Year of the Bible – because it's only good for a year

The good Dr. West points us to a news story which I quote from Comedy Central FoxNews:

A Republican House member wants President Obama to make 2010 the year of the Bible.

There’s no sign that Obama will get the chance in the foreseeable future. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun’s resolution would have no force of law if passed. And it can’t be passed unless majority Democrats, who referred it to a committee, bring it to the floor for a vote.

The resolution reads in part:

“The president is encouraged … to issue a proclamation calling upon citizens of all faiths to rediscover and apply the priceless, timeless message of the Holy Scripture which has profoundly influenced and shaped the United States and its great Democratic form of government, as well as its rich spiritual heritage, and which has unified, healed and strengthened its people for over 200 years.”

Told of the measure, several Democrats and liberal and atheist bloggers objected. Some said it would violate the separation of church and state by advocating one book of faith over others.

“If Broun wants to practice his brand of Bible-thumping by legislative ‘ministering’ to the public, let him get his own damn pulpit outside the halls of Congress,” blogged Talking Points Memo on May 13. The Politico also reported on the resolution.

Broun said the nation’s values are based on those espoused in the Bible.

“The national year of the Bible resolution reminds us that our great nation was founded upon biblical principles and that religious freedom is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights,” he said in a statement. The resolution has 14 co-sponsors.

Really? So where does the ‘Year of the Bible’ fit into religious freedom? Perhaps in the context of religious freedom, we can a year of the Qu’ran. I was hoping that our elected officials had realized that they had more important things to do than to issue resolutions to appease a deity.

There is precedent. By signing proclamation 5018, President Ronald Reagan designated 1983 the year of the Bible, “in recognition of the contributions and influence of the Bible on our Republic and our people.”

“I encourage all citizens, each in his or her own way, to re-examine and rediscover its priceless and timeless message,” the proclamation reads.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Year of the Bible – because it's only good for a year

  1. The real thing here?

    Broun wants to set up Obama up to fail. Of course Pres. Obama isn’t going to declare any such thing. When he doesn’t, Broun and company will raise fits screaming, “See, he hates the Bible!”

    It’s all stupid political gamesmanship.

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