Arizona Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, D-Tucson, apologized after being caught on camera hiding Bibles at the state Capitol. But one question on the minds of many Arizonans Stahl Hamilton placed the Bibles under seat cushions and in a refrigerator is why the religious texts are present in the House lounge at all.|| Arizona House of Representatives
By Ray Stern || The Arizona Republic
Arizona’s leaders have upheld religious traditions long before Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton decided to hide two Bibles that were in the House members’ lounge for decades.
The Arizona Constitution’s preamble states that people are “grateful to Almighty God for our liberties” and the state motto, “Ditat Deus,” means “God Enriches.”
But one question on the minds of many Arizonans since Stahl Hamilton, D-Tucson, placed the Bibles under seat cushions and in a refrigerator is why the religious texts are present in the House lounge at all.
No one in the House can say for certain, other than tradition has kept them there for decades.
“There are no records on when they came to the House but, as much as anyone here recalls, they’ve been there since at least the 1990s,” said the House spokesman for the Republican majority, Andrew Wilder. “They could date back much further though.”
The two Bibles are the same, New International Version translations with a 1984 copyright date. They are on tables on opposite sides of the small lounge, where no one but House members and staff are allowed, except by invitation. The lounge, which has doors that open to the House floor, has cushioned chairs and sofas, a couple of TVs, some artwork and an old shoe-shining machine.
No other religious texts, or any other books, grace the lounge.