Dixie State University Inn removes religious texts from rooms after guest complaint

Book of Mormon | Photo by embrusa/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — After receiving a complaint from a guest, the Dixie State University Inn removed all religious texts from its rooms over the summer.

A guest staying at the inn made a complaint after discovering two copies of the Book of Mormon in her room and a Bible in another room during a different stay, according to Freedom From Religion Foundation, which takes legal action challenging the involvement of religion and government.

The foundation then reached out to DSU President Richard “Biff” Williams to address the issue through a letter dated June 14.

It is a fundamental principle of Establishment Clause jurisprudence that a government entity cannot promote, advance, or otherwise endorse religion,” wrote Christopher Line from Freedom From Religion Foundation in the letter addressed to Williams.

“If a state-run university has a policy of providing religious texts to all guests, that policy facilitates illegal endorsement of Christianity and Mormonism over minority religions and nonreligion.”

The Establishment Clause prohibits a government entity from establishing a religion, as well as favoring one religion over another.

The letter to Williams also mentioned that regardless of whether or not the religious texts were donated by a private party, “the placement of ‘holy books’ in guest rooms demonstrates government endorsement of a religious message.”

Alison Vicroy, assistant general counsel for DSU, responded to the foundation in a letter dated Aug. 29, and said all religious texts that may have been left in rooms were removed. The inn, located at 123 E. 100 South, is owned by the university and is used for Road Scholar, or educational travel, use.

“As a state institution of higher education,” Vicroy wrote, “we are committed to maintaining a clear separation of church and state.”

The letter from DSU also mentioned the university has established a procedure for removing any religious texts in the future.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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22 Comments

  • iceplant September 26, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    “As a state institution of higher education,” Vicroy wrote, “we are committed to maintaining a clear separation of church and state.”

    While I certainly appreciate the commitment and see this as a step in the right direction, this IS Utah. Where separation of church and state have a really long way to go. Utah is still theocratic to its core. That must change.

    • comment September 26, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      I have to disagree. You see what you want to see. Nothing more

      • iceplant September 26, 2018 at 7:15 pm

        That’s good for you. I see all sides, thanks. Feel free to troll elsewhere.

        • Striker4 September 27, 2018 at 12:30 am

          I disagree but that’s your opinion feel free to troll elsewhere

          • Real Life September 27, 2018 at 2:38 pm

            I disagree but thar’s your opinion feel free to troll elsewhere.

      • Kilroywashere September 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

        Comments is seriously in disagreement, that is not trolling. My disagreement with him is not trolling either.

        • ladybugavenger September 27, 2018 at 10:41 am

          Its “comment” not our one and only Bob aka “comments” 2 different commenters. 😉

    • Redbud September 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Iceplant even if what you say is true, and in this case I’m not going to argue that point, you will never see a significant change in your lifetime. Utah is Utah.

  • Kilroywashere September 26, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    When I have attended Santa Clara government public meetings they always do the plege of allegiance and then a long drawn out prayer that specifically mentions Jesus the savior. One time, I was literally the only person in the audience at a meeting, and the prayer went off the deep end and was directed literally at me specifically as the proxy audience member. I felt embarrassed and it shocked me. On that note I can turn the other cheek, but I see my local government as a religious structure and I simply don’t attend any meetings anymore as it is analogous to going into a church. For me summoning God for such mundane things is ridiculous. My belief of course. That is why there should be a separation of church and state. So Comments I disagree with your comment. You have to draw a line somewhere. So let them pray if they want, but in the end they are being disrespectful to other people with different religious beliefs that simply want to participate.

    • comments September 26, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      COMMENT is his name. and it’s not I 😉

  • tazzman September 26, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Eh, I don’t get my fellow non-religious folks getting all worked up over simple texts from Gideons or anyone else in a room. I just ignore them. They don’t have weight in my mind. Atheists can be their own worst enemies.

    • Happy Commenter September 26, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Only mentally weak and programmed people are offended by harmless inanimate objects. You could choose to just ignore it or you can be controlled by it. Some are easier to control than others. Censor the truth and you are guilty also!

  • Kilroywashere September 26, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Ok Tazz & Happy, not that I disagree or agree, but where do you draw the line? If you’re ok sleeping with a copy of Anton Levey’s Satanic Bible (best seller) or a copy of the Necronomicon in the drawer next to your bed does that change your opinion? Although the Necronomicon is a work of fiction to me, for some it is a religious text. Just saying .

    • Happy Commenter September 27, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Inanimate objects in a closed drawer do not harm anyone in any way. If you believe they can, you have deeper issues that need addressing, removing the objects will not help you. It’s a form of psychosis called Automatonophobia and there is treatment for it.

      • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm

        Harm is relative. Personally, I have no issue, so Happy it’s not about me or amateur psychology. It is about the rule of law in regards to separation of Church and State. What if someone’s 9 year old opens the drawer accidently and reads what is offensive to that persons belief system. The parents
        expectation is that book should not be there as it is a state run entity. To them and by definition that is harm. Ok, next example. Municipal laws exist in regards to flyers. Add religion. While I’m in my house a religious group stuffs a flyer underneath my door with a picture of Baphomet. An hour later I find my little kid had found it and used it as a coloring book. That is why we have laws where we separate church from state. This is not about free speech or the Charlie Hebdo scenario. Inanimate objects can cause harm. So once again where do you draw the line in the sand. Should I have to listen to a pray invocation to the God Set as part of a civil government public meeting. If that is ok with you then you have no line in the sand or you are a hypocrite. Good luck, You would be ok living in Iran under Mullahs lol I guess
        by definition. This is America.

        • Happy Commenter September 27, 2018 at 2:06 pm

          Inanimate objects in a closed drawer do not harm anyone in any way…Prove that it does , Please enlighten us!

          • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 3:25 pm

            Gee Happy did you read?. Guess not. Try re reading above. Examples obvious. Or don’t waste my time if you don’t read and comment on the last sentence.

          • Happy Commenter September 27, 2018 at 4:53 pm

            don’t make me laugh..You actually believe a book is going to jump out of a drawer and read to you all by itself.. hahahahaha! Mental illness requires a psychiatrist!

        • Happy Commenter September 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

          BTW, DSU Inn is not a State run institution, It is a privately owned non-profit.

          • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 8:37 pm

            Well on that note as a non profit, non state entity, I guess you are correct. If it is privately owned or not a state funded entity, feel free to put Hustler mags in the drawer next to the bed. Thought it was related to Dixie State and thus a state entity. My error. Guess you’ll open 5hat drawer now.

  • ladybugavenger September 27, 2018 at 10:46 am

    When I went to a motel and it did not have a Bible, I went to the office and asked for one. They gave it to me. It was run by people who read the Quran. And we got along fine.

    Here we go! Another offended person.

  • ladybugavenger September 27, 2018 at 10:49 am

    When I was growing up, it was normal for motel rooms to have a Bible and a phonebook. 😉 the world was a better place back then

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