This is the first post of a series of posts where loyal 'OZ' reader's submit a question for the amazing and powerful Wizard of 'OZ'. I will endeavour to answer the questions as accurately as possible.
Do you have a question where even the mighty Google couldn't help you? Click on the "Contact The Wizard" link in the right column of 'OZ' - The 'Other' Side of the Rainbow, or leave a comment...
Thanks to Michele from Boca Raton, FL for her question: Why are there Gideon Bibles in Hotel rooms?
I found this to be the best answer, provided by TheStraightDope
Many would suspect the Gideon Society has something to do with it.
The Gideons (http://www.gideons.org/), formed in 1899 in Janesville, Wisconsin, are the oldest Christian business and professional men's association in the United States with 130,000 members located in more than 170 countries.
In the early days, most of the Gideons were traveling salesmen who wanted to be effecitve Christian witnesses while on the road. They decided to place a Bible at the reception desk in each hotel they frequented so patrons could borrow it. The Bible also served as a silent witness in these hotels after the Gideons had checked out. Today, the Gideons place more than 45,000,000 bibles annually in prisons, hospitals, military bases and, of course, hotel rooms.
But if you want to know who started the phenomenon of placing Bibles in hotel rooms, the credit goes to the International Bible Society (www.gospelcom.net/ibs/).
Founded in 1809 in New York, the International Bible Society is one of the leading publishers of ethnic scriptures, publishing Bibles in more than 350 languages (the 1810 Bengali translation is still in use in India). The IBS provided Bibles to Civil War soldiers, and, according to communications coordinator Stephanie Nelson, started putting Bibles in hotels in 1823 -- more than 75 years before the Gideons started their ministry.
There is no jealousy or competitive fervor between the groups. Each expresses admiration for the other's work.
You've got to admire both. They just want everyone to curl up with a Good Book.
The Gideons also distributed pocket New Testament copies to students in Canada throught the 1970's. The Wizard has one.
Also feel free to take the bible from a hotel room, they will just replace it.