Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Year of Whose Bible?

When the 2010 congressional elections are held, the more intelligent people of Georgia might want to consider replacing Rep. Paul Broun with someone who won’t make that state a laughingstock. Just as the Kansas board of education made that state a laughingstock eight years ago when it kicked evolution out of the school curriculum, Broun isn’t doing his state any favors with his idiotic suggestion that the year 2010 be proclaimed the Year of the Bible.

Does that mean the year 2009 isn’t the year of the bible? Broun must be horrified. And maybe he would be even more horrified if some of the Jews in Congress pushed through a resolution making 2011 the Year of the Torah. Maybe we can celebrate 2012 as the Year of the Koran. And maybe we could set aside 2013 as the year of the We-Don’t-Need-No-Stinking-Religion bible, like maybe one of the books by Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris.

Broun says he wants to recognize the Good Book because it played such a pivotal role in shaping the laws of our nation. The bible had almost nothing to do with the formulation of our laws. Only two of the Ten Commandments were made into laws. If for no other reason than that Broun obviously doesn’t know his history very well should the good people of Georgia give him the boot. He is one of those who claims in error that this country was founded on Christianity, and we should honor that heritage by proclaiming 2010 as the Year of the Bible.

In a TV interview, Broun was reminded that the writer of the Declaration of Independence and signer of the Constitution of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was not a Christian. Jefferson firmly believed that government had no place in religion and religion had no place in government. Jefferson even wrote his own bible which redacted every miracle from the New Testament.

Jefferson wasn’t the only one of the Founding Fathers who was not a Christian. Although most had a belief in God, many were deists, believing that God existed but was not personally involved with any mere human.

Most of the founders are probably spinning in their graves at the idea that a member of Congress is suggesting that we all celebrate the Christian bible next year. If Congress makes such a proclamation, it would fly in the face of the First Amendment. It would definitely be an act by government preferring one religion over all the others.

But Republicans in Congress who have lost their credibility, thanks to eight years of Bush and Cheney, are apparently reduced to introducing meaningless resolutions that do nothing to help the economy, remedy the health care crisis, or promote education in this country. They have no new ideas so why not just pass a resolution asking everyone to read their bibles?

Depending on which poll numbers you believe, somewhere between 16 and 20 percent of all Americans say they do not subscribe to any religion at all. And although that is certainly a minority, it is a sizable one. It is also the fastest-growing minority in America. We have apparently reached a tipping point regarding religion, where millions of atheist, agnostic, and freethinking Americans are starting to come out of the closet.

The introduction of such a resolution in our Congress is a slap in the face to the growing number of us who are not Christian. Thankfully, it has a slim chance of actually passing. Surely Congressman Broun can find something more meaningful to do with his time than to piss off those who don’t share his religious convictions.

No comments: