Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction (video below) traditionally allows Gideons International, a Christian missionary group, to hand out Bibles to nursing school graduates during their pinning ceremony.
However, the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers sent a letter (on behalf of some students) to the university on Nov. 9 telling them the Gideons could not hand out the Bibles, or the school would have to allow any and all different religious content to be given to the graduates, notes the Friendly Atheist.
Tim Foster, president of the university, sent a reply letter to the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, which the group posted on Facebook on Nov. 18.
"I have had additional discussions with Health Sciences faculty and nursing students. I have sought legal counsel and researched legal precedent," Foster wrote. "I have listened to the divergent viewpoints of others. Taking all that into consideration, the Bible give-away at the pinning ceremony will be discontinued."
"Though the presentation of Bibles to graduating nurses by the Gideons at the pinning ceremony is a long-standing, international tradition and the pinning ceremony itself does, in fact, have religious roots, it is important to remain focused upon and to celebrate the accomplishment achieved by all of our graduating students at the December 2015 Commencement," Foster added.