It’s the ‘Year of the Bible’ in Pennsylvania

House Resolution 535 in Pennsylvania, sponsored by Rep. Rick Saccone (R-obviously), declares:

That the House of Representatives declare 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of the Bible on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.

Right… because we have a “national need” to understand Genesis, genocide, and all the other bullshit in the Bible.

Saccone doesn’t even try to take a secular route in explaining it:

“As not only Pennsylvania, but the United States, continues to face great tests and challenges, House Resolution 535 serves as a reminder that we must look to our faith in God and the Holy Scripture to provide us with the strength, wisdom and courage to conquer these great trials,” said Saccone. “All over the Pennsylvania Capitol, one can easily see the tremendous influence that Christianity and the Bible have had over our founders and predecessors. These images and quotes illustrating the beliefs and morals that have shaped our great Commonwealth must never be forgotten.”

You know, if 2012 is the Year of the Bible, what the hell was every single year before this? It’s not like 2011 was the Koran’s year. (And when do atheists get a year?! I WANT A YEAR, DAMMIT!)

The worst part isn’t that the Resolution passed. It’s that it passed 193-0. Not a single voice of dissent.

Maybe that’s why they called it a “Noncontroversial Resolution”:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation can’t believe it:

“Our constitution grants sovereignty not to a deity or a ‘holy book,’ but to ‘We, the People.’ There is no reference to God, the bible, the Ten Commandments or Jesus in the U.S. Constitution, just as there are no references to ‘consent of the governed,’ ‘civil liberties’ or ‘democracy’ in the bible. Those who have truly studied the bible realize that it is a moral quagmire, a behavioral grab bag, which has been used to justify automatic rule, tyranny, slavery, the degradation of women and gays, child abuse, war, atrocity and mayhem,” noted FFRF.

They also offer a sample letter (PDF) for Pennsylvanians to use when contacting their representatives.

If you don’t live in PA, though, you can always let Rep. Saccone know what you think directly on his Facebook page.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Anonymous

    There was also a reference to ‘In god we trust’ in other quotations; I wish someone would explain to them when and why that appeared on US currency!

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy2q

    All I can come up with right now is a face-palm.

  • Rbray18

    year of the bible.is that like the year of the dragon?

  • Anonymous

    WTH?  Separation of church and state?

  • Chrissykoepp1978

    Not that I’m turning a blind eye, but I am SO glad I don’t live in PA anymore. What rubbish.

  • Marguerite

    Wow. The mind boggles. It really does.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kris.cass Kris Cass

      Amen!

  • Tom

    After going to all the trouble and expense of passing this resolution, just what measurable practical benefit do they expect it to have to anything or anyone?  Is there really nothing more important they can be doing with the time and money entrusted to them?

    The words “deckchairs” and “Titanic” come to mind.

    • Doug

      It’s a shame, Tom.  I agree that there have been those in history who have used the Bible to ” justify automatic rule, tyranny, slavery, the degradation of women and gays, child abuse, war, atrocity and mayhem.” 

      My only reply to you is that the Bible, especially the New Testament, has lead me to accept and love those who are different from me, to answer the call in taking care of the “widows, the lonely, and the orphans in this world,” and it has certainly helped me to treat those in my life, especially my girlfriend and family, with much love and respect.  Jesus is real.  And, he spent most of his time with those who were struggling, who doubted him, and who were considered the “sinners” of his day, and chastised those pharisees who went around preaching the law instead of letting their actions speak for them in a humble way.  

      I respect that you don’t believe in a God.  I dont’ blame you for getting frustrated with some of the leaders of our society who preach before listening.  I’d like to listen to you…I’d be interested in hearing your views.  Thanks.  - Doug.

      • Brogamora

        That’s a nice post Doug. For me, believers fall into two camps: those who believe and go about their lives in their chosen way without imposing their views on others; and those, who may or may not be believers, who want to impose their views on others and on society. All I want, as a person who lives his life by reason and by my intelligence,  is to be allowed  live and rear my children without mullahs, rabbis, priests and prosletisers pushing their agendas in the public arena. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luther-Weeks/100001027655434 Luther Weeks

    It should be called the “Prey on PA Bill (of goods)”

  • Catherine Dixon

    Looks like the FFRF forgot to mention racism. The Bible is chalk full of characters supporting racism.

  • Anonymous

    Its too bad we can’t get the full story about how Saccone first came up with this resolution. Who asked him or paid him? Who wrote it?

    • Roberto

      I am ashamed that a fellow Italian American like Saccone would take this fanatical, anti-intellectual, anti-constitutional stance.  I’d rather be affiliated with the mafia.

    • Satan H.

      Ask him!   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-Saccone/245785189117

      But watch out, he’s a Christian Counselor, and a spy….

      PA State Rep. Rick
      Saccone

      Rick
      Saccone was elected to serve the people of Washington and Allegheny counties in
      November 2010. During the 2011-12 session, Rick has been appointed to serve on
      the following House committees: Children and Youth; Environmental Resources and
      Energy; Judiciary and Urban Affairs. Rick served our county for more than a decade as a United States Air Force
      Counterintelligence and Special Agent conducting felony, criminal, fraud and
      counterintelligence investigations and operations worldwide. After retiring from
      the USAF, Saccone remained in South Korea to work as a TV news anchor and later
      moved on to work in international business for several corporations operating in
      South Korea and Central America. He later became a representative for an
      international organization implementing the Agreed Framework with North Korea.
      As the only American citizen living in North Korea during this time, Rick gained
      invaluable diplomatic experience working and successfully negotiating with
      international officials to build nuclear power plants. Returning to the U.S to
      complete his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, Rick became a full-time
      professor at Saint Vincent College teaching Political Science, Government,
      International Business and other international courses. When America went to war
      with Iraq, Rick volunteered for an assignment to the U.S. Army as a civilian. He
      served in Baghdad and in the hotspot of Mosul as a Senior Counterintelligence
      Agent responsible for identifying, capturing and interrogating insurgents. After
      returning to the United States and Saint Vincent College, Rick embarked on a
      Fulbright-Hayes summer scholarship to Egypt studying Islam, history and
      politics, and, most recently, an education and research scholarship to Africa.
      Rick has traveled to 66 countries; contributed numerous articles on
      international politics, business and culture to top national and international
      newspapers such as USA Today, the Baltimore Sun and the Korea Times; and
      authored seven books on North and South Korea, and his eighth book on Iraq. Just
      as active in his local community, Rick has served on the Elizabeth EMS Ambulance
      Board, the Elizabeth Forward School Board and many years as a church youth
      leader. He is also a graduate and member of the American Association of
      Christian Counselors, as well as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW),
      the American Legion, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and a
      life member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). During his school board
      service, Rick was successful in his efforts to cut school property taxes twice,
      eliminate a wasteful spending project that was strongly opposed by the public,
      and increase the overall level of government transparency and accountability.
      Rick resides in Elizabeth Township with his wife, Yong. Married for 32 years,
      they are the proud parents of two sons, Nick and Matthew.

      • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

        a torturer and a pedophile. why am i not surprised. 

  • Alex

    I remember some curious text saying something about laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or something like that. Can’t quite remember where it was. Looks like I’m not the only one.

    • Satan H.

      Yeah, but the argument could be made that a mere resolution is not a law, but merely an opinion of the majority of the Reps.

  • Joannaa

    Oh for crap’s sake. The governor is trying to cut education spending, but this is necessary? I guess cutting education would help pass more stuff like this.
    I’ll send the letter.

  • Satan H.

