FFRF protests bible verse on building at University of Florida

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a complaint letter to the University of Florida – Gainesville after learning the university inscribed a bible verse into a new building on campus.

The business school building, Heavener Hall, has a bible verse on an archway reading, "He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your god. Micah 6:8."

FFRF lodged a complaint today with W. Kent Fuchs, university president. FFRF is the nation's largest association of nonbelievers, and serves as a state/church watchdog, with more than 22,000 members nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Florida.

"This inscription violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and cannot remain on university property," wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel.

"The First Amendment prohibits the University from lending its voice to sectarian religious speech," wrote FFRF. "When a school chooses to display an excerpt from a religious text, it signals to students who hold differing beliefs that they are outsiders, that they are excluded from the campus community."

Seidel also critiqued the choice of verse, saying it was "in poor taste." Chapter 6 of Micah is "a scathing indictment of the tribe of Israel," said Seidel, in which "God declares that neither animal sacrifice nor human sacrifice will appease him, promises Israel to 'make you ill and destroy you,' and swears to kill infants: 'what you bring to birth I will give to the sword.' "

The passage directly preceding the inscription, Micah 6:7, "contemplates killing one's own child to obtain absolution," charges FFRF, quoting the verse: "Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"

"While the University of Florida most certainly does not endorse child sacrifice or genocide, chapter 6 of Micah does. If adhering to the Constitution is not reason enough to remove the quote, perhaps a desire to condemn genocide is," concluded Seidel.

FFRF asks that the inscription on Heavener Hall be removed.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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