School Board Member Ordered to Stop Citing Scripture at Meetings

School Board Member Ordered to Stop Citing Scripture at Meetings

An Arizona school board member has filed a lawsuit claiming she has been told to stop quoting Scripture during board meetings. 

Heather Rook, who was elected in January to the Unified School District, has opened her comments to the board in Glendale, Arizona, by quoting Scripture ever since her tenure began. 

“[I understand] the weight and significance of all of our decisions,” she said, “and simply find quoting Scripture out loud to be encouraging to myself and to many in attendance.” 

In August, however, the board chairman told Rooks she would have to stop the practice. The board had received letters from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Wisconsin-based secularist group that advocates for strict separation of church and state, demanding Rooks cease quoting the Bible. 

As a result, the First Liberty Institute along with the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP has filed a lawsuit against the Peoria Unified School District on Rooks’ behalf, The Christian Post reported

The lawsuit argues that Rooks’ practice doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

It further states that Rooks’ practice “accords with over 200 years of this nation’s historical practices and understandings.” 

The suit referenced President Joe Biden when he addressed the nation and acknowledged how the military draws inspiration from the Biblical Prophet Isaiah. It also highlighted President Abraham Lincoln quoting from the New Testament Book of Matthew at his second inauguration and President George Washington quoting the Old Testament Prophet Micah during his resignation.

Franklin Graham applauded Rooks and her legal team in a Facebook post on Tuesday.   

“I appreciate the great legal team at First Liberty Institute standing up to defend Heather’s freedom,” Franklin posted. “Many of our presidents and leaders have quoted Scripture in the line of duty. Atheists and secularists shouldn’t be able to override that freedom. Our nation’s motto is ‘In God we trust,’ and He is our only hope.”

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, pointed out the hypocrisy in censoring prayer and Scripture in school board meetings while, at the same time, matters of gender ideology are being forced upon children and teachers.

“FFRF doesn’t complain about those ideas being pushed from the dais,” Kilgannon told The Washington Stand. “This is religious persecution by FFRF. I’m so glad First Liberty is defending Ms. Rooks and our religious freedoms.”

Above: Peoria Unified School District board member Heather Rooks (second from right) speaks during a recent meeting.

Screenshot via Peoria Unified School District video stream

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