    If you don’t live in Harrisburg, where I live, and don’t actually attend the sessions of the PA House and Senate, like I do, you wouldn’t  know that 2/3 of the legislators don’t even show up at the beginning of each session for the obligatory opening prayer (often a Jebus prayer) for which they pressure visitors to stand (I refuse, even when the armed guards approach me).  They walk in after the prayer and the Pledge (which I forcefully recite without “under God” and without pausing—boy, does that mess up the minds of the others in the visitor galleries). They are such hypocrites.  Even when they come into the room, they don’t sit down, shut up, and pay attention.  Instead they are playing solitaire, eating, reading the newspaper, socializing, or snoozing.  Even the Speaker has to chastise them to shut up and sit down.  It’s a disgrace, and they even pissed off a group of elderly, black war veterans who were to be honored in the visitor gallery, next to me, when I was there a few weeks ago.

    • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

      i used to work on the MI state capitol, and yeah. that sounds about right. i made friends with a lot of republiclowns. the truth is, none of them really believe the crap they spout. it’s all for show/election/donation reasons. most of them know that the real game is getting into lobbying. that’s where the big money is; they’re just ‘paying their dues’ serving corporations for a couple of years as legislators/party animals before moving on to the Show. 

    • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

      i used to work on the MI state capitol, and yeah. that sounds about right. i made friends with a lot of republiclowns. the truth is, none of them really believe the crap they spout. it’s all for show/election/donation reasons. most of them know that the real game is getting into lobbying. that’s where the big money is; they’re just ‘paying their dues’ serving corporations for a couple of years as legislators/party animals before moving on to the Show. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001071231218 Andrew Pfaff

    The year of the skeptic/atheist should be 2013 ;)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah!!!  Give me two boxes of bibles…..  I’ll keep them in the same closet where I keep my toilet paper……… And use them for the same thing!

  • PA College Student

    This is ludicrous, appalling and embarrassing, and the reasons behind the legislation are flat-out wrong. Although I agree there’s a national need to study (not apply) the scriptures — the sooner people realize how insane the bible truly is, the better.

  • Volunteer

    They should have declared it the Year of the Constitution. In an election year, it would do serve everyone well to review what that document actually says. As an added bonus, it might prevent inane resolutions such as the one posted.

  • Anonymous

    RE: Year of the Bible Dear Rep. Rick Saccone:
    I am not American or a Pennsylvanian but I like your style. I formally
    request that House Resolution 535 is amended to make each day of the
    year reflective of a specific bible passage. As such,
    please make my birthday (Aug 2) Ezekiel 23:20 Day. On this day,
    participants will be asked to reflect on their own lives while watching
    the works of James Deen, followed by going out for drinks with their
    closest friends. Kind of like St. Patrick’s Day, but without all of the
    green and shamrocks. I will save you a seat. Thank you.

  • Volunteer

    They should have declared it the Year of the Constitution. In an election year, it would do serve everyone well to review what that document actually says. As an added bonus, it might prevent inane resolutions such as the one posted.

  • Sparkplugbeck

    Even more appalling and infuriating is Saccone’s support of anti-choice, anti-women legislation: 
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=346312932055079&set=a.177660558920318.39451.175697382449969&type=1&theater

  • Gunstargreen

    I’m a Pennsylvanian and I find this absolutely staggering, considering the original colony was one of the first bastions of open religious freedom in the western world.

    I don’t even know what to say.

  • observer

    “…to provide us with the strength, wisdom and courage to
    conquer these great trials”

    I see someone’s been playing the new Legend of Zelda game.

  • TiltedHorizon

    As a Pennsylvanian, I’m disgusted. The local economy is in the toilet, the job market here is pathetic, school taxes have quadrupled, meanwhile they are cutting school budgets,  and I have to travel further and further away to make ends meet. When are these asshats going to realize that god is not going to solve these problems, there is no amount of scripture reading which will put food on the table, save a family from bankruptcy, or solve problems affecting the living. Harrisburg already tried prayer, they still had to file for bankruptcy, one would think they would have learned something from that.

  • Phill

    I’m a Pennsylvanian…what the hell is this BS.  I sent a letter to my State Senator.

