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Bible Verses

1st Amendment First
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Since the founding of this country, we have had public officials quote Bible verses. But apparently that tradition can no longer exist in some areas of the country. An Arizona school board member is under fire because she recited a verse of Scripture.

Heather Rooks is a member of the Peoria Unified School District and was about to respond to questions and concerns from parents. She decided to quote an inspirational verse from the Bible. Her hope was that it would encourage her and provide strength during the meeting.

A few days later, she received a “cease-and-desist” letter demanding that she stop quoting the Bible. In case you are wondering, the offensive verse was Isaiah 41:10 – “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look around you, for I am your God.”

Andy Gould serves as senior counsel with First Liberty Institute. Previously, he served as a Justice on the Arizona Supreme Court. He is now representing Heather Rooks in a lawsuit against the Peoria Unified School District. He argues that her actions are protected under the free speech and free exercises clauses of the Constitution.

He also argues that many presidents and other political officials have quoted religious texts in their official capacity. He asks, why can a president quote the Bible but not a member of the school board?

In the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case, Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch said, “Nor does . . .  a proper understanding of the Amendment’s Establishment Clause require the government to single out private religious speech for special disfavor. The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike.”

Recent Supreme Court rulings provide more religious freedom than we have had in decades. It is time for each of us to claim our religious liberty.viewpoints new web version

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