It Could Be the ‘Year of Religious Diversity’ in Pennsylvania

As you’re all undoubtedly aware, this is the Year of the Bible in Pennsylvania. It was a resolution that passed 193-0.

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.

Now, in an effort to balance things a little bit, Rep. Mark B. Cohen (a Democrat) has introduced a “noncontroversial resolution” declaring 2012 the “Year of Religious Diversity” (PDF):

Whereas, Pennsylvania is now home to Christians including many Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant denominations; Quakers; Jews of Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reformed congregations; Mormons; Muslims of Shia, Sunni, Sufi and others; Unitarians; Buddhists; Hindus; Sikhs; Taoists; and other religious traditions; as well as many who claim no religious affiliation, and nonbelievers.

Be It Resolved that, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives declares the year 2012 as “the Year of Religious Diversity” throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and continues to welcome all to Pennsylvania in the spirit of our founder.

Incidentally, Cohen initially voted for the Year of the Bible resolution… only to apologize for it later on.

As for this resolution… I appreciate the effort, Rep. Cohen. Thanks for including the non-religious in your list.

Quick rant, though: It took you this long to introduce the bill? Even if this passes, I only have half a year to (pretend to) celebrate! Way to not do the right thing (and vote against the Year of the Bible resolution) when it mattered. This is an attempt to make things right, but you’re applying a bandaid to a much bigger scar. It won’t undo the damage done by perpetuating the false notion that we’re a Christian Nation.

But I still hope it passes.

(via Justin Vacula)

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.

  • http://southernhumanist.wordpress.com/ R. Lee Bays

    “our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures” is screaming for a YearOfTheBible hashtag similar to your AlsoinBible tag.

    We must study the sage teachings of holy scripture. For example, if I accidently find a woman attractive who is not my wife, how I must rip my eye out, etc. Fun stuff 

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      Don’t watch any TV! You’ll be blind before the first commercial break is over, probably.

  • jdm8

    How much the writings attributed to a bronze and iron age tribal religion helps a jet age civilization is in considerable doubt.

    • Brian Pansky

       digital age, says I.

      • Sindigo

        Information age, says I.

  • Pj_neeley

    While it irritates me that nobody voted against the original resolution, I will take this as a positive gesture at least. It may not be enough, and it may be a bit too late, but it will allow me to make a better decision as to who to vote for as a PA resident. If my local reps vote against the resolution that includes everyone, then it will give me another reason to vote for somebody new. 

  • Neil

    I reckon a Year of the Bible is an excellent idea. After December 31 it’ll all be over and we can consider the book a thing of the past. 

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger/featured GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    OK, Hemant, I get your point, but let’s cut the guy some slack.

    It was probably one of a gazillion proclamations all bundled together that the legislature plowed through (admittedly a waste of time, IMO), when the Year of the Bible was in there, but later he held a press conference to publicly and officially apologize, and he has gone out of his way to draft a proposal the would welcome atheists/everyone explicitly in his state.

    What more do we want from him, foreskin and his first born?

    I say we thank him for seeing the light and encourage him to keep this trend going now in our direction.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    I suppose it’s nice enough, but I would much rather that they declare the “Year of Helping the Unemployed” and do so via targeted policy that would increase employment and assistance to those who can’t find jobs. These  declarations regarding which religion (or all or none) that is being officially celebrated in the state are a waste of time and effort.


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