Things That Matter

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Organization Spreading The Bible Via Hotel Rooms Around The World

There are some things that are just so normal, we never question how it came to be normalized. One day, historians will ponder this in regards to immigrant detention camps in America, but I digress. Once upon a time, the dusty drawer in your hotel room’s nightstand laid bare. That trusty Holy Bible was nowhere to be found, and likely, people weren’t looking for it.

So in a capitalist economy like the U.S.’s where supply and demand reign as the key influencers in the world around us, how did every hotel in America, and, subsequently, the world, come to guard a Bible? We highly doubt that reading the Bible on your vacation is anywhere nearly as commonplace as the actual Bibles. Here’s what we found out.

It all started in the fall of 1898 when two traveling salesmen met in a Wisconsin hotel room…

By Jonathunder – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

John H. Nicholson of Janesville, Wisconsin and Samuel E. Hill of Beloit, Wisconsin found themselves as strangers in a crowded Central Hotel in Boscobel, Wisconsin. The two ended up being forced to share a room. The two shared pleasantries and soon realized they were both devout Evangelical Christians. They joked about creating an association of traveling Christian businessmen.

The following May, they met again at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to firm up their idea: create a men’s group for traveling Christian salesmen.

“A Lasting Vision.” Digital Image. Gideons. 10 September 2019.

That July, Nicholson and Hill brought a third member, William J. Knights, to a YMCA in Janesville. There, they hoped to recruit more members, but nobody else would join them. Their first meeting was just the three of them, during which they divvied up roles. Hill would be the President, Knights the Vice President, and Nicholson the Treasurer and Secretary. 

They prayed together on a name and Knights heard God’s answer: “We shall be called Gideons.”

Untitled. Digital Image. Gideons. 10 September 2019.

The Book of Judges shares the story of a man named Gideon who was recruited by God to lead his small army of 300 men against an enormous army. Their faith led them to gain victory over the much larger army. Their membership grew over the years, mainly consisting of traveling Christian businessmen. 

In 1908, they started leaving the first free Bibles in hotel rooms of the Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana. Today, the organization has grown to 200 countries, territories, and possessions and is known as Gideons International. Its website maintains that the foundation is based on a perceived need that “people today need someone to come alongside them in finding their way to true salvation that is available only through the grace of God.”

Still, only men are allowed to hand out Bibles. Women can only serve as auxiliaries to the men, as their wives.

“A Unique Focus” Digital Image. Gideons. 10 September 2019.

The organization boasts more than 269,500 Gideons and distribution of over 2 billion Bibles around the world. Gideons International describes themselves as “an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments.” The organization acknowledges that they’re best known for leaving Bibles in hotels, but want you to know that they also “place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.” 

To elaborate, they also distribute Bibles to “hotels, motels, hospitals, convalescent homes, medical offices, domestic violence shelters, prisons, and jails.” Also, members of The Gideons will personally hand out a free Bible to “police, fire, and medical personnel; prisoners; military personnel; students in the fifth grade and above.”

This is where it gets even more cringy.

“A Worldwide Impact.” Digital Image. Gideons. 10 September 2019.

Their website is littered with images of Black children in presumably African nations holding up free Bibles. The Gideons were founded by a group of white men and has evolved into a group of men “and their wives” proselytizing to young children of color. The presumption that their culture’s spirituality trumps another’s is spiritual colonization of the 21st century. In fact, the ACLU has gotten involved in a case against Gideons International for going into public schools and proselytizing to children in the 5th grade and above. 

But, hey, we’re glad our abuelas are comforted by the free spiritual literature found in their hotel rooms.

Credit: Public Domain

Next time they thank God for the Bible in their hotel room drawer, you can remind her that the man who placed the Bible there, wouldn’t allow her to hand the same treasured book to someone else.

READ: 10 Folk Religions You Didn’t Know Existed In Latin America And The Caribbean

People On Twitter Are Sharing Their Hilarious Moments Of Catholic Guilt

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People On Twitter Are Sharing Their Hilarious Moments Of Catholic Guilt

Latina / Pinterest

Ah. Catholic guilt. It’s the thing that keeps you up at night after missing a phone call with your Abuela and submitting to your mom’s demands that you drag your feet to church with her on any given Sunday. No matter where you are in your life, whatever parts of your faith you’ve cast aside, it sticks with you like eucharist to your tongue.  After all, catholic guilt is like living with your own personal nun who speaks truths and anxieties into your ear for the rest of your life. She asks if it’s real worth it to risk eternal hellfire for that one white lie or speeding in a neighborhood. Here are all of the times, Catholic guilt really got you.

The first time you start to think that sex before marriage might be caca?

And your Catholic school teachings snap your right back in for a few more years. Of course, through ought these years you experiment with a lot of “self-care” which you also feel guilty about. TBH you probably also used your virginity and ceasing to stop flicking the ol’ bean as a bartering chip for waiting to have sex too. 

When it feels so wrong that it feels so good.

