JACKSON, Miss. — Lawmakers in Mississippi have again proposed designating the Bible as the state book.
H.B. 840 was recently re-proposed by Rep. Tom Miles, D-Forest, and has nine co-sponsors, including Rep. Michael Evans, D-Preston, who joined him in the first effort last year.
“Me and my constituents, we were talking about it and one of them made a comment that people ought to start reading the Bible,” Evans told AL.com when the bill was first introduced.
“The Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people,” Miles commented to the Associated Press. “They could read in there about love and compassion.”
Miles recently added to reporters that he is not seeking to “force religion on anyone” with the bill, but would like to encourage Mississippi residents and their leaders to emulate the principles found in the Scriptures.
“I am [pleased] to say that we once again enjoyed bipartisan support of this effort,” he told KMOV-TV.
While the teddy bear has been recognized as the state bear, square dancing as the state folk dance and milk as the state beverage, no publication has yet been regarded as the state book.
Miles’ bill simply states, “The following shall be codified as Section 3-3-59, Mississippi Code of 1972: The Holy Bible is hereby designated as the official state book of Mississippi.” It must pass out of committee by Feb. 23 in order advance for the 2016 legislative season.
As previously reported, in 2012, lawmakers in Pennsylvania unanimously passed a resolution that 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.”
In 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan declared the year 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,” he 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,” Reagan 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.”’