American Atheists Fight State of Georgia Over Bibles in State Parks

| by Michael Allen
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The American Atheists of Cranford, N.J. want their books about atheism to be placed next to Gideon Bibles inside every cabin and lodge in Georgia state parks.

The American Atheists, a nonprofit organization, recently complained to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources about nine bibles that were found inside one cabin.

In response, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources decided to remove all of the Bibles that had been donated by the Gideons International, an interdenominational Christian association.

Last Wednesday, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and Gov. Nathan Deal told the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to return every Bible.

"Out of an abundance of caution to avoid potential litigation, the commissioner removed the Bibles from rooms, though they were still available on site, after a complaint from a visitor. The attorney general and I agree that the state is on firm legal footing as we move to return the Bibles to the rooms," said a statement from Gov. Deal's office.

"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 group is free to donate literature."

According to, in response to Gov. Deal, Amanda Knief, managing director of American Atheists, said: "We appreciate the governor's invitation to place atheist books in the cabins and look forward to providing visitors with the opportunity to learn more about atheism when they visit Georgia's beautiful state parks."

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, stated: "American Atheists does not believe the state of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins. However, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials."

Some of the materials include atheist books: "God is not Great" by Christopher Hitchens and "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

Sources: and Reuters