Public university cannot take sides on faith

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 21 2014 | 12:59 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:58 am in

Pastor John Sheda (“Extreme reaction to Bible complaint,” March 3) maintains it is “extreme” for Iowa State University Memorial Union Hotel to have removed Bibles, following the complaint of the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of hotel guests. (He also mistakenly claims FFRF has only 150 members when we have 20,000 nationwide.) It’s as inappropriate for ISU to place Bibles in its hotel rooms as it would be to place Korans — or copies of Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” A public university cannot take sides when it comes to religion.

The Gideon Society (which strangely named itself after a particularly bloodthirsty Bible character in Judges) does not admit full women members. Its purpose is “saving the lost through personal witnessing.” ISU cannot partner with a proselytizing organization.

If someone is so pious that he or she must read a Bible before falling asleep, they can either now borrow one from the ISU Union’s browsing library or travel with a Bible themselves. ISU is to be commended for honoring the separation between state and church and the personal conscience of its guests.

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Madison

 

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