  • Siobhan Duffey

    2012 happens to be the Year of the Bat! I find this exciting and non-controversial. Let’s compare the two.

    Bats are major contributors to agricultural success worldwide, controlling pest populations, pollinating crops, and providing a highly efficient fertilizer. The bible contains some very generic advice, but otherwise just uses farming as a heavy-handed metaphor.

    One genus of bats has developed specialized features of various kinds to feed on blood. Two species feed on birds and one targets large mammals, but none have been documented trying to eat from humans. Pretty much all variants on the bible, however, endorse pretty constant bloodsucking as well as lots of incidental animal death.

    Bats occupy a wholly unique ecological niche as the only mammals capable of true flight. From their metabolism to their social behavior, they are a joy to study and vital to the majority of ecosystems. Bibles occupy several rather overpopulated slots in literature, containing bits and pieces of myths, philosophy, and moralizing spanning a few thousand years’ worth of history for a small group in the Middle East.

    Bats in the United States are threatened predominantly by White Nose Syndrome and wind energy. Bibles in the United States are threatened predominantly by occasional ridicule and being left in skeezy hotel rooms.

    Bats win!

    • Jett Perrobone

      The Year of the Bat, and how it’s a bird.

    • Alex

      2012 is actually the Year of the Dragon!  The black water dragon, if we want to go by specific Chinese Stem-Brances and Five Element theories, etc., etc.  Either way, still beats Year of the Bible.

  • Broga Mora

    “…our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.” This line is taken from the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran – of course it’s a different holy scripture.

  • Nathan

    I think we’ve had enough years of the bible. 

    How about a year of reason and mental progression.

    • alive

      “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7

      Nathan, though you may adamantly believe that without God and the Bible comes true “reason and mental progression”, the truth is that without Him and His right ways we are all doomed. Without Him or the Bible we have no moral compass, and the lines between right and wrong become severely blurred. 
       

      • Justwondering

         Why would you NEED a god to teach you the difference between right and wrong? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of free will if you weren’t able to make choices without a god?

  • Timothy Alexander

    How about we have a year of pointing out the flaws in the bible.  I’m pretty sure after the first month the church would loose more members then ever before.

  • Timothy Alexander

    How about we have a year of pointing out the flaws in the bible.  I’m pretty sure after the first month the church would loose more members then ever before.

  • Wintermute

    Sent the following to my local congresscritter:

    Representative,

    I’m shocked and a bit disgusted to learn that one of my legislators
    voted in favor of House Resolution 535, which declares “That the House
    of Representatives declare 2012 as the ‘Year of the Bible’ in
    Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of the Bible
    on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to study and apply
    the teachings of the holy scriptures.” Apparently the Pennsylvania
    House of Representatives does not agree with the separation of church
    and state established by the First Amendment and upheld by over 200
    years of Supreme Court jurisprudence, or perhaps you simply have so
    little regard for your non-Christian constituents that you see no
    problem with promoting a particular religious text. I’m curious,
    Representative, what parts of the bible you are planning to study and
    uphold in 2012: perhaps slavery? Genocide? The persecution of
    homosexuals? Maybe we could change the state laws so that rapists,
    rather than being sentenced to prison, simply have to pay a fine to the
    victim’s father. These are all fine examples of the biblical principles
    your legislative body would have us embrace. On the other hand, I
    suppose you could just respect your oath of office, and do your job
    without trying to force your personal religious ideals onto other
    people, but I guess it’s harder to pander for the religious vote when
    you don’t kowtow every time some religious zealot  wants to waste
    taxpayer time and money in order to make a pious public display. Based
    on your apparent disregard for secularism in government, I do not expect
    that I will be supporting your upcoming bid for reelection.

