Foster: Bible Giveaways Over at CMU

Victory

A victory for separation of church and state locally

In a clean win for common sense and the separation of church and state locally, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster announced this morning that he is ending all on-campus bible giveaways at CMU.

In a note to people who had contacted him about the issue, Foster thanked those who had provided him feedback and potential solutions about what to do with the longstanding but now highly controversial tradition.

Foster wrote,

I have had additional discussions with Health Sciences faculty and nursing students. I have sought legal counsel and researched legal precedent. I have listened to the divergent viewpoints of others. Taking all that into consideration, the Bible give-away at the pinning ceremony will be discontinued.Though the presentation of Bibles to graduating nurses by the Gideons at the pinning ceremony is a long-standing, international tradition and the pinning ceremony itself does, in fact, have religious roots, it is important to remain focused upon and to celebrate the accomplishment achieved by all of our graduating students at the December 2015 Commencement.”

Foster’s decision protects the university from potential lawsuits, since it is against the law for any publicly-funded institution to endorse a single religion over others, or over non-religion.

Congratulations go to the extraordinary “Anonymous 5” nursing students who risked their careers and endured a tremendous amount of personal stress at a difficult time to address this thorny issue at CMU, and make the school fairer and friendlier to it’s increasingly diverse student body. They are a wonderful example of the quality of people who graduate from CMU’s nursing program, and a tremendous credit to the City of Grand Junction and the entire western slope.

16 comments for “Foster: Bible Giveaways Over at CMU

  1. Benita Phillips
    November 20, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Helen, Reba, and Mark..you are all good Christians. So how many refugees are you going to take into your homes?

    OOPS…none? Well you are missing your chance to proselytize your way into heaven. For all your rhetoric you fail to reach out to the real truth…. Christ was from the Middle East and a radical of his time. I lived in the Middle East, these “Islamic Jihadists” are no different then Timothy McVay, Kerresch, Jim Jones, Mahareeshi, etc. One can use the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Koran or any other man-written document to justify ANY action one wants to take. When in real “FACT” ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THEN WORDS. You are practicing your religious beliefs in a safe environment…that is easy. The female Nursing students that understood the law and their right to protest were not in an easy environment but showed great courage in defense of OUR Constitution. You cannot have allegiance to our country and its laws and then YOU choose not to accept because you are “Christian” and in turn expect everyone else to follow those same laws if they are “Baptist” or “Episcopalian” or “Bahai.” or “Mexican” When did it come to the “religious” in this country that the Constitution was optional?

    • Helen
      November 20, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Wow, Benita that is pretty judgmental… If you cared to read my reply to Ann – then maybe you would know the OUR Constitution really meant by “separation from church and state” and where it came from (the Baptist – FYI)
      And, by the way… how many “refugees” are YOU taking in? No judgment here if your not… just wondering

      • Benita Phillips
        November 20, 2015 at 11:03 pm

        I don’t go out of my way to criticize honorable young people’s professional actions on the basis of my Christian beliefs. I don’t expound on a blog my religious dogma to prove that I am righteous in the name of the Lord trying to shame these wonderful hardworking kids into accepting a gift from a group that is so patriarchal that women have no place in the hierarchy. Why don’t you start your own blog as you think you have all the answers, so share. I wonder if Christ would find you humble? Good Christians like yourself have a duty to Christ’s teachings , so I assumed you would open you home to a refugee or two. Yes, I would consider housing a family if it came to that. But our good “Christian” Congress has decided to make us a nation of cowards and rabbits.

        • Helen
          November 21, 2015 at 9:44 am

          Obviously, what you and I think are Christian or not – is two different things… You are really being judgmental and self-righteous. I don’t believe I have said anything that would make you say such things… When I disagree with something – I have a right to say that I disagree… as do you. We are at the end of the road on this – we must agree to disagree. Life goes on – I don’t disparage you for your beliefs, that you obviously believe differently about Christians and how they act or behave, is the reason we have various churches… Blessings to you

          • Benita Phillips
            November 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

            And to you as well. Good tidings for Thanksgiving

  2. Helen
    November 18, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Sad, that their choice was taken away…. No one had to take a Bible if they didn’t want one. All through life you have to make life decisions. This would have been a good life training to stand up as an individual and say “no thank you”. The won’t have have people fighting their battles, they needed to learn to speak for themselves for what they deem important

    • John
      November 19, 2015 at 12:49 am

      I don’t recall any choices to take a Quran, the Book of Shadows, the Tripitaka, or others… Your religion doesn’t deserve special treatment. The students shouldn’t have to feel as though they need to take a Bible so they don’t look bad in front of a large crowd of potential employers.

      Seriously, did you even read the article? Did you spend even 2 seconds thinking about it?

    • Rick
      November 19, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      The good thing is, if they want a bible I’m sure they can find one.

    • Reba
      November 19, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      I so agree with you Helen. It is unfortunate that atheists don’t understand they really have nothing to loose by having bibles being given on campus. You can’t be worried about something you don’t believe in. If you don’t believe in God it shouldn’t bother you. I really get tired of the few who threaten a lawsuit always winning out over the many who don’t have to use that as a way of getting what they want. Sad also that CMU gave into that tactic.

