AMES, Iowa — Officials at Iowa State University have decided to give the Bible the boot out of its Memorial Union hotel rooms following demands from a prominent atheist organization.
The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had sent a letter to the university last month, citing an anonymous complaint. The organization then asserted that the presence of the Bibles signified the promotion of Christianity by a government-0wned university.
“If a state-run university has a policy of providing a Christian religious text to guests, that policy facilitates illegal endorsement of Christianity over other religions and over nonreligion,” the letter, written by FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott, read. “Providing Bibles to Memorial Union guests sends the message that ISU endorses the religious texts. Including Bibles sends the message to non-Christian and non-religious guests that they should read the Bible…”
The organization then requested that the Bibles be removed.
Last week, Memorial Union Director Richard Reynolds responded to the correspondence via email, advising that the university would comply with FFRF’s request.
“The concern you raised about the availability of Bibles in the guest rooms of the Memorial Union has been taken under advisement and, effective March 1, 2014, the Bibles will be removed from the hotel rooms,” he wrote, noting that officials will move the Bibles to the university library.
Following receipt of the email, FFRF issued a news release stating that it had “scored another victory for secularism.”
“We’re delighted to see reason and the Constitution prevailing,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We can all sleep easier knowing secularism is being honored at our public universities.”
“Many nonbelievers greatly object to its primitive and dangerous instructions to beat children, kill homosexuals, atheists and infidels,” she added, “and that it sanctions the subjugation of women, who are scapegoated for bringing sin and death into the world.”
As previously reported, FFRF likewise convinced the University of Wisconsin last month to remove Gideon Bibles from its Lowell Center guest rooms following a complaint. But some stated that the university should not have caved due to the offense of a single complainant.
“How thin-skinned have we become in our country that we can be offended because a Bible is placed in a drawer in a room? If you disagree with the Bible and find it to be a farce or fairy tale, then just ignore it,” Jeff Shergalis, assistant pastor at Madison Baptist Church, told Christian News Network.
“I have never been offended when in the lobby of a doctor’s office I see a copy of Mother Goose stories,” he continued. “It seems strange that people who claim to be so intellectually superior that they are above believing the Bible are so easily offended by it.”
“Many of our founding fathers read the Bible, quoted the Bible, and believed the Bible,” Shergalis added. “It seems very sad when a city that is named for a president who declared a ‘National Day of Prayer and Fasting’ is so quick to remove God and His word from its facilities.”