    Regards,

    Wintermute

  • Wintermute

    Sent the following to my local congresscritter:

    Representative,

    I’m shocked and a bit disgusted to learn that one of my legislators
    voted in favor of House Resolution 535, which declares “That the House
    of Representatives declare 2012 as the ‘Year of the Bible’ in
    Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of the Bible
    on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to study and apply
    the teachings of the holy scriptures.” Apparently the Pennsylvania
    House of Representatives does not agree with the separation of church
    and state established by the First Amendment and upheld by over 200
    years of Supreme Court jurisprudence, or perhaps you simply have so
    little regard for your non-Christian constituents that you see no
    problem with promoting a particular religious text. I’m curious,
    Representative, what parts of the bible you are planning to study and
    uphold in 2012: perhaps slavery? Genocide? The persecution of
    homosexuals? Maybe we could change the state laws so that rapists,
    rather than being sentenced to prison, simply have to pay a fine to the
    victim’s father. These are all fine examples of the biblical principles
    your legislative body would have us embrace. On the other hand, I
    suppose you could just respect your oath of office, and do your job
    without trying to force your personal religious ideals onto other
    people, but I guess it’s harder to pander for the religious vote when
    you don’t kowtow every time some religious zealot  wants to waste
    taxpayer time and money in order to make a pious public display. Based
    on your apparent disregard for secularism in government, I do not expect
    that I will be supporting your upcoming bid for reelection.

    Regards,

    Wintermute

    • Satan H.

      Congress had nothing to do with this.  It was the PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, so only Pennsylvania residents need to act, and even then, a bunch of us PA people plan to make lemonade out of lemons.  Stay tuned.

      • Wintermute

        Satan, use of the word ‘congresscritter’ was misleading. Be assured my letter was directed to my representative in the PA House. Looking forward to hearing what you have planned.

    • Tony

      This is a copy of a letter I sent my legislator:

      I’m
      protesting the unconstitutional resolution naming 2012 the “Year of the
      Bible,” which was unanimously passed (193-0) in the Pennsylvania General
      Assembly this week.  

House Resolution 535
      arrogantly exhorts citizens to “study and apply the teachings of the holy
      scriptures.”  I was under the
      impression that the Pennsylvania Assembly is prohibited by the Pennsylvania
      Constitution from controlling or interfering with “the limits of
      conscience,” or showing any preference “by law to any religious
      establishments or modes of worship.”  I know you have read from the Bible, but have you read enough
      to know all that is included  in
      that holy book?  Isaac
      Isimov wrote:

       

      “Properly
      read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived” (Feb.
      22, 1966 letter). He also observed, “I must say that I stand amazed at the
      highly intelligent people who have taken so much of the Bible so
      seriously” (Oct. 28, 1966 letter). “Nobody but a dedicated Christian
      could possibly read the gospels and not see them as a tissue of nonsense”
      (Nov. 1, 1966 letter).

       

      As I’m sure you know Thomas Paine didn’t have much respect
      for the Bible as well and wrote:

       

      “Whenever we read the obscene
      stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the
      unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled it
      would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of
      God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize.”—
      Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1792)

       

      Why is it
      that more than ever politicians think they have to pander to the religious
      right on government matters.  Where
      is the support for the Separation of State and Church?

       

  • Confusedlady

    Can I ask you Pennsylvanians a question? What do you think will happen with this – is this some sort of law that everyone has to follow? Because if not, then what is the point of even passing something like this? I am so confused – this is beyond ridiculous.

    • Satan H.

      Most of these resolutions are done as favors to constituents, and are truly noncontroversial.  They have no force of law.  The PA legislature is a full time legislature that accomplishes very little but costs taxpayers a lot.  All they are concerned with is getting reelected so that they can continue their careers sucking off the public teat.  We don’t know what caused this resolution to be introduced, but we intend to find out.  One atheist group leader in Pittsburgh lives in the district of the primary sponsor.

  • Christian soldier11

    I love the hypocrisy of people. Atheists always win their court battles by claiming mental or emotional distress at the mere sight of a Christian sign or written prayer… How is it I can’t claim any emotional distress when a group of people is trying to tell me my religion is a lie, the foundation of my values and beliefs is just a load of crap, and that when I die I’m just going to rot in the ground? The thought of my god being “imaginary” is distressing so how is it fair that the courts always seem to side with minority groups in every situation?

