Arizona State Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson) was observed on video hiding Bibles from her fellow lawmakers in the Arizona State Capitol’s House members-only lounge.
When Bibles began to vanish from the lounge, security authorities installed a covert camera to determine who was responsible. According to AZFamily, they learned Stahl Hamilton was the perpetrator not long after that.
According to AZFamily reporter David Caltabiano, the state lawmaker took a Bible off the coffee table in the lounge and appeared to hide it.
Several of the missing Bibles were apparently discovered under lounge seat cushions, while one was discovered in the refrigerator.
Caltabiano faced Stahl Hamilton, who also happens to be an ordained preacher, in the Capitol building and inquired of her why she had hidden Bibles.
“I do not wish to talk to you,” she told the reporter, who replied, “It is just a simple question. Why did you hide those Bibles?”
“Who said anything pertaining to hiding Bibles?” inquired the state legislator, to which Caltabiano responded, “You’ve been recorded on video,” before repeating the question as Stahl Hamilton walked away.
The Arizona state legislator eventually admitted to the theft through text message, but said her actions were “just something of a humorous commentary on the separating of the state and the church.”
“I’m a Presbyterian minister, so obviously I do not have an issue with the Bible,” she said.
According to AZ Central, Stahl Hamilton later apologized to her colleagues for her behavior.
“I hold Scripture in high regard. It’s what keeps me going. It shapes and informs every choice I make,” she explained. “I hold the greatest respect for those of all faiths, as well as those who choose not to believe. And because of that, I know that my behaviors may have been perceived as less than lighthearted — and even disrespectful.”
It is unknown whether Stahl Hamilton will be facing disciplinary action.