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HR 535 – “Year of the Bible” Resolution

Recently, the PA House of Representatives voted (unanimously) on a resolution to declare 2012 “Year of the Bible”.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation posted a request for letters to be sent, and today, we are sending out a letter of our own to the Speaker of the House, and the House Minority Leader of the state House of Representatives. Additionally, we will be sending a letter to a few key Senators, as this resolution could also come up for a vote in the senate. The text of the letter is below the fold. On the Senate letters, we include the additional request that they vote “No” if HR 535 comes up for a vote on the Senate floor. We would like to encourage our members to send similar letters to their representation in the Pennsylvania House and Senate as well. There is more information here on how to do that.

Find your Pennsylvania State Representative here.

Find your Pennsylvania State Senator here.

RE: HR 535 “A Resolution declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania.”

Dear X,

We would like to comment on the recent PA State House Resolution 535, which establishes by resolution the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania for 2012.

Pennsylvania is a diverse state, covering a wide range of religions, and of course those with no religion at all. In that frame of mind, William Penn established a separation of church and state in this colony long before we were a state and before Thomas Jefferson wrote it into the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

This resolution flies in the face of that history. By establishing the Bible as a “holy document,” HR 535 strays far from commenting on religious contributions to recognizing that the Bible is “the word of God”, and it ignores the contributions of secular individuals to the founding
of this country, including Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and arguably George Washington himself. Thomas Jefferson is notable, for example, for making his own bible and taking out all of the miracles.

While we would agree, as stated in HR 535, that the belief in religion must be voluntary, we feel that this resolution is an unconstitutional and direct endorsement of the Bible, and of the religious beliefs behind it. We also feel that the legislature of Pennsylvania would be better serving the public by spending their time fixing the many economic and other secular issues of this state, and leaving the religious endorsements to the churches and other houses of worship in this state.


Brian Fields
Pennsylvania Nonbelievers
tel: (717) 467-1266

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