Dixie State University Removes Book of Mormon and Bibles from Hotel Rooms after Guest Complaint

The FFRF has praised DSU on its prompt action

The Dixie State University Inn took the step to keep its rooms free from all religious texts after a guest complained this past summer. She discovered two copies of the Book of Mormon during her stay. She also found a Bible during another stay. The Freedom From Religious Foundation (FFRF) convinced the parent university to make the rooms free of religious literature after the incident. The FFRF reminded Dixie State University that as per the law, government entities have no right to endorse or promote religion. This rule includes denying outside organizations to put religious texts inside the guest rooms of any public university.

The FFRF is a national organization and a non-profit with over 32,000 members scattered all over the United States, including in the state of Utah. The intention of the FFRF is to protect the state-church separation as per the Constitutional norms. It also educates the public on non-theism. It frequently takes the legal route when it discovers an infringement of separation of government and religion.

The FFRF's Christopher Line wrote a letter to Richard "Biff" Williams, the DSU President on June 14. Line pointed out that the basic tenet of the Establishment Clause jurisprudence is that a government entity cannot promote, endorse, or advance religion. The letter continued to say that if a government managed and funded university provides religious texts as a matter of policy to every guest, then the policy means the institute is illegally promoting one particular religion over others. In this case, the university seemingly favors the Christian religion.

The university was quick to respond. The DSU's assistant general counsel, Alison Vicroy, wrote a reply on August 29 stating that all religious texts present in the rooms were taken away. The university owns the inn. Rooms are rented out for educational travel usage. Vicroy stated in the letter that as a higher education institution, the DSU is fully committed to maintaining a state-church separation. She also wrote that the university has a well-established method for the removal of any religious texts in the future.

The FFRF has applauded the DSU resolution pertaining to this issue. It is happy that the university has made the reality of its claims of upholding the constitutional obligation on remaining neutral in religious matters. The FFRF has done the same in several other universities like Northern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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