Atheist Activist Group Wants Virginia Speaker to Stop Inviting Colleagues to Govt. Bible Study

Photo Credit: Kirk Cox Facebook page

RICHMOND, Va. — One of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist activist organizations has sent a letter to the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates to request that he stop using the government email system to invite his colleagues to his weekly Bible study in the Pocahontas Building.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter on Tuesday to Speaker Kirk Cox to ask that he stop promoting his “personal faith” to others in his capacity as speaker.

“We understand that your chief of staff, at your apparent direction, emailed every person within the General Assembly’s email system to invite them to the Bible study,” the group wrote. “It is inappropriate for any elected official to promote a Bible study to all employees of the legislature using their official government email. The email invite is particularly problematic and coercive given your unique leadership position.”

It further asserted that the Bible study could make those who work for the government feel like outsiders if they are not Christians.

“[I]t is doubtless that many ‘members, staff, lobbyists, and friends of the General Assembly’ belong to [a] variety of faith or no faiths at all,” FFRF stated. “These minority religions and nonreligious persons should not feel pressured to attend a religious event in their place of business to remain insiders.”

The Church-State separation group claimed that lawmakers are free to practice their religion in their own time, but cannot do so while acting in the capacity of a government official.

“Given your role as an employer and a government official, it is only appropriate that you stop using legislative email and calendar systems to recruit Bible study participants,” it wrote. “Any religious groups should be clearly separate from official government business.”

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“The speaker should stop attempting to impose his religion on the entire House. Cox is free to say his prayers—in his own house,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor also said in a statement.

It is not yet known if Cox intends to respond.

As previously reported, while some state that God and government must remain separated, others note that the nation was founded by those who believed that America could not expect to be blessed if it failed to acknowledge and honor Almighty God.

Dr. Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and vice-president of the Bible Society of Philadelphia. In 1806, he said, “The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”

He also wrote in a letter to John Adams in 1807, “By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects. Our Saviour in speaking of it calls it ‘Truth,’ in the abstract. It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published. It contains a faithful representation of all its follies, vices & crimes. All systems of religion, morals, and government not founded upon it, must perish, and how consoling the thought!—It will not only survive the wreck of those systems, but the world itself. ‘The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’” (Read here from the National Archives.)

Joseph Coerten Hornblower, a member of the Continental Congress and chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, was co-founder of the American Bible Society—an organization that provided Bibles to both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Jay, who later became president of Hornblower’s American Bible Society, also once said in 1816 in a letter to John Murray, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”


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  • “Patriotic Pro-US Constitution Group Wants Virginia Speaker to Stop breaking the Law”

    FTFY.

    • Nidalap

      If the Founders had intended for the Constitution to implemented in such a manner, they would have done so themselves…

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      Unpatriotic and idiotic crybullies want virginia speaker to mollify their crybully complaints, give them a cookie and then tuck them into bed, and please read them a bedtime story …… FTFY ………………….

    • Ganesha_akbar

      “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
      –Muslim Hawaiian Co-conspirator–

  • Guzzman

    This is actually quite outrageous. Virginia’s Speaker of the House is using the official government e-mail and scheduling systems to recruit participants for his Bible Study Caucus. He is using government conference rooms to hold these bible studies so he can promote his personal religious beliefs.

    It is not only unconstitutional but coercive. The Speaker of the House wields tremendous authority over subordinates, legislative staff, and the entire General Assembly. There is significant pressure to conform to what the Speaker wants, regardless of whether subordinates share the Speaker’s faith beliefs.

    • Ganesha_akbar

      Where were you when Hussein hosted mullah Bergdahl’s bismillah chant in the WH Rose Garden?

      Ye blind guides which choke on a gnat and swallow a camel!

      • Guzzman

        Comparing Bob Bergdahl speaking Pashto at a press conference to a sitting Virginia Speaker of the House defies logic. Mr. Bergdahl was not a government employee using government resources and the authority of a government position to promote his personal religious beliefs. What exactly is the legal issue involved with Mr. Bergdahl? Did he violate some provision of the Constitution that the rest of us are not aware of?

        • Ganesha_akbar

          That’s nice. Thanks for acknowledging that imam Hussein violated mosque-state separation by hosting that odious bismillah ceremony. Barack also sent out an official da’wah tweets (just two hours before the ISIS terrorist attack on a “gun free” Marine recruitment center in Chattanooga) that read: “‘From my family to yours, Eid Mubarak!’ – @POTUS to Muslims celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr.”

          “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
          –Muslim Hawaiian Co-conspirator–

          Be wary of anyone who puts terrorists’ interests ahead of those of western civilization. Leftist-fascists are determined to fight Islam’s enemies to the last infidel.

          • Guzzman

            I asked you how Bob Bergdahl, a private citizen, speaking Pashto at a press conference violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution – what you referred to as “mosque-state separation.” Given that you did not provide any basis for your bizarre claim, I will dismiss it accordingly.

          • Ganesha_akbar

            ^unassailable ignorance

            Bergdahl’s bismillah wasn’t a “press conference.” It was an official ceremony in the WH Rose Garden hosted by imam Hussein.

            Once again, you may return to your gnat choking exercise.

            “None so deaf as those that will not hear. None so blind as those that will not see.”
            ~Matthew Henry

    • bowie1

      It’s an invitation not a requirement so your notion that it is coercive is nonsense. They are perfectly free to turn him down.

      • Guzzman

        You wrote, “It’s an invitation [to the Speaker’s Bible Study Caucus] not a requirement so your notion that it is coercive is nonsense.”

