A Christian legal group is suing in federal court an Ohio public library over what the group argues is a case of anti-Christian religious discrimination.
In its lawsuit filed last week, the Alliance Defense Fund said the Clermont County Public Library denied a Christian couple access to their public meeting rooms because of their intention to hold a seminar that would make use of Scripture-based financial related materials through Crown Financial Ministries.
Although the library's public policy states that "meeting rooms are available to all community groups and non-profit organizations," the biblically-based financial group was denied access to a meeting room because of what the library said was a policy against "quoting Bible verses."
According to the library's policy, meeting rooms are prohibited for use for political, religious or social events.
In a statement, ADF Legal Counsel Tim Chandler said that the lawsuit would seek damages against the library because of what he described as their "blatant viewpoint discrimination" against Christians.
"Refusing to grant this group permission to hold a seminar at a meeting room in a public library because they planned to quote the Bible is about as blatantly un-American and unconstitutional as you can get," he said.
"What's next? Will the library board attempt to keep patrons from checking out Bibles and reading them on government property?" he asked.
In his summary of the case, ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said that the library was clearly in the wrong and had done much harm to Christians everywhere.
"The denial sends the message to Christians that they are not deemed a valuable part of the community," he said. "This is a financial planning seminar, and the library has previously allowed meetings that discuss financial planning. The fact that they may quote Bible verses during the meeting does not legally matter."
The suit asks that the library's rule against the use of meeting rooms for religious events be overturned, and that compensatory damages be awarded to the couple and the organization.
"The Vandergriffs and the institute believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and as such is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, including all wisdom and knowledge concerning financial matters," the suit states.