      • Anne Landman
        November 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm

        Reba, what you and Helen don’t seem to understand is that the majority/minority rule paradigm had nothing to do with this case. This was purely a case of CMU being in violation of the law by endorsing, or appearing to endorse, a religion by presenting Christian Bibles at a student’s graduation. This type of endorsement at a public school is strictly prohibited by the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Courts have reaffirmed this concept many times over. Governments, and government-funded entities like public schools must remain strictly neutral in matters of religion.

        You should see this as a good thing, even a wonderful thing, because it is what sets the U.S. apart from many other, often war-torn countries countries. A secular government reduces conflict and strife by being steadfastly fair to everyone and not showing preference to any one group of citizens based on their religion. Governments should not be in the business of pushing religion on anyone, and neither should public schools like CMU.

        If you’d prefer to live in a theocracy (a country where government and a religion are closely affiliated or are one in the same), then you might enjoy relocating to a country like Yemen, the Vatican, Afghanistan or Iraq.

        • Mark
          November 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm

          You compare Mesa County to a theocracy?!?! Pfff, hardly. The war between good and evil exists…period. Satan doesnt give a damn about your self righteous PC BS. A Christian may have asked you to a accept Christ as your savior but just in case I’m asking now. You can just say no and go on about your merry way in Mesa County. But if ISIS roles into town you won’t have a choice and you will learn then what a true theocracy is like. Good luck with your atheism them. Ha ha!

        • Helen
          November 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

          I think IF you understood the history behind the phrase “separation of church and state” you would know it was the churches that coined this phrase because they didn’t want a state church (like they came from in England) and it appeared to be going the same way. Here is an article that states it clearly. I am sure you don’t care about facts, so you most likely won’t read it, but here it is in case I am wrong about you:
          The phrase “separation of church and state” was initially coined by Baptists striving for religious toleration in Virginia, whose official state religion was then Anglican (Episcopalian). Baptists thought government limitations against religion illegitimate. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson championed their cause.

          The preamble in Act Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (1786), affirms that “the Author of our Religion gave us our ‘free will.’” And that He “chose not to propagate it by coercions.” This legislation certainly did not diminish religious influence on government for it also provided stiff penalties for conducting business on the Sabbath.

          Nor did the Constitution inhibit public displays of faith. At ratification, a majority of the thirteen several and sovereign states maintained official religions. The early Republic welcomed public worship. Church services were held in the U.S. Capitol and Treasury buildings every Sunday. The imagery in many federal buildings remains unmistakably biblical.

          The day after the First Amendment’s passage, Congress proclaimed a national day of prayer and thanksgiving. The inaugural Congress was largely comprised by those who drafted the Constitution. It reflects incredible arrogance to reconfigure the Bill of Rights into prohibiting religious displays on public grounds. Hanging the Ten Commandments on the wall of a county courthouse no more mandates religion than judges displaying the banner of their favorite sports team somehow equates to Congress establishing that team as preeminent.

          Our forefathers never sought to evict the church from society. They recognized that the several states did not share uniform values. We lived and worshipped differently. The framers were a diverse bunch with wildly divergent opinions on many issues, but eliminating the very foundations of America’s heritage would have horrified them. On few issues was there more unanimity.

          Where the French Revolution and its official policy of “De-Christianization” quickly devolved into bloodshed and oppression, here freedom flourished. Our independence was seen as the culmination of a march toward liberty, not a rejection of America’s historical cultural moorings. Our forbears embraced tradition and left local autonomy largely intact.

          Schools, courts and the public square were often overtly Christian and had been since their colonial beginnings. Few Americans would have tolerated a coercive central government infringing on their rights to post religious symbols on local schools, courts or anywhere else.

          Americans built society from the ground up. Many had fled oppression. The colonies instituted local self-government indigenously to confirm the rights resident in their persons and property. Few would have willingly been dispossessed by Washington of the very freedoms which they had just secured from London.

          Here men could and did rise as their efforts merited. Commoners were unshackled from feudal paralysis and freed to find God individually. Both the economy and church thrived. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that Americans intertwined individual liberty with vibrant faith. “It is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

          Even non-Christian founders thought religion essential. None would have wished to upend the very basis for education, law or culture. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 states: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2011/07/09/the-true-meaning-of-separation-of-church-and-state/

  3. Janet Johnson
    November 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Excellent work! Thanks to Anne and all who facilitated this outcome.

    Congratulations to the graduates!

  4. Rob Fiedler
    November 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Bout time

  5. Sarah Swedberg
    November 18, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Good job students! I’m proud of your work.

  6. Benita Phillips
    November 18, 2015 at 10:42 am

    The pinning ceremony was never a “religious” inspired action. It started during the Crusades as a badge of courage to the “hospitaliers” that cared for the wounded and sick. The Crusades were “religious” of course, but the pinning morphed during the Civil War as a means for Nightengale to award a symbol of excellence to her best students and later was awarded to all Nursing students. My school, The Intercollegiate Center for Nursing opted out of the pinning ceremony 40 years ago. We were “capped” and now that is gone. These symbols are not enduring in comparison to the education and care these students will impart with their hands and minds. Mr. Foster did the right thing. Nursing has always been the crossover of art, science and nature. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE GRADUATES AND GOOD JOB TO ALL THE INSTRUCTORS!!!! In the path of your happiness you will find the reason you have chosen this lifetime. Be happy in your achievements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *