Gideon donated Bible
Ed Buckner, past President of American Atheists
Bedroom of cabin at Red Top Mountain State Park
Empty cabin drawer at Red Top Mountain State Park
Cabin at Red Top Mountain State Park
ATLANTA - The man behind the controversy over Bibles in Georgia state park cabins isn't sure he will accept a compromise being developed by state officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal.
"I didn't go looking for trouble; I didn't go looking for media attention; I did not go looking for a lawsuit," Ed Buckner told 11Alive on Monday.
In his first TV interview about the controversy, the former President of American Atheists told 11Alive News he and his family were just trying to have a vacation last month.
But when he noticed nine Bibles donated by the Gideons in their rented cabin at Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge, he filed a formal complaint.
He believes religious materials have no business in a state-owned facility.
"If it was an atheist book in every cabin in the State of Georgia, I would object to that, too," Buckner told 11Alive.
Thanks to Buckner's objection, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources removed all Bibles from state park cabins and lodges, but last week Gov. Nathan Deal ordered them put back.
"I do not favor the removal of Bibles from these public facilities in the State of Georgia," Deal said on Wednesday.
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The Governor's Office said they are working with State Attorney General Sam Olens and the DNR to try to come up with a compromise solution that could include allowing free materials in the cabins from other religious groups.
The American Atheists put out a news release saying they are sending Georgia some of their materials to be included.
But their past President told 11Alive he's not sure it could be done fairly enough.
"How do you decide; are Wiccans allowed to put their materials in, are the Muslims allowed to put in Korans, are the Scientologists allowed to put in their materials?" Buckner asked.
He would prefer "neutral" cabins with no religious material in them, but said he will wait to see the state's solution before deciding whether to pursue a possible lawsuit.