Quoting Scripture Banned in Library Communit Room.

Quoting Scripture banned in library community room

'What next? Will board keep patrons from reading Bible?'
Posted: June 10, 2008
9:33 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Quoting from the Bible has been banned in a community room at the public library in Clermont County, Ohio, and now a couple who sought to use the facility for a financial planning seminar has brought a court case.

"What's next? Will the library board attempt to keep patrons from checking out Bibles and reading them on government property?" asked Tim Chandler, a legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which is working on the case involving George and Cathy Vandergriff.

The couple asked for permission to use a public facility at the library to hold a financial planning seminar with the Institute for Principled Policy.

Under the use policy for the facility, the meetings rooms there "are available to all community groups and non-profit organizations engaged in activities that further the Library's mission to be responsive to community needs and to be an integral part of our community," according to the lawsuit.

"When the Library's meeting rooms are not being used for library-related programs, the rooms are available for non-profit use by community groups. The groups may use meeting rooms for private meetings or to present programs for the general public," it continues.

However, when Cathy Vandergriff asked in person to use a meeting room for a financial planning meeting, the conversation with the library employee took an unwelcome turn.

"When Mrs. Vandergriff indicated that the seminar would be a free ministry to the general public, the employee asked if she would be quoting the Bible in the presentation. Mrs. Vandergriff answered that she would be using the Bible, and the employee informed her that the Library's Policy would therefore not permit her to use the meeting room," the ADF said.

When she followed up with a written request for the use of the facility, an employee again warned about the ban on quoting from the Bible, and the written rejection soon followed. It carried the hand-written notation: "Contact Mr. Vandergriff will be quoting bible versus [sic] explained our meeting room policy."

The ADF's complaint, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Ohio, requests a declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent injunctions and damages and costs for the action.

"The … Clermont Public Library Board of Trustees … is prohibiting plaintiffs from engaging in expressive activities in a generally available public forum solely due to the religious viewpoint of those activities," the ADF said.

The library did not return a WND message requesting comment.

The complaint cites alleged violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution including the right to free exercise of religion, and the 14th Amendment's equal protection and due process clauses.

"The library has no compelling reason that would justify excluding plaintiffs from these generally available public facilities solely on the basis of the religious nature of plaintiffs' speech," the complaint said.

"Refusing to grant this group permission to hold a seminar at a meeting room in a public library because they planned to quote the Bible is about as blatantly un-American and unconstitutional as you can get," Chandler said. "Christian organizations shouldn't be discriminated against for their beliefs."

"The denial sends the message to the Vandergriffs and other Christians that they are not deemed a valuable part of the community. Christians have the same First Amendment rights as anyone else in America," the ADF's Kevin Theriot added.

"Any government policy denying equal access rights to a group simply because it intends on quoting Bible verses does not comport with the Constitution. This is a financial planning seminar, and the library has previously allowed meetings that discuss financial planning. The fact that they may quote Bible verses during the meeting does not legally matter."

The Institute for Principled Policy planned to sponsor the two two-hour seminars for 10 attendees April 18 and 19 at the library using Larry Burkett’s Crown Ministries materials.

No votes yet

"The Institute for Principled Policy is an Ohio based policy think tank. Our goal is to influence the creation and implementation of social, moral and political public policy from the vantage point of a Biblical world-view. Our primary interest is on policies for the state of Ohio but we also strive to influence national and international leaders to look to God’s word for guidance on pressing contemporary problems. We search the Holy Scriptures for answers to problems vexing modern society and firmly believe that those answers lie in the timeless wisdom imparted to us from a merciful and loving God in His word and the example of His Son, our King, Jesus Christ."

http://www.principledpolicy.com/?page_id=3

"The use of Library meeting rooms for political, religious or social events, or any other reasons specifically designated by the Board of Trustees, is not permitted."

http://www.clermontlibrary.org/policymeetingroom.shtml

By their own admission the people wanting the room told the library staff that is was a free ministry.

So, what's the beef?

The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

That's my point.

Examples of hypocrisy when it comes to 1st Amendment rights if you need them:

1. KKK rallies allowed on public streets (streets that are built using tax dollars) What's the difference if it's a public street or a closed conference room of a public facility?

2. Gay Pride Parades on public streets - same as above (I don't care if you have your gay parade, that's their right. Just don't tell me I can't quote a bible verse inside a "Community" room where anyone can choose to stay and listen or WALK OUT).

3. Federal Tax money support to colleges displaying "Artwork" depicting religious items stuck in a man's rectum and various other sexually explicit uses for icons of Christian worship see article here - http://swampbubbles.com/bubble/college-art-show-includes-depiction-cruci...

This is EXACTLY the kind of situation the First Amendment was designed to protect. The "policies" of the public library don't apply and in fact are just another of those policies that people enact that largely go untested but are STILL unconstitutional.

The separation of church and state does NOT mean that religious expressions can be squelched in their capacity of free speech. It looks like some library system is about to get schooled ... which is fairly silly, since I'm sure they have many copies of the US Constitution in the library, and as well, many books that explain the First Amendment. It seems fairly pathetic that LIBRARIANS have to be taken to court as the wrongdoers for any FA issue. Then again, the librarians may have gone along with the silly policies since they feared losing their jobs; I'd like to think that, instead of believing otherwise.

A financial meeting themed with religious quotes and sayings and it was stated to be a ministry, by the person holding the financial meeting.

"The separation of church and state does NOT mean that religious expressions can be squelched in their capacity of free speech"

But people of faith would be allowed to use the room and use religious text and quotations? The howls would come up from near and far.

The case is framed as a restriction on one faith, and if the case goes forward and it is decided that all faiths can use the rooms and gather and use religious text in a publicly funded place, let the howls begin.

I don't care about the howls, NC. The issue of Constitutionally-recognized liberty is clear, and those who don't like a "ministry" meeting in a public place can just go fuck themselves for all I care. The US Constitution is the LAW OF THE LAND. Obey it or suffer prosecution, fines and jail if you don't like it.

Wonderful sentiment, but does little to further the conversation, but to each his of her own.

So, let all the faiths enter in and have meetings here and there and let them, all, do it, and be done with it.

The situation hinges on the funding for the public library. If the library is funded with tax dollars, then what this amounts to is the use of a building built and maintained by the taxpayers for a religious meeting. So, why should I pay to build someone else a church building? I shouldn't.

Now then, I, personally, have no objection to a Christian meeting of any kind in the library. I wouldn't like Islamics meeting there, nor would I care for devil worshipers gathering for a little ceremony, but that's just my opinion.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

Maddie, the use to which a public facility is put is not the issue. After all, religious folks can be taken into a courthouse for justice, right?

The rooms at that library were for public use. That's what the public taxes paid for. After that, it's none of our business WHICH public meeting is held there. That's up to the liberty of the public to indulge in.

This is not a separation of church and state issue.

That's my point.

Some people will not want, insert the name here, a group to be using public facilities to hold meetings.

When one group is allowed to use the facilities and allow religious groups or ministry's in, how does one stop the other groups from the same, as is Satanic Church members, etc.

First of all, it was a meeting to give Financial Advice (probably personal budgeting) in which the presenters would be quoting a scripture or two. It was NOT a church service!

Secondly, who care if you don't like those religious people using the room. They are tax paying citizens just like the rest of the people there that use it. THEIR money also paid for it. You can't discriminate against people for their religious beliefs! Get real.

Do you really think some whacko group of people that are Satan worshippers are going to hold a sacrifice right in the middle of a public library!? It always comes down to that ignorant statement whenever this topic comes up. Ridiculous.

FYI - It has everything to do with our 1st Amendment rights.

THIS IS STILL AMERICA - A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC where WE THE PEOPLE have liberty, equality, and the right to pursue happiness.

Really?

Why did Congress pass an act like this then, if you can't discriminate based on people's religion.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Religious_Freedom_Act

"Do you really think some whacko group of people that are Satan worshippers are going to hold a sacrifice right in the middle of a public library!?"

Who said anything about sacrifices?

They are wackos because they choose a different way? By your own admission, this is American and they can practice what they want. So let them enter the room and do as they wish, right?

More mainstream, let's say people from a temple want to speak about the writings in the Torah, or the Koran, or the writings of Buddah.

These would be allowed.

"It was NOT a church service!"

Quite correct. There was no service. But by their own admission they were going to use biblical quotations and scripture.

So do we throw open the doors to all religions or just the ones that we do not consider "wackos".

Free Speech and all, so let them all come in.

Try reading the entire article instead of just the headline.

Under the use policy for the facility, the meetings rooms there "are available to all community groups and non-profit organizations engaged in activities that further the Library's mission to be responsive to community needs and to be an integral part of our community," according to the lawsuit.

"When the Library's meeting rooms are not being used for library-related programs, the rooms are available for non-profit use by community groups. The groups may use meeting rooms for private meetings or to present programs for the general public," it continues.

The county library web site;

The following conditions apply to all such groups and organizations:

The use of Library meeting rooms for political, religious or social events, or any other reasons specifically designated by the Board of Trustees, is not permitted.

http://www.clermontlibrary.org/policymeetingroom.shtml

This clause seems to be what the library used to exclude the financial ministry session.

And further in the rules;

"Organizations may not sell, offer or in any way advertise, merchandise or services."

Financial planning is a service, yes?

And further;

" Permission to use the meeting room does not constitute endorsement by the Library of the group or the ideas presented."

That would cover the accidental or deliberate mis-use of the rooms.

The financial planners now make the claim that their rights of free speech and assembly were infringed.

Kinda makes one wonder where else they can meet, in a home, in a church, in an office, perhaps and enjoy all the free speech and assembly they want, unless of course they would advocate other groups having equal and fair access to the publicly funded library, which personally I doubt they would, given the comments from other like minded people and groups.

You can't discriminate against people for their religious beliefs! Get real.

Clearly I can discriminate, and were you to be invited into my living room, you would deduce that I do discriminate against people according to their religious beliefs. I'm not alone in this. The federal government discriminates against various religions as well, which you'll see if you read NC's post.

THIS IS STILL AMERICA - A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC where WE THE PEOPLE have liberty, equality, and the right to pursue happiness.

Whatever you've been smoking is undoubtedly a strictly controlled recreational substance, no matter how mind expanding you claim it to be. Our inalienable rights become more restricted every day, with every new law that legislators, in their infinite wisdom, decide that the great unwashed need to protect them from themselves.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

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