Saturday, May 20, 2006

No worries - Bibles banned in Queensland hospitals

Bibles have been banned from hospital bedsides in Queensland because health bosses fear they will offend non-Christians. The controversial move has outraged religious leaders, who have branded the decision "multiculturalism gone mad".

Hospitals in Brisbane are among the first to stop the Gideons testaments being left in patients' bedside tables. Staff said the Bibles were no longer in keeping with the "multicultural approach to chaplaincy", while some claimed the Bibles were removed because they were a source of infection.

Royal Brisbane chaplain John Pryce-Davies said: "We used to keep Bibles in patient's lockers but multiculturalism kicked in and we had to remove them. Now we only provide Bibles when they are requested by people and Gideons no longer have permission to deliver their Bibles. Our policy is that when a patient leaves hospital they return the Bible to us or take it home with them - we don't want them left in the lockers. That way, other faiths don't have to worry about finding a Bible there."

Hospital spokeswoman Tanya Lobegeier said: "If someone has a cold or anything and uses the Bible their germs could be passed on to the next person who reads it. No one wants to go in the drawer to clean a Bible after every single person leaves."

Princess Alexandra spokeswoman Kay Toshach said Bibles were available only on request. "We don't have Bibles by the bedside because of the issue of cleaning, and possibly that they may not be in keeping with the multicultural society we are in now," she said.

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