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Deal orders Bibles back to lodges after complaint

POSTED: May 15, 2013 6:23 p.m.

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered Bibles be returned to rooms at state parks Wednesday after the books were removed following a complaint from a guest.

The Department of Natural Resources management instructed staff to remove the books while the issue was investigated.

In a statement, Deal said the state isn’t violating any laws by having the Bibles in the cabins and lodge rooms because they weren’t paid for by the state and have been donated by outside groups.

He said the DNR commissioner removed the books “out of an abundance of caution to avoid potential litigation” but that the attorney general believes the state is on “firm legal footing” in replacing the Bibles.

“I do not believe that a Bible in a bedside table drawer constitutes a state establishment of religion,” Deal said in a news release. “In fact, any religious group is free to donate literature.”

Staff at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawson County referred questions about the issue to the DNR.

Harvey Dunbar, general manager at Unicoi State Park and Lodge in White County, said he was unaware of the issue and that no Bibles were removed from rooms there.

Kim Hatcher, spokeswoman for the state parks, did not return phone calls Wednesday. A voice message on her phone said she would be in meetings and out of the office until today.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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