Atheist Activist Group Objects to Weekly Bible Study at Wisconsin State Capitol

Born again Bible pdMADISON, Wisc. — A prominent professing atheist group has expressed its objection to a weekly Bible study offered by a Wisconsin lawmaker at the state capitol building.

According to reports, Rep. Paul Tittl, R-Manitowoc, hosts the Bible study every Wednesday in his office. Legislators and their staff members are welcome to attend.

But the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) says that Tittl must either move the Bible study out of the government building or discontinue the meeting altogether. It sent a letter to Tittl on Wednesday.

“Given that you have already admitted that the Bible studies are not state work—’not related to any official act as a state representative or to official government business’—it is incumbent on you to stop the Bible studies or move them off state property,” wrote FFRF co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “There are several churches within a few blocks of that Capitol that we are confident would be willing to host your religious event.”

“If, on the other hand, you now wish to alter your argument and claim that these Bible studies are in fact state work, that raises serious constitutional concerns,” she said.

Gaylor asserted that Tittl’s Bible study constitutes the government endorsement of religion and treats those who are not Christian as outsiders.

“As a state legislator, you serve a population that consists of not only Bible believers, but also atheists, agnostics, Muslims, and Hindus among others,” she stated. “When you use your state office to conduct a Bible study, you send an official message of endorsement of religion over non-religion and Christianity over all other religions to the exclusion of the nearly one in four U.S. adults who are nonreligious.”

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Gaylor further contended that Tittl is wasting his time in seeking God.

“Please stop hosting Bible studies in your office and instead concentrate on state business,” she wrote. “Our
message to pious politicians is: Get off your knees and get to work. The answers will not come from above. Nothing fails like prayer.”

It is not yet known if Tittl plans to respond.

Tittl
Tittl

As previously reported, throughout America’s early history, a number of the Founding Fathers issued proclamations calling inhabitants to look to God, including in 1798, when President John Adams proclaimed a national day of humiliation, prayer and fasting.

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him,” he wrote, “…this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger, when existing or threatening calamities—the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity—are a loud call to repentance and reformation.”

President Abraham Lincoln also proclaimed a National Fast Day in 1863.

“[I]t is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord,” his proclamation read.

“[I]nsomuch we know that by His Divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people,” Lincoln said.


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  • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

    It’s great that Representative Tittl has opened the government up to religion. But I wonder when he will be offering other religions equal access. Will he be offering Qur’an study sessions? How about sessions focused on the Wiccan religion? Satanism? Let’s not forget, the government is not allowed to play favorites, so in order to follow the law, he must offer study sessions for all of the religions, and for atheism.

    • Trilemma

      Representative Tittl does not have to offer study sessions for any and all religions. It’s his study session and he can study whatever he wants. However, if a Muslim representative wants to have Quran study sessions, then that should be allowed too.

      • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

        If one member of government is doing it, the government has to ensure that other religions, and none, are equally served. If it can’t do that, then the Christian stuff needs to be shut down. This is the law.

        • Trilemma

          All religions, and none, are being equally served. Neither Representative Tittl nor the government is preventing a representative who is Muslim from having Quran study sessions in the privacy of his own office. Neither Representative Tittl nor the government is requiring anyone to attend Representative Tittl’s study session that takes place in the privacy of his own office. Therefore, the establishment clause is not violated.

        • Kevin Quillen

          you ignorance is amazing

      • James Collings

        I’m afraid the others are correct. If he is an official functioning on government property then it’s clear that he is representing services provided by the government. That invokes the “all or nothing” rule that the government must follow.

        • Trilemma

          He is studying his Bible in the privacy of his own office on his own time with others who are there voluntarily. It’s clear that he is NOT representing services provided by the government but simply acting on his Constitutionally protected right to the free exercise of his religion.

          In August of 1997, the Clinton administration released a document called, “Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace.” These guidelines were subsequently adopted by Bush and Obama. Representative Tittl’s Bible study is in compliance with these guidelines.

          • James Collings

            If it’s his office, that means it’s in his house. If it’s not, its not.

          • James Collings

            Look at it this way. What of your liberal friends elect a Muslim to public office. Want to contribute your tax dollars to pay for an office that is being used for a mosque? What about nude pagan orgies held by satanist groups? You OK with that? I mean assuming they clean up after themselves?

          • Trilemma

            If Representative Tittl was using his office as a church or a mosque or a pagan temple then that would clearly be a violation of the establishment clause. But he wasn’t doing any of those things. His unobtrusive Bible study is in compliance with federal guidelines. Did you look up the guidelines and read them?

          • Palsgraf’s Scale

            I did. Rep. Tittl is utilizing government property to conduct a religious exercise, in his office where he works as a government employee. A reasonable ordinary person would view that as his position being used to endorse the religion, and that is the standard a court will use to evaluate the situation.

            Hairsplitting about the exact details of his activity isn’t actually how the court makes determinations, it uses the reasonable ordinary person standard.

            If Rep. Tittl wants to conduct a bible study, why can’t he do it on an off-site location, such as his residence or a local church?

          • Trilemma

            A reasonable ordinary person would view Representative Tittl’s Bible study as a personal endorsement of religion and not a government endorsement.

            In Section 1 paragraph C(d) of the guidelines, it shows that government employees are allowed to have Bible study sessions using government property such as conference rooms and may not be subject to discriminatory restrictions because of the religious content.

          • Kevin Quillen

            they will not learn. Truth to a liberal is like salt to a slug.

          • Kevin Quillen

            hey bonehead….Rep Keith Ellison from Minnesota is a muslim. Try to keep up.

          • James Collings

            Well since this isn’t about him, you’ll have to clarify your point… if you have one.

          • Kevin Quillen

            these atheists no not know that the Capitol was actually used as a church in times past.

      • Bruce Kopetz

        No, religion can’t be legally studied on state property by a state employee who is limited to conducting state business. Wake up!

        • Trilemma

          Federal guidelines say a federal government employee can. Read, “Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace” published by the Clinton administration in 1997 and still used today. If Wisconsin uses different guidelines, please indicate where I can read them or quote the applicable paragraph.

          • Bruce Kopetz

            Thanks, Trilemma! You’re correct and FFRF is probably wrong about the bible “study” group. The government must be “generous” regarding religion in the workplace, according to that 1997 guideline.

            My thanks for the lesson.

          • Trilemma

            You’re welcome. Thanks for taking the time to take a look at the guidelines.

          • Kevin Quillen

            excellent job, keep it up.

    • Kevin Quillen

      I am quite sure that Rep Ellison the muslim could hold koran study in his office if he wished. As a Christian I am cool with that. By the way, the founders would be too.

  • Trilemma

    The First Amendment free exercise clause gives Representative Tittl the right to have these Bible study sessions on state property. This same clause gives students in public schools the right to have Bible study clubs on state property.

    • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

      The establishment clause prohibits any government action that unduly favors one religion over another. Representative Tittl is favoring Christianity over other religions. In doing so, he is breaking his oath of office.

      • Robert

        So your saying if gum is chewed any where in the court house by a judge that is a government action according to the constitution.. what if the judge uses the rest room.?

      • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        If you dont like it in this country, why dont you just get out? Why do we christians in a christian nation always have to pander to you gays and atheists and god-hating cowards alike? Why don’t you just leave?

        • TwoRutRoad

          Why do Christians ALWAYS say this?! Have you thought about all the things that you love, need and use that are brought to you by atheists? Most of the technological and medical advances are credited to non-believers. Did you know that 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of
          the most elite scientific organizations in the United States, do not
          believe in God? If all these people left the country, your way of life would fall to the level of third-world countries.

          • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            You try and take god out of our money, our pledge of alliance, our lord and savior out of schools, prayer and now you want to destroy churches and try to take God out of our schools. I would say you ought to know what shame is but I’m sure you think your above such things. I will pray for you.

          • TwoRutRoad

            The key word here is OUR. Our money, not yours. Our pledge, not yours. Our school? You have your own schools full of God already.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            “I rejected [Christianity] just after being ‘confirmed’ and told how
            essential it was to believe in all kinds of unbelievable things.”

            Said by Tim Berners-Lee. Who invented a little thing that we wouldn’t be talking here without. http://WWW….

        • TheKingOfRhye

          “we christians in a christian nation”

          It’s not a Christian nation, and it never has been. A nation comprised mainly of Christians, sure, but that aint the same thing.

          “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” – Thomas Jefferson

        • tatoo

          You don’t pander to us. We are just tired you you arrogant bullies who persecute us. We now have groups like FFRF to take you to court and mostly win. If you were acting lawfully, you would lose.

          • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Yeah we do, we outnumber you and every time we say things like Merry Christmas, or God bless you , you try and outlaw us from saying such things. People like you are the reason why we have such a high increase in terrorist attacks and low moral. I think its time we start getting rid of leftists organization starting with FFRF, then Planned Parenthood and then the LGBT! God Bless! Oh, right, you hate it when I say that don’t you? Liberal scumbag!

