Rutgers University professor Kathe Sandler told one of her students not to quote the Bible in his paper because of the “separation of church and state.”

Campus Reform reported that political science student Peter Cordi was assigned a paper to write in his “Intro to Gender, Race, and Sexuality” class.

“In his paper, Cordi referenced a personal friend of his who struggles with his own homosexual identity, especially given the views of the individual’s mother. Cordi wrote about how his friend’s mother cites her Christian religion and beliefs to justify her opinion of people who identify as gay,” Campus Reform noted. 

Cordi disagrees with his friend’s mother’s opinion and used one of the most well-known Bible verses, John 3:16, to support his position. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).

Of course, Cordi is correct when he says that God loves every individual. This includes those struggling with homosexuality – or any other sexual or relational sin. He’s correct, too, when he says Christians are called to love everyone, even while we stand against sinful actions.

Since the paper was an autobiographical essay, Cordri was simply stating his beliefs, which are influenced by scripture. He should have the right to do so.

For quoting this verse, his professor corrected his paper and wrote, “Avoid quoting scripture in academic papers unless you are commenting on scripture.” He received a B+ on the paper, despite the professor only marking down two corrections. 

Because Cordi was concerned that he had been marked down because of his use of scripture in the paper, he set up a meeting with Professor Sandler. During the meeting, Sandler told him that he shouldn’t quote from the Bible because of the “separation of church and state,” and because it “may not be for everyone.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, Peter Cordi said, “My right to free speech and religion have certainly been violated. Separation of church and state is supposed to protect the church from the state, and if I want to quote the Bible and say that Jesus loves everybody, then it is my right to do so whether you’re a Christian or not.”

It’s important to dispel with the myth that Jefferson intended to keep religion out of the government with the use of the phrase “separation of church and state,” as Professor Sandler assumes. Rather, Jefferson was arguing against the federal government establishing a national religion. 

As The Daily Citizen noted in a previous article, “Renowned scholar Daniel Dreisbach writes that Jefferson endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians. Does that sound like a high and impregnable wall? Hardly. The absurd conclusion that countless courts and commentators would have us reach is that Jefferson routinely pursued policies that violated his own wall of separation.” 

Now, the Bible is one of the most important documents ever created, and not just for its spiritual benefits. Indeed, the Bible has had the more of a profound effect on Western civilization than any other text in history. Surely, of all people, knowledgeable professors at reputable universities should be able to recognize this. 

In her conversation with Peter Cordi, Professor Sandler asked, “do you need the scripture? Do you really need the scripture? I think you could work without the scripture, but that’s my personal opinion.”

Professor Sandler is free to have her personal opinion on the Bible, but shouldn’t Cordi also be free to have his? 

Additional Information: 

Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?

Reexamining the Separation Between Church and State

New Pew Report, Is Christianity Really Shrinking?

The Bible as a Historical Document – The Power of Archaeological Evidence


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