Democratic Lawmaker Caught on Camera Swiping Bibles, Flees When Reporter Calls Her Out


When Bibles started disappearing from the House-members-only lounge at the Arizona State Capitol, security officers hid a camera in the room in an attempt to identify the responsible party.

It turned out to be Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, a Democratic state lawmaker who is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA — generally considered one of the more liberal denominations in the U.S. (as opposed to the similarly named but much more conservative Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA).

Journalist David Caltabiano of KPHO in Phoenix asked Hamilton about the Bibles, but she wasn’t talking.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” she said when Caltabiano approached her in the Capitol building.

“It’s just a simple question: Why would you hide the Bibles?” he asked.

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“Who said anything about hiding Bibles?” she asked.

“You were caught on video,” he responded, at which point the lawmaker retreated back into a section of the building where journalists are not permitted.

She later texted the reporter, admitting to the thefts but claiming that her actions were “Just a little playful commentary on the separation of church and state.”

“I am a Presbyterian minister so I obviously don’t have a problem with the Bible,” she claimed.

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“When I’m watching that, I’m thinking, ‘Well, this is obviously someone who’s got some purpose and some intent, and they know they’re doing something bad,” Republican Pro-Tempore Speaker Travis Grantham told Caltabiano.

“For an ordained minister to do that, again, it’s nonsensical. I have no clarity as to why it happened,” Grantham said.

The outlet reported that Stahl Hamilton had made no previous complaints about the presence of the Bibles in the lounge.

Twitter users had some additional questions for the lawmaker.

There is, of course, no reason to believe that Stahl Hamilton would be more forthcoming regarding these questions from the public than she was with Caltabiano.

“After completing her Masters of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary, Stephanie and [her husband] Derek made Tucson their home,” the legislator’s campaign website says. “She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA and is currently serving as Parish Associate at St. Mark’s.”

The “Staff & Leaders” page of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson does not list Stahl Hamilton as a staff member there.

Should Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton be punished for this?

“St. Marks Presbyterian is a companionate church that engages our faith in God with open hearts and open minds,” the church’s website says.

“We are a faith community that is willing to take risks for progress on social justice. Through progressive and challenging preaching and worship we engages the concerns of the community and the world.  Our gatherings are a safe and stimulating church environment that welcomes all.”

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics