Saturday, August 4, 2012

Denied a hotel room by atheist proprietor in London

This is no cooked up story. I really was locked out of booking a hotel room in London! While my dear wife was in the process of booking two nights in a London bed and breakfast for me, the booking was first accepted then rejected. We rechecked the calender for the days I was booking and it still indicated the proprietor had room vacancies for the days I needed a room. When I sent a query to the inn, I had this amazing reply from the proprietor (I changed her name).

Hi Douglas,
I hope this doesn't sound too strange but I kind of think of myself as a total atheist...I love my Catholic mother dearly but still manage to fight with her every Christmas with regards to our views on religion...and wouldn't want to inflict this upon a guest. I hope you understand. I am not in the practice of being 'selective' on faith but feel from your profile yours takes a very active part in your day to day life.
Best wishes,

Here was my reply:

Hi [Elizabeth],
I travel a good deal, and this is a first for me. I am a big fan of individual freedom, including the right of a proprietor of an inn to be selective about who she permits to board at her establishment. I do find one thing a bit curious, however. There is the preferred public perception that Christians are the intolerant ones and atheists are the unstinting champions of diversity and tolerance. But I guess not in this case? Perhaps we have this in common: Each of us hold to beliefs that take a very active part in our day to day life--including making decisions like the one you have made, and I enthusiastically support your right to make it. But you've given me something to muse on: Do atheists actually believe and practice their own creed of tolerance and diversity, or simply employ the rhetoric? I assure you I have no hard feelings and wish you all the best,

Pray with me that God by his gracious and sovereign Spirit will open the eyes of this woman... and that I can find a room for two nights in London before the hymn tour folks arrive!


  1. Hi Douglas Thanks for the reply. As a Christian (Believer and follower) I sometimes get a bad vibe when I see what some Christians do in this world as a witness. You did well. Yes respond and do so with respect and honesty. You may be planting seeds for God to use.


    The Chik fil a support in the States is an example of christian response. I use small letters to say the supporters may all go to church but do they love the Lord so much it shows.

  2. If we lived in London, we'd be happy to give you a room! As it happens, Lewis may be a bit far for you to travel ;)

    Nothing is too hard for the Lord - isn't it in His sovereign mercy that any of us can say that we are His.

  3. A good reply. Christians need to learn this more balanced way of replying to counter that over reaction which Steve mentioned. If we believe that we should be able to worship as we wish then we have to give other people the same right. I liked the way you pointed out her double standard in a gentle way.

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  5. That's pretty cool that someone you've never met knows that your faith "takes a very active part in your day to day life." I only hope that Christ shines so clearly through me!

  6. Hello
    This is the girl from the bus.. Or the wrong bus.. Fancy running into a writer as u on a bus.. Would definitely read ur blog.
    My lil blog is in there too.
    I will take this as a calling and try to write more ..

  7. That's bad!!!! When you think of the terrible trouble some B&B owners got into, here in the UK, for refusing to have homosexuals stay, and this lady refused you because you were a Christian??? If that happened to a Muslim or atheist, there would be a public outcry!!

  8. Such a great response!! I posted this on THC!

  9. Good response, Doug. But the logic is that she refused your room on the basis she may be an ungracious host. Would that work the other way round, then? Could you refuse a room to a gay couple because you might argue with them and the resulting tension may mean that they might be better off elsewhere?