A woman who works as a secretary for an Indiana school district was forced to remove a Bible verse from her email signature after an atheist group complained that its inclusion was a violation of the separation of church and state.
School officials with the Fayette County School Corporation told an executive secretary last week that her Bible reference was unacceptable after receiving a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group.
The signature, which included the text, “Hope anchors the soul. Hebrews 6:19,” was reportedly included in the woman’s “official district email signature.” The Bible verse’s presence in official school email business riled the activists.
It became an issue of concern after a local resident complained to the FFRF and the organization responded by penning a letter to the school district. In turn, the FFRF specifically argued that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment precludes any government sponsorship of religion; this, the organization claims, includes employee promotion of religious messages.
“Non-Christian district students and parents should not be made to feel excluded and like ‘outsiders, not full members of the political community’ … because Fayette County School Corporation employees are professing their personal religious preferences,” the letter read, in part.
Fayette County School Corporation Superintendent Scott Collins reported wrote back to the FFRF and thanked the organization for alerting the district of the apparent Bible infraction. Collins also said that, as of Sept. 21, 2017, the secretary had removed the verse.
The FFRF released a statement expressing gratitude for how the case concluded.
“This is why we do what we do,” FFRF co-president Dan Barker said in a statement. “Oftentimes, school officials respond appropriately when contacted about such constitutional violations, and we’re glad that was the case in this particular instance.”