A member of the Rocklin, Calif., school board is under fire for refusing to wear a mask during public meetings and vowing to base her decisions on the Bible.
Tiffany Saathoff, whose day job is community-center director at Destiny Church, a congregation that has been urging resistance against COVID vaccines, said during her campaign, “God, our country needs you, our city needs you, our students need you. Churches, we need you in this fight right now,” reported the Sacramento Bee.
During an October speech at the state capitol to an anti-vaccination group, Saathoff said, “I am often asked how I make decisions in a time of such polarization and confusion. I reply by opening my purse and taking out two documents I carry with me to govern my decision-making. The first is the Holy Bible. The second is a handheld copy of the U.S. Constitution.”
A local resident, Hope Struck, challenged Saathoff’s views during a recent board meeting.
“This is not a theocracy,” Struck said. “The separation of church and state is one of the foundations of our freedom. My question is, are your religious and political convictions unfairly influencing our school board decisions? I’d ask you to take a look at that.”
Hannah Holzer, an opinion assistant at the Bee, chastised Saathoff in a Nov. 7 column.
“Saathoff’s failure to separate her private religion from her public position is an abuse of her elected office with dangerous repercussions,” wrote Holzer. “Her duty as a board member is to the Rocklin Unified community, but her service consistently falls short of that obligation. If Saathoff cannot separate her personal and religious beliefs from her professional roles, she should reconsider her future in public office.”