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Georgia orders Bibles back in park cabins; atheist mulls next move

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has ordered that state-run lodges bring back Bibles they had just banned — the latest in a constitutional religion question that surfaced via a complaint from one atheist.

The dispute started when atheist Ed Buckner took his family on vacation at a Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. Their vacation plans included a stay in a state-run cabin, where Mr. Buckner subsequently found a Bible in the nightstand drawer. He complained to park management, which put the wheels in motion for an attorney general investigation, The Associated Press reported.

In the meantime, the state parks department ordered that all Bibles be removed from publicly-funded lodges, AP said.

The attorney general then issued a ruling that the state was not breaking any laws, as taxpayer dollars did not pay for the Bibles — and Georgia could not be accused of First Amendment violation, AP reported.

The governor ordered that the Bibles go back — but Mr. Buckner isn't finished with his legal fight, AP said.

He's now arguing that even if the state didn't pay for the Bibles, it can still be seen as endorsing them. He may test religious freedom laws and place literature from religions outside the Judeo-Christian faith inside the lodges, in accordance with the attorney general's ruling, AP reported.

Mr. Buckner said he would also consider joining a lawsuit if a group with like-minded views of religion wanted to launch one, AP reported.

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