradition, a survey from hospitality research company STR showed that 65% of responding hotels still offered in-room religious materials in 2018, the most recent year for which data was available.

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