The Bible Society cannot hand out Bibles that have the Olympic logo on the cover at the 2012 Summer Games in London, even though they were able to do so in Communist China just a few years ago.
The Telegraph reported Thursday that the organization, which passed out Bibles with the Olympic logo on the front cover during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, can no longer do so due to Olympic rules concerning the use of the logo. A source from the Games told The Telegraph that the Bibles at the Beijing Olympics "appeared out of nowhere" and "were not approved by the Chinese government."
Rachel Rounds, a spokesperson for the Bible Society, says her organization has printed special sports Bibles that feature pictures of athletes, not an Olympic logo, on the front cover.
"We have printed Bibles...without the logo as we knew we would not get permission to use it mainly because we are not an official sponsor. Therefore we did not even ask for permission in the first place," Rounds said in an email to The Christian Post on Thursday.
The Good News Bible has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, according to the Bible Society's website. The Sports Good News Bibles they have printed also come with 40 full-color pages that help connect issues of faith to sports, and to the athletes who play them.
Although they are not permitted to use the Olympic logo, Rounds hopes the Bible Society will at least be able to hand out the Scriptures during this year's Games.
"We are still negotiating with the Olympic Committee about handing out Bibles during London 2012 – they have not responded yet to that request," she said. "We are not at loggerheads with the Olympic Committee and would welcome the opportunity to hand out Bibles wherever it is appropriate."
Sandrine Tonge, media relations manager for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told CP via email that "the IOC respects all religions equally and there is no promotion of any religion at the Olympic Games."
"With that in mind, we would not produce nor distribute any religious materials," said Tonge. "It is important to point out, however, that the athletes have access to a multi-faith center in the Olympic Village and the relevant religious documentation."
The opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games will take place on July 27 at Olympic Stadium in London.