Georgia has 25 state parks with overnight accommodations. Over the last few days, and again Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources, the agency over the parks, ordered staff to remove all the Gideon Bibles that, for years, have been placed on bedside tables. But, a twist came mid-day as the governor made his opinion known.
"I'm shocked to hear it's an issue at all," Georgia resident Marcus Moon said.
It's a controversy sparked by a single complaint. Georgia DNR officials say a visitor argued it was inappropriate for there to be a Gideon Bible on his cabin's bedside table at Amicalola Falls State Park two weeks ago.
"It's the first complaint I've been aware of," Georgia DNR Spokesperson Lauren Curry said.
But, after several days of considering it, the agency decided it was reason enough to act.
"In abundance of caution in the short term, DNR management requested our park staff to remove the Bibles until the state could fully look into the issue and make a fully informed decision," Curry said.
"It's what's wrong with the United States today. Too many people are getting their own ways. It's not right," Elden Crane said.
"For some reason, we're letting the few dictate to the many on what we should or shouldn't do," Moon said.
Despite strong opposition from many statewide, around lunchtime Wednesday, workers said they were doing what they were told.
We talked to a cleaning crew at Cloudland Cannon State Park who told us they were in the process of removing the bibles, but that's all they could say, and that they were told not to talk to the media.
By early afternoon, Governor Nathan Deal stepped in ordering those same workers put the Bibles back in all the rooms. He released this statement, "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."
Tuesday, April 22 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-04-22 19:13:27 GMT
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