Scripture Censored Across the Board?


First Liberty is defending Heather Rooks, a member of the Peoria Unified School Board in Arizona. She is being prohibited from referencing Scripture during school board meetings.


Heather Rooks | First Liberty Institute

Ordered to Stop Quoting Bible Verses

Since taking office on the school board in January 2023, Heather regularly cites Bible verses during her time for remarks. She takes her responsibilities serving the parents and students in her community seriously and finds quoting Scripture to be calming and encouraging to her.

These include inspirational verses such as Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” She also quoted 1 Corinthians 2:5: “That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

A radical secular organization, however, sent a letter saying Heather must stop quoting “incendiary Christian verses.” The group threatened to file a lawsuit if members continued quoting Scripture. The Peoria governing board’s attorney also “advised” Heather and other members against quoting Scripture during public meetings.

Know Your Rights: Public Employees Can Express Their Religious Beliefs

For several decades, public displays of religion were inhibited and prohibited. This was due to various convoluted and incorrect Supreme Court opinions. However, in recent years, the Supreme Court restored the proper constitutional framework for public religious expression.

This FREE guide helps Americans of all stripes understand how they can restore religious freedom where it rightfully and legally belongs.

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Religious Liberty Protection Kit | First Liberty

Alaska Quote Marks

“Heather is part of the longstanding tradition of government officials solemnizing public occasions. The First Amendment says that she has every right to do so.”

– First Liberty Executive General Counsel, Hiram Sasser

Hiram Sasser | First Liberty Institute

Heather Rooks | First Liberty Institute

If Presidents Can Quote the Bible, Why Can’t a School Board Member?

Quoting the Bible at public meetings is part of America’s history and traditions. Many U.S. presidents in their official capacity have recognized or quoted religious texts they felt were appropriate for the occasion. These include former presidents Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, all the way to current President Joe Biden.

In her official capacity as a Peoria school board member, Heather—like our presidents and countless public leaders across the nation—exercised her First Amendment right that protects the freedom of all Americans to quote a sacred text in any public or private setting.

Censoring religious speech betrays what religious liberty in America is all about. Public employees don’t have to “check their faith” at the door or abandon their convictions. The school district’s governing board should follow the law, do what’s right and allow Heather to express her faith.

Heather Shouldn’t Be Censored.

Help Us Win for Her.

Fighting for Heather in federal court isn’t going to be easy. Getting a win for her—and for countless Americans—will be a tough and possibly long legal battle. It will require a lot of resources—and we’re going to need your ongoing support.

We’ve taken on governments before—and won big. Will you come on board with First Liberty to help us win again? Heather is counting on us. Can we count on you today?

*If contributions exceed the immediate needs of a specific project or case, First Liberty may redirect funds at its discretion to provide support for other religious liberty matters.

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