    • http://www.facebook.com/kris.cass Kris Cass

       I’m a recovering Catholic. I did the whole bit from grade school through graduation and know one or two things about the bible. I can care less what religion or belief you have but keep it to yourself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kris.cass Kris Cass

       I’m a recovering Catholic. I did the whole bit from grade school through graduation and know one or two things about the bible. I can care less what religion or belief you have but keep it to yourself.

    • Anonymous

      Atheists always win their court battles by claiming mental or emotional distress at the mere sight of a Christian sign or written prayer

      Horse pucky.  We win court battles by referring to the constitution.

      So, apparently, your ‘issue’ is with the U.S. constitution, not atheists.

    • Anonymous

      Atheists always win their court battles by claiming mental or emotional distress at the mere sight of a Christian sign or written prayer

      Horse pucky.  We win court battles by referring to the constitution.

      So, apparently, your ‘issue’ is with the U.S. constitution, not atheists.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      The problem is that it is unconstitutional for the government to promote a particular religious viewpoint. Private citizens and organizations can do whatever they want. When was the last time the government told you that your religion was a lie? That your god was imaginary? It’s never happened, has it?

    • NickDB

      Just wondering, what’s your take on telling a child that stealing a chocolate is wrong? Can the child get away with it by claiming that telling it that, causes it emotional distress?

  • Christian soldier11

    I love the hypocrisy of people. Atheists always win their court battles by claiming mental or emotional distress at the mere sight of a Christian sign or written prayer… How is it I can’t claim any emotional distress when a group of people is trying to tell me my religion is a lie, the foundation of my values and beliefs is just a load of crap, and that when I die I’m just going to rot in the ground? The thought of my god being “imaginary” is distressing so how is it fair that the courts always seem to side with minority groups in every situation?

  • Big with the big man

    This nation would be so much better if it was a Christian nation, mostly because we wouldn’t have so many stupid atheists!

    • Joe Wallen

      without atheists, this country would we a third world shithole.

  • Big with the big man

    This nation would be so much better if it was a Christian nation, mostly because we wouldn’t have so many stupid atheists!

  • Sully

    As long as they only take one year

  • Guest

    2012 is the year of the bible because every superstitious person who grew up believing in that silly end-of-the-world-according-to-the-Mayan-calendar BS is afraid it’s all going to end at the end of this year, so they’re praying to Jebus accordingly.

    Which means when nothing happens and the morons of the world are wiping the egg off their faces…2013 will be the year of atheism.

  • Karla

    No, I think this is great, except we atheists must demand, in the spirit of  “teaching the controversy” that it’s us who do the teaching, bwahahaha! next year we’ll have our year of the atheist, you’ll see!

  • Kyle Arnoldson
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=555865232 Raequel Solomon

    i just bitched my local state rep out on his FB page AND the idiot rep who brought the bill up in the first place…oh man am i pissed! why did we elect these losers again, oh wait i didnt…i def. voted for opponent in the last election..sigh.

  • Marla_wolfe

    When is the year of intelligence and the ability to rationally make your own decisions without the fear of false repercussions? Weak and uneducated people are always followers….just like the people who stand by and watch a person or animal get beaten but don’t have the guts to stop it.

  • http://license-plate-lookups.com/ Michael

    I didn’t think anyone ever read the bible anymore.  This is 2012 when we need it the most..   I may have to add “read bible” to my license plate

  • http://beckyleedreams.blogspot.com/ Becky Lee

    Thanks so much for sharing this – you inspired me to email all 193 of the voters last night. You can read my letter on my blog:

    http://beckyleedreams.blogspot.com/2012/01/193-unrepresentative-representatives.html

  • Joebuddha

    I always understood the founding fathers were atheists, i.e. realists, hence separation from the church.

  • ONE

    God bless you all


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