Changes are being made to the University of Florida’s Heavener Hall after a series of complaints about a Bible verse that is inscribed on the courtyard’s west arch.
The quote from Micah 6:8 will remain on the arch, but a new portal will add three secular quotes, according to Janine Sikes, university spokeswoman. Two of the new quotes were suggested by an ethics professor, while the other was proposed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Sikes explained this solution was the best option for the university.
“The entire process was driven by the college’s overarching educational purpose, and that ethics are an underlying principle of business,” Sikes said. “This very much supports what the University of Florida is all about.”
The four quotes will be:
- “To restrain our selfish[ness], and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature.” Adam Smith, 1759 (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
- “Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.” Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics)
- “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” Thomas Paine, 1791 (The Rights of Man)
- “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
An attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Andrew Seidel, said he would prefer the university remove the quote altogether, but is pleased with the solution.
“The university really did seem genuine in their efforts to solve this and work with us,” said Seidel. “We felt this was a good solution.”
Installation of the new portal will be completed in the next few weeks.