The Christian right never, ever tires of finding as many ways as possible to get their religious views officially endorsed by the government and here’s another perfect example. The Louisiana legislature wants to pass a law making the King James Version of the Bible the official state book. The FFRF is rightly condemning that action:
It’s hard to believe that in 2014 a bill to declare “the Holy Bible the official state book of Louisiana” would gain traction in the Louisiana legislature. Yesterday, a House committee voted 8-5 to approve House Bill 503, which does precisely that, and now heads to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shrevepoint, originally declared a specific 16th century copy of the bible in the Louisiana State Museum system as the “official state book.” Then Carmody changed the language to make the “generic” King James Version the “official state book.”
It’s an understatement to point out there are a lot of problems with this bill. First, the King James Version ain’t “generic” — it’s Protestant. There were riots in the streets, arsons of churches, deaths in Philadelphia in 1843, over precisely this kind of show of government preference for the King James Version over the Catholic version in public schools.Ironically, aware that the bill endorses Protestantism over Catholicism, Rep. Stephen Oretego, D-Carencro, argued: “Let’s make this more inclusive of other Christian faiths, more than just the ones that use the King James Version.” This, of course, misses the point: Government preference of all “Christian faiths” is equally inappropriate and unconstitutional, being intrinsically exclusionary of all non-Christians and all non-believers. Same problem when Rep. Ebony Woodruff, D-New Harvey, suggested amending the bill to declare “all books of faith” the official state books of Louisiana! (Imagine the consternation had the legislators actually voted to make the Koran an “official state book.”)
It’s hard to credit this degree of zealotry, insensitivity and ignorance among state legislators in a nation where surveys and polls show that as many as 30% of the U.S. population now identifies as nonreligious. The “Christian Nation” Big Lie, repeated over and over, apparently has done its damage. Legislators who took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution in all its glorious godlessness apparently have never bothered to examine it.
I suspect there’s almost no chance this won’t pass and be signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal because it’s an election year and one sure way to get the rubes to vote for you is to Stand Up for Jesus.