West Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Make Bible State Book

Photo Credit: Wong Mei Teng

CHARLESTON, W.V. — A lawmaker in West Virginia has introduced a bill that would make the Bible the state book.

H.B. 2568 was presented by Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln, who serves in the state House of Delegates. It amends the Code of West Virginia to add a new section that recognizes the Bible as the state book.

“That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new 2 section, designated §2-2-14, to read as follows: §2-2-14. Official state book. The Holy Bible is hereby designated as the official state book of West Virginia,” it reads.

The bill has 10 co-sponsors, including Del. Ken Hicks, D-Wayne.

“I think a lot of the biblical principles are the same principles that the state was founded on,” he told the Herald-Dispatch. “The Bible is a book that’s been around for thousands of years. A lot of principles from the Bible are what modern-day and contemporary law is based on.”

However, when asked if the bill would constitute endorsing one religion over another, Hicks, who identifies as a Christian, stated that those who disagree with the measure should make their opinions known to their representatives.

“Not everybody believes in the same religion, and I think you should pursue the religion you’re comfortable with,” he told the outlet. “Not everybody has to read [the Bible]. It’s not forcing it on anybody. People do elect legislators to pass certain bills and laws that they want, and if they find something that’s offensive to them, they need to tell their delegate.”

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While the bear has been recognized as the state animal, the apple as the state fruit and “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver as being one of the state songs, no publication has yet been regarded as the state book. The measure is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

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, President Ronald Reagan declared a 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.”’

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