In Gainesville, the University of Florida’s new building for business education greets students with a Bible verse.
Heavener Hall, which is named after a local business leader who made a generous contribution toward its construction, features this inscription on one of the archways leading into the building:
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your god. Micah 6:8
Why anyone thinks that belongs on the property of a public university, I don’t know. Walking humbly with God certainly won’t improve your prospects in the business world.
“The First Amendment prohibits the University from lending its voice to sectarian religious speech,” wrote FFRF. “When a school chooses to display an excerpt from a religious text, it signals to students who hold differing beliefs that they are outsiders, that they are excluded from the campus community.”
Seidel also critiqued the choice of verse, saying it was “in poor taste.” Chapter 6 of Micah is “a scathing indictment of the tribe of Israel,” said Seidel, in which “God declares that neither animal sacrifice nor human sacrifice will appease him, promises Israel to ‘make you ill and destroy you,’ and swears to kill infants: ‘what you bring to birth I will give to the sword.'”
I can’t find a clear picture of the inscription anywhere, but I’m looking forward to the school’s explanation for why they included a Bible verse on the new building. Even if it was at the request of a donor, it doesn’t belong there.
(Image via Wesley Hetrick on Flickr)