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University in Oklahoma Removing Bibles and Crosses From Chapel After Complaint

University in Oklahoma Removing Bibles and Crosses From Chapel After Complaint

“violating federal law by displaying “permanent religious iconography”

The complaint came from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Oklahoma university removing Bibles, crosses from campus after complaint

A university in Oklahoma is removing crosses, Bibles and other religious paraphernalia from its on-campus chapel after getting a complaint from a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for the separation of church and state.

East Central University President Katricia Pierson said Thursday in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that the school is “looking at the feasibility” of removing the cross on the steeple of the Kathryn P. Boswell Memorial Chapel on top of its move to take items from inside the chapel.

“We will continue to use the building as we always have, for all faiths,” Pierson said. “We do not want to presume to embrace one faith over another. We support all cultures and attempt to make them feel comfortable when they are here.”

She said there were only a few items that needed to be removed from the building.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said in a three-page letter received by university officials June 20 that the university was violating federal law by displaying “permanent religious iconography” on its campus, The Ada News reported.

“While it is legal for a public university to have a space that can be used by students for religious worship, so long as that space is not dedicated solely to that purpose, it is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to display religious iconography on government property,” the group said in its letter, which was obtained by The Ada News. “Please remove or cover the religious displays and items.”


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Interesting that the AU website has a page dedicated to monitoring the “Religious Right” (Christian groups) here:

Quote: “The single greatest threat to church-state separation in America is the movement known as the Religious Right. Organizations and leaders representing this religio-political crusade seek to impose a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint on all Americans through government action.

Americans United, as part of our educational responsibility, regularly monitors the agenda and activities of the Religious Right. We share our research with journalists, elected officials and all Americans who care about church-state separation, democracy and pluralism.

The summaries provide information about many of the Religious Right’s top leaders and prominent groups. We encourage you to read these summaries and make them available to others who care about American freedom.”

Note that there are no pages anywhere on their site dealing with Islamic extremism … NONE. I would submit that there is a clear and present danger in this form of “extremism” far more dangerous than the Christian version.

They’re 100% right. If this is supposed to be a chapel/meditation room for the use of students of all faiths then it shouldn’t have crosses. If it’s supposed to be a Christian church then a government university has no business running it. What they could do is lease the property to a Christian congregation, which could then run it as it saw fit.

    Walker Evans in reply to Milhouse. | July 2, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Sorry, Millhouse, they are 100% wrong. First, there is no part of the Constitution that mentions any “separation of church and state”; the only thing that could be even vaguely construed that way is in the First Amendment and that is a simple prohibition against the state forming an official or officially sanctioned religion. The whole “separation” business comes from a private letter written by Jefferson to the elders of a certain church.

    The government can show support for any church as long as it did not establish that church! A cross on a chapel on a state-run university emphatically does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment! It is time we stopped misreading and misinterpreting the basic documents of our country.

      Milhouse in reply to Walker Evans. | July 3, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      No, Walker Evans, it is you who are 100% wrong. Establishment does not mean “forming”. It never has and never will. The UK did not create the Church of England, and certainly the US never did, so would you claim that the adoption of the CoE as the national church would not be precisely what the first amendment prohibits?

      An establishment of religion means any endorsement or official status given to one religion, any government preference for one religion over others. Government may look kindly on the general enterprise of religion, and support it in a strictly neutral manner, but it may not itself be religious. In this case a state entity is literally running a Christian church! You can’t get more established than that!

      DINORightMarie in reply to Walker Evans. | July 9, 2017 at 8:07 am

      You know your history, @Walker Evans.

      And @Milhouse, once again, prove his (her?) complete ignorance of both history (see this on the Church of England, called the Anglican Church in the US) and reality as it is being played out today in the US.

      …..and the English language (see establish, definition).