CARTERSVILLE, Ga. - A member of a national atheist group said Wednesday he is distributing atheist literature to several state parks in Georgia.
Ed Buckner, a former president of American Atheists Inc., said he brought two atheist books for each cottage at Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville. The Cranford, N.J.-based organization had said it would supply atheist texts for lodging in Georgia state parks after the governor said in May any religious group could donate literature.
Bibles were temporarily removed earlier this year after Buckner complained about finding them in a cabin he rented at Amicalola Falls State Park. They were returned after the state attorney general said the books were permissible since the state hadn't paid for them. In May, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered the Bibles returned to state park cabins and said any religious group could donate books.
"American Atheists does not believe the state of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins; however, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials," group president David Silverman said in a statement.
Buckner said Wednesday he was told by officials at Red Top Mountain State Park that the books he dropped off - "The Skeptics Annotated Bible" by Steve Wells and "Fear, Faith, Fact, Fantasy" by Dr. John A. Henderson - wouldn't be immediately put in cottages at Red Top Mountain because the manager would have to make sure they complied with regulations.
Buckner planned to bring copies of those two texts as well as a third one - "Why I Am Not a Muslim" by Ibn Warraq - to A.H. Stephens Historic Park in Crawfordville later Wednesday. He also said he planned to bring atheist texts to other Georgia state parks later in the week.