A state-funded college in Utah decided to remove the Bibles from its hotel rooms after one person complained to the nation’s largest atheist organization.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter in mid-June to the Richard Biff Williams, president of Dixie State University, which owns the College Inn in St. George, Utah.
FFRF has convinced Dixie State University to remove all religious texts from its College Inn hotel guest rooms.
Read the full release here: https://t.co/qtMxGAVWl3 pic.twitter.com/5tMkZrbyT3
— FFRF (@FFRF) September 25, 2018
Christopher Line, a legal fellow with the FFRF, argued in the letter that the presence of Bibles and Books of Mormon violated the Constitution because DSU receives state funding and “a government entity cannot promote, advance, or otherwise endorse religion.”
“If a state-run university has a policy of providing religious texts to all guests,” he argued, “that policy facilitates illegal endorsement of Christianity and Mormonism over minority religions and non-religion.”
Line’s letter did offer a glimmer of hospitality, though. He asserted those who might want to read the Bible or another religious text should feel free to “bring their own copy or use one of the many copies available online or in a digital format.”
The assistant general counsel for DSU, Alison Vicroy, promptly responded to the FFRF’s notice. She said in late August that “all religious texts that may have been left in any of the guest rooms have been removed” and made clear a procedure has been established to remove any other religious texts, should they be erroneously placed in the hotel rooms in the future.
It should be noted, though, that Hiram Sasser, an attorney for the right-leaning First Liberty Institute, told Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes that placing Bibles in hotel rooms is, in fact, not a constitutional violation.
“Making Bibles available in a hotel room is a longstanding tradition of providing another resource to guests who forgot their own Bible,” Sasser explained. “This university is bowing to political pressure, not a valid legal threat.”