“We all know catholic guilt is why we are kinky mfs”. And you KNOW that all of those years of delayed gratification led to a world full of weird kinks and freaks that you might even feel a little guilty for being into now. 

When the weather feels great but global warming.

“I know a lot of people are confused by the commingling emotions of “this weather feels so good,” and “we will pay for this and the earth is for sure dying,” so for those uninitiated I would like to say welcome to Catholic guilt” – @ohJuliatweets. You know global warming is a problem and yet, you can’t help but thank the stars for how warm it’s been this winter season. 

It’s the thing that walks with you in life like that story of Jesus’s feet on the beach.

https://twitter.com/Danyul_manyul/status/1214660728751370249

“Not ever dealing with catholic guilt and shame.”

It haunts you years and years later.

“When I was 22, I pretended the Nsync/Britney Spears cd I was buying at McDonalds drive-thru was for my 4 year old niece in the backseat becuz I was embarrassed. I still feel bad about that. Just in case anyone wonders what Catholic guilt feels like & how long it lasts. FOREVER!!”

And don’t get it twisted, Catholic guilt will be there with you through thick and thin. 

Because it will come for you in the A.M. 

It pops back at you when it’s time to eat.

So you never overindulge without feeling extremely guilty for it. In fact, you probably feel way worse after years of being told about all of the starving kids in Africa.

President Trump Worshipped With Latino Evangelicals While Shoring Up Support For 2020 Reelection

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President Trump Worshipped With Latino Evangelicals While Shoring Up Support For 2020 Reelection

guillermomaldonado / Instagram

While there are some mixed opinions about what it means to be an evangelical Christian, at the core, this label represents someone who’s beliefs are guided by scripture. They abide and believe everything the Bible says both the good and the bad. One of the most significant beliefs of an evangelical Christian is that they’re anti-abortion. It is that crucial reason why many evangelical Christians voted for President Donald Trump and continue to support him today. Yet, even that community is crumbling around Trump due to his moral conduct. Yet still, there’s still a hardcore Christian community that is Team Trump, and many of them are Latino. 

On Jan. 3, President Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event hosted by a Latino evangelical Christian community in Miami. 

Credit: guillermomaldonado / Instagram

Thousands came out to hear Trump speak at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami last week, where he not only addressed matters of the church but also of his attack against Iranian military leader Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

“America was not built by religion-hating socialists,” Trump said, according to the Washington Post. “America was built by churchgoing, God-worshiping, freedom-loving patriots.”

He went on to say, “Evangelicals . . . have never had a greater champion, not even close in the White House, than you have right now. Just look at the record, because we’ve done things that nobody thought was possible.”

If you’re wondering why some Latinos support Trump despite having an anti-Latino and anti-immigrant agenda, it’s pretty simple. They don’t actually see it that way.

Credit: @abigailmarone / Twitter

Guillermo Maldonado, president of the King Jesus International Ministry, said in an interview with Miami Herald that Trump isn’t out to harm Latinos. 

“I ask you: Do you think I would do something where I would endanger my people?” Maldonado said. “I’m not that dumb.” 

About last week’s event, Maldonado commented on Instagram, saying, “It was a blessing to see such unity in the body of Christ. I had the honor of leading a prayer where we declared God’s kingdom and His will for the United States and President @realdonaldtrump, as the Bible states in 1 Timothy 2:1.”

That verse, if you’re wondering, states, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Latino conservatives also say that backing Trump isn’t just about being anti-abortion. They also support other policies by the president.

Credit: @CapehartJ / Twitter

“We’re pro-life. We want criminal justice reform. We want educational equity. We want a healthy economy,” Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, told Religion News Service this week. “Because we’re not one-issue voters, people think if they come to us with talking points, they’re gonna get us — no.” He added: “They need to have a holistic agenda that addresses the variety of issues that are important to us, both as evangelicals and Hispanics.”

Trump’s visit with Latino Christians comes at an interesting time. Before Christmas, the editorial board of Christianity Today said Trump should be removed from office. 

Credit: @CTmagazine / Twitter

The announcement by the prominent Christian publication came soon after Trump’s impeachment. Their anti-Trump stance left many, saying “it was about time” while also motivating the Trump campaign to focus on black and Latino Christians for their 2020 vote

“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” Mark Galli, the editor in chief of Christianity Today, wrote in the editorial. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Yet still, it’s hard to speculate if Trump will cause a major shift within the Christian community and among minorities, especially because many are leaving the church.

Credit: @QuinnBrenneke / Twitter

Pew Research shows that the Christian church doesn’t have as many followers as it used to. “Currently, 43 percent of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51 percent in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20 percent) are Catholic, down from 23 percent in 2009.” 

Having said that, he still has a firm grasp on the Latino vote. A new poll released by Telemundo shows that “25 percent of Latinos say they would vote to reelect Trump.” In 2016, it was 26 percent, which means Trump’s actions or words since his election has not changed their minds. 

READ: Atheist And Non-Religious Latinos Are Growing In Numbers