BATON ROUGE — A representative in Louisiana has introduced a bill to make the Bible the official book of the state.
Representative Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport) recently filed HB 503 at the request of Shreveport resident Randy Dill. Dill told local television station KTBS that he has had the desire to make the Bible the state book since 1988, but could not find a lawmaker to help make it happen—until now.
“The Bible was their main inspiration along with our forefathers—Washington and all of them,” he stated. “They looked to it for their inspiration for our country. They called upon God to help us.”
Carmody’s bill would make a certain copy of the Bible in state possession the official state book.
“The official state book shall be the Holy Bible, published by Johannes Prevel, (Prevel, Jean, active 1510-1528, printer, & Petit, Jean, fl. 1492-1530.), which is the oldest edition of the Holy Bible in the Louisiana State Museum system,” HB 502 outlines. “The use on official documents of the state and with the insignia of the state is hereby authorized.”
While the men acknowledge that there will likely be opposition to the measure, they believe that the goal is attainable as Alabama has also designated the Bible to be the official state book. A recent poll from the Greater New Orleans Times-Picayune shows that 61 percent of readers reject the proposal, with 26 percent affirming that the Bible should be Louisiana’s state book. Just 12 percent stated that the Prevel copy of Scripture should be designated as the official book.
Carmody’s bill has yet to be put on the agenda.
As previously reported, the mayor of Flower Mound, Texas announced earlier this year that he had designated 2014 as the “Year of the Bible.” Mayor Tom Hayden announced at a city council meeting in January that he wants to encourage residents to read the entire Bible through in a year.
“There’s so much benevolence on helping your fellow person,” he told local television station KDFW. “And the morality that helped build our country is based on the values that are found in the Bible. And as we look at problems, maybe we’re getting away from those values. And in my little small way, I want to encourage people to get back into those values.”
In 2012, lawmakers in Pennsylvania unanimously passed a resolution that likewise declared a “Year of the Bible.” The resolution stated that not only has the Bible been an important part of America’s history, but that in difficult times such as the present, there is a “national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.”
President Ronald Reagan made 1983 the national “Year of the Bible.”
“Many of our greatest national leaders—among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson—have recognized the influence of the Bible on our country’s development,” Reagan stated. “The plainspoken Andrew Jackson referred to the Bible as no less than ‘the rock on which our Republic rests.’”
“Today our beloved America and, indeed, the world, is facing a decade of enormous challenge,” he continued. “There could be no more fitting moment than now to reflect with gratitude, humility, and urgency upon the wisdom revealed to us in the writing that Abraham Lincoln called ‘the best gift God has ever given to man . . . But for [without] it we could not know right from wrong.”’