          • TwoRutRoad

            That doesn’t sound like pandering to me. Sounds more like tyranny of the majority.

          • Jenny Ondioline

            You want to get rid of LGBT people. I saw another post of yours that said you want to get rid of atheists too. What is the matter with you?

          • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            The better question is what is the matter with you? you have people who spit in the face of our lord and savior with their gay lifestyle and their hateful ways to Jesus. You need a look in the mirror and you need to pray that you don’t ever cross the good lord.

          • Jenny Ondioline

            Your lord and saviour made gay people as they are and they cannot be any other way. For heaven’s sake, this isn’t Saudi Arabia – you cannot simply do away with the people you hate!

          • TheKingOfRhye

            “you have people who spit in the face of our lord and savior with their gay lifestyle and their hateful ways to Jesus.”

            First of all, no such thing as a “gay lifestyle”. Gays have all kinds of different lifestyles. They aren’t all living the same lifestyle. It’s difficult for various reasons to pin it down, but I just read something from a study that estimated there are over 8 million gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the United States alone. Are you going to tell me 8 million people all have the same lifestyle? (to me, at least, “lifestyle” is not just about who you have sex with, by the way) Or to look at it another way, would you say there is an “atheist lifestyle”? I’m an atheist, I know plenty of other atheists, and we don’t have the same lifestyle, let me tell you.

            Really, that’s just prejudice. Judging all the members of some group by some preconceived notion.

            Also, I don’t “spit in the face” of any god. I don’t “spit in the face” of something I don’t believe in. The most that I would say is that I spit in the face of the things that some of a god’s believers do or say in that god’s name. Important word right there, by the way……SOME.

          • Brand New Key

            No one is persecuting you.
            You are senile and silly.
            Get a life.

      • Kevin Quillen

        you are wrong, “CONGRESS shall make no law” CONGRESS cannot make a “LAW” that favors one religion over another( actually it was a concern about one Christian denomination bring favored over another). Learn our history before sounding off.

        • James Collings

          Prove it. Cite your invalid references.

    • bowie1

      Perhaps some others can start their own religious group since they have more expertise in their own beliefs and thus Christianity is not favored over others.

  • Robert

    So Gaylor not going to his bible study. she will be missed..

  • Stupid Atheist

    I’m certain the devout would be just as supportive about turning their local courthouse meeting rooms into taxpayer subsidized Wiccan covens…

    • James Collings

      …or mosques. 😉

  • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

    Atheasses, another American grown terrorist group.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Bible study is good and something essential. Secularists hate what is good and love what is immoral. Americans need Bible study to get saved and be good and right.

    • Mendy Coker

      You must follow the plan of salvation to enter into covenant with the Lord. Acts 2:38

    • Mendy Coker

      This is why we NEED Bible studies. What the Bible actually says is, Acts 2:38 repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and then you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. How do you know when you receive the Holy Ghost? You will speak in other tongues. Read the last chapter in Mark, Jesus says if you believe, you shall speak in tongues. Who is Jesus? Jesus is God. There is only one God, hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord. I hope this helps.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        God is Holy Trinity – one God in three Persons. Jesus did not pray to Himself but to His Father and He promised another Helper( the Holy Spirit) other than Himself. ( John ch.13-18) Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit by assignment and not for every believer. ( I Corinthians ch.12) Our world needs the Holy Bible for the truth, human rights, equality, freedom, and justice. Ignorance and illiteracy on the Holy Bible lead to tyranny-by-villains even in the USA as seen on today.

        • Mendy Coker

          Mark 16:17….. I asked the Lord how to respond to you. If Jesus says it, I believe it. KJV

          • Mendy Coker

            Tongues it is! And i’ve got it, I’ve got it! He took this once homeless meth addict and changed my life. I go into the jails and they believe and they receive. Only believers will receive the Holy Ghost. 😃😃😃🙌🙌🙌

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but not for every believer. He has different gifts for believers.

          • Mendy Coker

            You need to read the book of Acts.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            I did.

