A former college football player is suing his alma mater for its Bible verse ban.
Michael Lucas donated $2,500 to the Colorado School of Mines for a new athletic facility. In exchange for the donation, the school allows donors to have whatever they like inscribed on a nameplate that will go in the football locker room.
Everything from “Give ‘Em Hell” to “OK Gentlemen, it’s time to gird your loins” has been approved by the university, which receives public funding. But when Lucas submitted two Bible verses for his nameplate, he says the school refused, saying the words “Lord,” “God,” or “Jesus” cannot be on the nameplates.
While “Lord” does appear in one of the two Bible verses Lucas selected — Colossians 3:23 and Micah 5:9 — he wasn’t asking that the text be included on his donor plate, just the verse citations. What’s more, the text of Micah 5:9 is free of any of the prohibited words, reading simply, “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.”
Apparently, the school’s refusal to inscribe the name of the verse on the plate was guilt by association.
Lucas has teamed up with the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to file a federal lawsuit. In a statement, ADF Legal Counsel Natalie Decker said:
Public colleges and universities should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas, especially in a forum like this. The school initially imposed no restrictions – or even guidelines – on the type of message a donor could include, and contrary to what the school is arguing, the First Amendment protects – not restricts – a simple reference to a Bible verse. It’s patently ridiculous to argue that a Bible reference that doesn’t include the text of the verse is somehow inappropriate simply because someone might look it up and see that ‘Lord’ is mentioned there.
Colorado School of Mines did not respond to request for comment in time for publication.
This report, by Casey Harper, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.