Thursday, February 20, 2014

ADF responds to ISU, Wisconsin U. administrators who caved to atheist group and removed bibles from guest rooms:bibles not unconstitutional

A follow-up to Deacon Mike and Gina discussion last Tuesday on Faith On Trial: The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has sent letters to Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin this week after the schools needlessly removed Bibles from all university guest rooms after receiving complaints from an atheist group.

Freedom from Religion Foundation complained that allowing groups like Gideons International, a Christian organization, to place Bibles in guest rooms violated the First Amendment. The Alliance Defending Freedom letters debunk those claims, explain that the Bibles do not violate the Constitution, and encourage the universities to restore the Bibles to the guest rooms rather than surrender to the atheist group’s unfounded legal threats and inaccurate demands.

“Public universities, which are the marketplaces of ideas, should understand that the First Amendment does not require them to purge something from campus just because it happens to be religious. Rather, the Constitution requires them to accommodate religion,” said Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham. “The Bibles can legitimately stay because their presence in guest rooms is simply a discrete way of accommodating the needs of traveling guests. They are in no way a government promotion of religion.”

The ADF letters to the universities state, “In reality, the First Amendment does not require you to remove these Bibles, and by removing them, you may have demonstrated the very viewpoint discrimination and hostility towards religion that the First Amendment prohibits…. The Supreme Court and numerous other federal courts have repeatedly condemned efforts to exclude or restrict religious materials and activities as viewpoint or content discrimination, both at universities and elsewhere.”

“By allowing Bibles to be placed in their guest rooms, these universities were not unconstitutionally promoting religion to guests but were merely serving their guests’ needs and desires,” added Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “The Freedom From Religion Foundation neglected to mention that no court has ruled that universities who provide these Bibles violate the First Amendment. Universities should not allow themselves to be browbeaten into taking unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional actions

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