          • Mendy Coker

            Acts 2:17 ALL flesh…. If you are flesh, the Holy Ghost is for you…

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Read the entire quote( Acts 2:17-21). The Holy Spirit’s outpouring is ONLY for God’s people. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” ( Acts 2:21) The Holy Spirit lives in every true believer. ( John chapter 14) It does not mean every believer speaks in tongue. ( I Corinthians chapter 12) False doctrines are not of the Holy Spirit.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Miracles do happened and some Christians did and do speak in tongues. Those are signs. Do you also cast out demons regularly? Drink poison and are okay?( Don’t do that. Some “Christians” who tested the Lord for a show actually died upon drinking it.) Heal the sick always? Don’t pick and choose the Holy Scripture. Read and believe the entire Holy Bible. Read Mark 16:17,18 again. They are signs. God does miracles, but not all Christians speak in tongue.

          • Mendy Coker

            I pray the Lord opens your eyes and helps you with your unbelief. You speak on things you clearly have no understanding of. Grace, let’s do a Bible study! In order to worship God, you must know Him. Until you have revelation that Jesus is God, 1 Timothy 3:16, you will not believe. How do we get revelation? The Word, God Himself. Lord, I ask that You reveal yourself to Grace, help her to see absolute Truth in Jesus’ name.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            I know God and worship Him. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I belong to Him. To believe that every believer is to speak in tongue is a unscriptual, heretic thinking. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. …Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? ( The expected answer is NO here according to the context.) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” ( I Corinthians chapter 12, 13)

          • Mendy Coker

            In order to talk about gifts of the Spirit you must have the Holy Spirit. Why not repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and let Him fill you?You must believe you will receive the Holy Ghost or you will not. Desire the Holy Ghost. It is for everyone. Ask the Lord, don’t take my word. Have ye received since ye believed? The fearful and the unbelievers are mentioned first when it comes to a lake of fire. Consider this, you mentioned a Holy trinity. I don’t know what Bible you find it in, but the KJV, its not mentioned. Those who worship the Lord must worship Him in Spirit and Truth. For instance, God is God. God is the Father. God’s name is Jesus. God is the Holy Ghost. These three are One. You are separating the Lord into 3. Any God with 3 heads is a freak. Will you believe He is who He says He is?

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            If you don’t believe in the Holy Trinity, you are heretic. Stop blaspheming.

          • johndoe

            Stop insulting Americans

        • johndoe

          No it doesnt. None of the things listed need the bible to be a part of our country. Reliance on an ancient text leads to indoctrination

    • tatoo

      Why is bible study essential, or even good?

  • Tangent002

    As long as the meetings are entirely voluntary, occur during off hours, lunch, or break time, there are no consequences for not attending (lack of advancement opportunities, for example), and other staff can host their own meetings, I see no problem.

    If state resources are spent in order to accommodate these meetings, such as after-hours lighting and security which would not normally be present, then this could be a violation.

  • meamsane

    More Irrational ridiculousness from the Finding Freedom Ridiculous Foundation (FFRF).

    • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      You know what I never got and never will? If you dont like it here, why don’t you just leave? I never understood this concept. If I didn’t like this nation, I would have left a long time ago, but luckily I live in a nation who choose the right religion, with the right people. I know other people are not lucky enough to be born in North Korea, Venezuela, Russia or Africa (anywhere) but nothing is stopping you from leaving this ‘terrible’ nation and going to those WONDERFUL nations. I hear Somalia is great this time of year.

      • meamsane

        Don’t exactly know why this is addressed to me? Never thought about living in any other Nation but America!

        • TwoRutRoad

          Because he’s so full of religious fervor. Doesn’t feel so good, does it?

          A little friendly fire, I would say.
          Ready….Fire….Aim.

          • meamsane

            Do you always answer questions addressed to others that they alone can answer? I don’t believe in psychics.

          • TwoRutRoad

            This is a forum. Happens all the time, but I see your point. I’ll rephrase:

            PERHAPS because he’s so full of religious fervor. Doesn’t feel so good, does it?

            A little friendly fire, I would say.
            Ready….Fire….Aim.

    • TwoRutRoad

      The fact that a comment like that gets more likes than any other says a lot about your supporters.

      • meamsane

        Maybe because without explanation they “get it”. Thanks for the compliment!

        • TwoRutRoad

          Please… It was nothing more than childish name-calling, and they all joined in.

          • meamsane

            opinions vary.

  • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

    No matter what atheists do, they will never change the truth. Pushing out, oppressing, shaking their fists at God and followers of Christ, are just a few of the reasons this country is in the state it is today.

    • Bruce Kopetz

      Ooooohhh? And what’s so stinkin’ about it?

      • Miss Chrissy Vee

        It’s okay. Go back to sleep.

    • TwoRutRoad

      You are hardly oppressed. How many churches are there within a 10 minute drive of where you live? How many Christian TV and radio stations are there?

      • Miss Chrissy Vee

        I am talking about the slow but ongoing process. It’s going to happen as long as militant groups, such as some atheists insist on it.

        • TwoRutRoad

          Yes, it will. As long as there is a push for religion in schools and government, there will a push back.

          I just counted 33 churches within 15 miles of where I live, in ONE direction. All non-tax paying properties where you are absolutely free to practice, and nobody will attempt to prevent it.

          • Miss Chrissy Vee

            This has been going on for so long… now suddenly every one is offended and in attack mode. People who don’t want to follow Jesus do not have to. But trying to change what has been going on for centuries in this country is ridiculous. And some people take the ridiculousness to the nth degree. We are a peaceful people. The peace stopped when atheists et al. decided to break that peace over something they don’t even believe in and go into full fledged extermination mode. No different than any other growing militant groups out there causing trouble. Christians didn’t cause this mess. Hatred of God fearing Jesus loving people did. Good luck with that.

          • TwoRutRoad

            It’s what has been going on in this country that is the ridiculous part. For centuries, the religious have been stagnating progress and fighting against science. Religion had a free pass because if you went against it, you could lose everything, and that is still partly true today. I don’t tell my boss I’m an atheist because I can’t afford to lose my good paying job in a small town at my age. They have freedom of religion…I have to hide in the closet. There are other things that have gone on for centuries, and been changed for the better, like slavery and the rights of women. People are losing respect for religion for many reasons, and it’s only the beginning.

          • Kevin Quillen

            you are a coward. I am Cristian and shout it from the housetop. I do not fear man or government.

          • TwoRutRoad

            You just showed why I am afraid that I will lose my job. My employer is very much the same as you.

          • Placido

            Not to worry, there are other employers besides Hardee’s.

            Dumb paranoiacs.

          • TwoRutRoad

            In the immortal words of author Joseph Heller, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you!”

          • tatoo

            Why not change? it is time to give others equal rights. It is time to correct the abuses of the past. No one is stopping you from reading and studying the Bible on your own or with groups on private property. I pay taxes and vote. Therefore, I have the right to speak up.

          • Kevin Quillen

            if you study the founding of our country you will find that public schools were primarily started to teach children to read so that they could read the BIBLE so that they could become good citizens. Truth to a liberal is like salt to a slug.

          • TwoRutRoad

            I agree that reading the bible is important. Actually reading the bible is a great way to become an atheist.

          • tatoo

            That may be true, but that was a long time ago. Should that be our goal? To teach what they taught in the 18 th century? Perhaps we should all go to faith healers when we are sick.

          • TwoRutRoad

            The 18th century
            was also part of the “The Age of Enlightenment”, an historical period
            characterized by a change away from traditional religious sources of
            authority, and a move towards science and rational thought. We have come so very far in medicine, chemistry, manufacturing, and more. Why shouldn’t religion change, too?

    • tatoo

      I am not an atheist. I am not a Christian either. So why should I follow your God. Why not follow mine?

  • Andrew W

    It’s okay, as long as I can hold a satanic ceremony in his office when their done.

  • Nidalap

    Endorsing a religion is not establishing one.
    I know they’re both “e” words, but come on now…

  • Mendy Coker

    Except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. I love how this scripture is pictured. God is so good. It is all about relationship with the Lord. His Word tells us death, burial, and resurrection. Acts 2:38…… Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord. NOBODY can take away my encounters with the Most High God, Jesus is His name. [email protected]

    • Mendy Coker

      Oh yeah, I think Bible studies are great. However, the Word tells us to obey the laws of the land. It also tells us that men ought to obey God rather than men. The Lord wants us to follow after righteousness, peace, and love. Jesus teaches us these things. Obey them that have rule over you.

  • disqus_BDBCEvISae

    If Mr. Tittl wants to use a room in a state building for personal purposes, he should pay fair rent for the space. Then if he can, that means every citizen can rent a room in the state capitol building for the same rent for their own personal purposes.

  • http://www.gmail.com/ David van Heerden

    Why don’t they rather just have one of their atheist buddies elected to office instead? What? Election to office requires an actual election? Isn’t that unconstitutional? But how are they supposed to win an election without popular support? What kind of answer is “Not at all”? Surely we can un-elect people just by sending nasty letters! (And this is where the joke about Jts and Tittls would go, but I can’t think of one right now.)