An Arizona state lawmaker who is a Democrat was censured for hiding Bibles in the legislators’ lounge.
The Arizona Mirror reported that in April, Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, a Democratic state representative, was captured on camera hiding a Bible in the refrigerator and placing another behind the couch cushions in the lounge. Three members of the Republican party filed a complaint accusing her of theft and disruptive behavior.
Following an investigation by the House Ethics Committee that suggested censure, the vote was narrowly decided with a count of 30 to 28. The attempt by Republicans to remove her failed with a vote of 27-31.
Members of the House of Representatives identifying as Christian were distraught with Hamilton’s conduct during the hearing, resulting in her being censured.
Justin Heap, a Republican representative from Texas, asked if we prioritize the honor of Arizona politicians or the glory of God.
Heap stated profoundly that Hamilton’s actions were compared to freezing a Quran in the House, deemed a hate crime.
Heap continued that the Bible is the only religious text believed in by the majority of members and the majority of Arizonans, yet, it’s a hate crime that goes unpunished.
Rachel Jones, a Republican state representative from Texas, expressed her discomfort and offense at the idea of sitting on the Bible.
Several Democrats argued that Hamilton should be pardoned based on biblical teachings, a comment that seems disingenuous. Mae Peshlakai, a state representative from the Democratic party, stated that she learned from the Bible to forgive and be kind to people.
Athena Salman, a Democrat in the state legislature, expressed her disapproval of how Hamilton was captured. She accused the Republicans of trying to intimidate and mistreat Stahl Hamilton by placing a hidden camera in the members’ lounge.
Hamilton announced her candidacy for office in 2020, citing her frustration with the presence of Bibles on legislators’ desks. Republican state Rep. David Marshall interpreted this as a sign of her hostility towards Christians and the Bible.
Hamilton expressed that her actions were a protest against the absence of a clear distinction between religion and government, and she also apologized. The woman described her actions as a simple prank.