        The House Speaker Cox should not be using his government position to promote his personal religious beliefs to his colleagues, subordinates, and to the public at large. As Speaker, Cox holds substantial authority over his fellow legislators, legislative staff, and the General Assembly as a whole. It is inappropriate for any elected official to use the authority of his government position to promote his personal religious beliefs to employees under his supervision.

        Regardless of the coercion issue, government has no grant of power to place its imprimatur on any religious activity, even if no one was compelled to participate in a state-sponsored religious exercise, directly or indirectly.

        • getstryker

          Agreed . . . any member of the U.S. Senate & House is certainly free to ignore and or leave the Congressional Chamber when both paid and elected Chaplains open each session of those governmental bodies with prayer.
          Those that may be ‘offended or not feel included’ have had that option since shortly after the Senate first convened in April 1789 in New York City, as one of its “first orders of business” was to convene a committee to recommend a Chaplain. The result of that act has continued to present day.
          I’m sure anyone who needs the additional consolation of ‘coloring books and hot cocoa’ will be quickly accommodated – I’m sure there’s a ‘didy service’ available for non-believers, DIM’s & RINO’s!

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      right … and i see no movement or comment to move all the “coersive” lobbyists out …… they are supposed to be adults … not children ……. and if they cannot stand the heat ….. they should quit …………

  • Vince

    So they think an invitation constitutes a “theocracy”? I bet any politician who sent an email encouraging people to turn out for a gay “pride” parade or an Earth Day event would be just fine with them.

    They can’t build gulags for the Christians (yet), so they just continue to push for marginalization.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      they are built …. they are in disguise ……….

  • james blue

    So use private email and pay rent for the room

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      thanks for your comment from the tent pitched toward Sodom ……

  • “It is inappropriate for any elected official to promote a Bible study to all employees of the legislature using their official government email.”

    No, it’s not. That’s akin to demanding the Speaker not write a letter to his Pastor because it will be delivered by the quasi-government entity, US Postal Service.

    More over, elected officials do not suspend their own Constitutional rights simply because they’re elected to public office.

    Further more, still and again, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) needs to be told, “We thank you for your interest in this matter, but you have no standing in the state of Virgina to make such demands from Wisconsin. Although, we do extend a friendly invitation to attend our Bible study, if you’re ever in the area.”

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      good one ……….

    • Guzzman

      It is indeed blatantly inappropriate for an elected official to use official government e-mail and scheduling systems to recruit participants for a Bible Study Caucus. Speaker Cox is also using government conference space to hold these bible studies so he can promote his personal religious beliefs.

      You wrote, “That’s akin to demanding the Speaker not write a letter to his Pastor because it will be delivered by the quasi-government entity, US Postal Service.”

      Um, unless the Speaker’s letter to his pastor relates to official government business, he had better not be using his government title, government stationary, and having government pay his postage. Using government resources to conduct personal business is against the law.

      • Ganesha_akbar

        “he had better not”

        or what?

      • getstryker

        You said: “Using government resources to conduct personal business is against the law.”
        Excellent point . . . perhaps you’ll remind Hillary – she could certainly have used that advice as Sec. of State – (Just an observation)

      • “It is indeed blatantly inappropriate for an elected official to use official government e-mail and scheduling systems…”

        Why? Does it violate any statute?

        • Guzzman

          House Speaker Cox is using government resources paid for by taxpayers (official e-mail system, official scheduling system, government conference room space, administrative staff hours, etc.) to sponsor a Bible Study Caucus. The e-mails constitute government speech, not private speech, and contain a religious message. This is an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

          As the Supreme Court stated:

          Government “sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherants ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherants that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.'” Santa Federal v. Doe, quoting Lynch, 465 U. S., at 688.

    • Recognizing_Truth

      All Christians would do well to read and act on your last statement: inviting all unbelievers to come hear the words of life.

      Outstanding!

  • bowie1

    It’s an invitation not a requirement from what I gather according to this article.

  • manwithnoname

    “It further asserted that the Bible study could make those who work for
    the government feel like outsiders if they are not Christians.”

    It is not the governments job to soothe your feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. I suggest some therapy. If that doesn’t work, request some play-doh or coloring book/crayons from a leftist university to help.

    • Robin Egg

      Exactly!

    • getstryker

      Now, ‘THAT’ was spot-on! Play-doh & coloring books!

  • SleepersAwake

    My advice, keep doing what your doing, let them bring suit and perhaps it will end up at the Supreme Court.

  • Recognizing_Truth

    FFRF wants to ban Jesus, God, and His Word from American society. What they don’t have is any legal grounds in virtually any “case” they bring.
    In this instance:
    They have no standing – that is, they are not affected by what the Virginia delegate is doing.
    They have no constitutional grounds – no law is being enacted requiring the people of these United States to worship God in a specific manner, nor preventing them from worshipping God in their chosen manner (including not at all).

    An invitation is just that: an open request (not a requirement) to attend.
    If it is OK to send an e-mail inviting people to a baby shower, cocktail party, a book club, or any other event, then it is OK to do the same to a study of a particular book, the Bible.

    FFRF can write all the letters it wants. Most recipients of their letters buckle and cave for fear that a long and expensive legal battle will ensue if they don’t comply. The reality is: FFRF has no grounds, and seldom pursues any action because they know it will not go anywhere.

    They are noisy, and their noise and threats instill fear. But there is no need to fear: The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies are with those who glorify His name.

  • It is an invite to those who CHOOSE to participate. It is not a do it or else mandate.