by Stephen Foster, Jr. for AddictingInfo.org:
You can’t make this stuff up, folks. In a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause in the United States Constitution, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring 2012 ‘The Year of The Bible,’ and praised the book as the greatest book of the year even though there are still 11 months left until 2013. The resolution declares that the Bible played a major role in the Constitution and the founding of America, even though there is no mention of the Bible, God, Jesus, or Christianity in the Constitution. The resolution goes on to cite the many Presidents who supposedly ‘paid tribute to the influence of the Bible in our country’s development,’ and declares that Americans ‘need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.’ Here’s the resolution in full:
Declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania.
WHEREAS, The Bible, the word of God, has made a unique
contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and
blessed nation and people; and
WHEREAS, Deeply held religious convictions springing from the
holy scriptures led to the early settlement of our country; and
WHEREAS, Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil
government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, Many of our great national leaders, among them
President Washington, President Jackson, President Lincoln,
President Wilson and President Reagan, paid tribute to the
influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as
exemplified by the words of President Jackson that the Bible is
“the rock on which our Republic rests”; and
WHEREAS, The history of our country clearly illustrates the
value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the scriptures in
the lives of individuals, families and societies; and
WHEREAS, This nation now faces great challenges that will
test it as it has never been tested before; and
WHEREAS, Renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through
holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people;
therefore be it
RESOLVED, 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.
I’m not surprised that Democrats helped pass this. If they hadn’t, Republicans would be accusing them of being “secular atheist jihadists” or something along those lines. The Bible didn’t actually influence the Constitution. That’s the kind of revisionist history that Republicans and the Christian Right have been shoveling for decades. They’ve even pushed totally made up quotes that they attributed to the Founders as proof of their claims. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they wrote the Constitution. They gave ALL religions the freedom to exist and flourish and they forbade the government from putting any one religion over another. If the Founding Fathers wanted Christianity to be the national religion, they would have declared it. How can the Christian Right say that the Founders intended America to be a Christian nation when they didn’t mention anything to do with Christianity in the Constitution and they explicitly forbade the government from declaring a national religion? The fact is, the Founding Fathers weren’t impressed with Christianity and knew that religion is a divider. To the Founders, all religions were equal but if one were to influence the government it would obliterate the freedom and rights we enjoy today. And if you still believe that the Founders intended America to be a Christian nation, you should read these real quotes.
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
~ Thomas Jefferson in an 1814 letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper.
“The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion.”- George Washington, as stated in the signed Treaty of Tripoli in 1797.
“In no instance have the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”
“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”
Even Pennsylvanian sage Benjamin Franklin didn’t think religion was useful in government:
“A Firehouse is more useful than a church.”
Franklin even noted that religions that seek help from civil power are bad religions, which happens to describe the Christian religion today. The Christian Right is so desperate to increase membership, that it seeks to force Christianity upon the American people by government decree.
“When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it’s a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
Does it really sound like these five men loved Christianity and wanted it to have influence in our nation’s laws and government? They sure have a funny way of showing it.