Civil liberties union and Arizona mayor reach 'Bible Week' pact

Posted: Friday, October 27, 2000

PHOENIX (AP) -- A two-year legal battle over ''Bible Week'' in suburban Gilbert is finally settled.

Under the deal, the Arizona Civil Liberties Union has dropped a federal lawsuit against Mayor Cynthia Dunham and she gets to proclaim Nov. 19-26 as Bible Week. In return, Dunham will omit religious references from her proclamation, stop asking people to read the Bible and cannot publicly read support letters from clergy.

The ACLU has campaigned against the observance since 1994. Gov. Jane Hull and all other Arizona cities that had issued such proclamations stopped. When Dunham didn't, the ACLU sued on behalf of three Gilbert residents who were offended by the mayor's proclamation.

''We would prefer that there would be no Bible Week,'' ACLU Director Eleanor Eisenberg said, but the revised proclamation accord ''would pass constitutional muster.''

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