The Democrat state rep who was caught on video footage hiding Bibles in the state Capitol was forced to apologize last Wednesday, the Arizona Republic reported.
For several weeks, the mystery of Bibles going missing from the House members’ lounge confounded state House members, with Bibles being found hidden under the couch cushions and even in the refrigerator.
It wasn’t until the Republican Speaker of the House, Ben Toma, ordered a camera to be placed in the House lounge that the truth came out.
The security footage revealed that it was Democrat Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton who was hiding the Bibles.
With her caper revealed, Stahl Hamilton, an ordained Presbyterian Church minister, was forced to apologize, saying in remarks on the House floor that it was not her intention to be “destructive” or “desecrate” or “offend.” She claimed that she hid the Bibles as a way to voice her concerns about the separation of church and state.
She admitted that it would have been better to address her concerns through a conversation rather than hiding the Bibles in the lounge. Claiming to hold the Scripture “very dear” to her heart, Stahl Hamilton said the Bible guides, shapes, and informs the decisions she makes.
She added that she has “the utmost respect” for people of faith as well as for those who “choose not to have a faith,” and because of that, she recognized that her actions may have been perceived as offensive and something “less than playful.”
Stahl Hamilton later told reporters that her prank began several weeks ago after she spotted a Bible in the lounge. Just for fun, she decided to hide it under the cushions of the couch.
When Bibles continued to show up in the lounge, Stahl Hamilton decided to keep hiding them. She said to her, it felt like a “peaceful, playful protest,” telling reporters that she has always been troubled by how the separation of church and state has been “blurred.”
Speaker Toma has not said if Stahl Hamilton will face any disciplinary action.