Foundation Protests Bible Week (December 1994)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is protesting the designation of “Bible Weeks” by several mayors, including a proclamation signed by Mayor Wilburn J. Brown of Gilbert, Arizona, for the week of Nov. 20-27, 1994.

The proclamation calls the bible “the foundational document . . . upon which our nation was conceived,” and urges “all citizens to participate in the observance of National Bible Week by reading the Bible and discovering for themselves its values for personal and community life.”

Former Mayor P.J. Morgan of Omaha, Nebraska, was the honorary chair of the Layman’s National Bible Association for the 1994 campaign. Mayor Wellington Webb of Denver helped coordinate the campaign last year. A spokesperson with the association claimed about 400 mayors proclaimed “Bible Week” last year, saying his office was receiving confirmation from mayors this year at the rate of 30 to 40 a day since the start of November. According to the group’s literature, this is the 54th consecutive year mayors have been urged to make Bible Week proclamations.

Freethought Today as of presstime learned that mayors who had proclaimed “Bible Week” included those representing: Tempe, AZ; Omaha, NE; Taylor, MI; Hallandale, FL; Brenham, TX; Claremont, CA; Norwood, MA; Houma, LA; Redding, CA; Birmingham, MI; Gainesville, TX, and Rochester, NH.

In a letter of complaint sent to various offending mayors, Foundation president Anne Gaylor asked them to rescind the proclamation:

“It is improper, indeed illegal, for an elected official to use his/her public office to promote religion.

“You have asked the citizens of your community to observe a religious week, to read particular religions’ sacred books. And, in doing this, you also have claimed that ‘our nation was conceived’ on religious principles when just the opposite is true.

“The United States Constitution is a godless document and was very purposefully written that way. There is no reference in it to any deity; its authors meant it to be a secular document. In fact, the only references to religion in it are exclusionary, such as, ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.’ “

Please complain and alert the Foundation promptly over “Bible Week” proclamations in your area.

Freedom From Religion Foundation