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Opening Arguments

Bible dumper

Today's evidence that End Times are near:

Bibles in nightstands are a familiar amenity for hotel guests, but travelers seeking to read their favorite verse at one establishment will be in for a big surprise.

The Damson Dene Hotel, which touts itself as the perfect destination for a “peaceful break away from it all” in England’s picturesque Lake District, is making quite a noise for replacing the Bible with “Fifty Shades of Grey” in its 40 guest rooms.

The steamy novel — part of a trilogy by author E.L. James — has become a worldwide blockbuster thanks in large part to the graphic sex scenes that have its main characters engaging in bondage, sadomasochism and other exploits.

The hotel's owner is quoted as saying that in today's secular society it is "wholly inappropriate" to have a religious book in people's private bedrooms and that he picked "Fifthy Shades of Grey" solely because it was so popular. If that's your attitude, "Fifty Shades . . . " makes perfect sense. It's this year's "Love Story" or "Bridges of Madison County" -- God-awful writing, cardboard characters, preposterous story, but gobbled up like crazy by women desperate for a fantasy life. Trash, in other words.

But in "today's secular society," isn't a religious book in the private bedroom exactly what is needed? You don't have to approach it with devoutness or anything, but it's nice to know that there is something timeless and worth quiet reflection just there in the nightstand to retreat to after coping with the madly changing world outside the hotel room. I do like a good trashy read on vacation, but I'll bring my own choice, thanks.

You can still read the Bible at the Damson Dene, by the way. But the copies are kept at the reception desk, and you have to ask for one. Comes in a plain brown wrapper, probably.