The Freedom From Religion Foundation is protesting an unconstitutional resolution naming 2012 the "Year of the Bible," unanimously passed (193-0) in the Pennsylvania General Assembly this week.
House Resolution 535 arrogantly exhorts citizens to "study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.” What a discredit to the legacy of William Penn, one of the earliest champions of freedom of conscience, FFRF charges in a joint letter to Speaker of the House Samuel Smith and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody.
The Pennsylvania Assembly is strictly prohibited by the Pennsylvania Constitution from controlling or interfering with "the limits of conscience," or showing any preference "by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship." "It is no more permissible for members of the Assembly to 'bless' the bible than it would be for them to endorse the koran," wrote FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Pennsylvania legislators have no right to endorse the bible as "the word of God," much less to direct state and national citizens to study and apply it. Most perniciously, the resolution implies our nation was founded on the bible, when in fact our nation is founded on an entirely secular and godless constitution, whose only references to religion are exclusionary, such as there shall be no religious test for public office.
"Our constitution grants sovereignty not to a deity or a 'holy book,' but to 'We, the People.' There is no reference to God, the bible, the Ten Commandments or Jesus in the U.S. Constitution, just as there are no references to 'consent of the governed,' 'civil liberties' or 'democracy' in the bible. Those who have truly studied the bible realize that it is a moral quagmire, a behavioral grab bag, which has been used to justify automatic rule, tyranny, slavery, the degradation of women and gays, child abuse, war, atrocity and mayhem," noted FFRF.
FFRF's letter quoted a historic 19th century judge, warning:
“There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed.”
FFRF's message to electioneering politicians in Pennsylvania and everywhere: "The economy is in shambles, many Americans are jobless and homeless. Get off your knees and get to work!
FFRF NEEDS YOUR HELP!
Send a strongly worded note of protest to the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader. If you live in Pennsylvania, you may also wish to phone or email your State Representative (see contact details below) and send a heads up to your State Senator about why to vote "no" if it comes up for vote in the Senate. They need to know that this bill is unconstitutional and offensive to those of us who know 2012 should be 'the Year of the Constitution.'
Speaker of the House Sam Smith
139 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202066
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2066
Phone: (717) 787-3845
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody
Hon. Frank Dermody
423 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202033
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2033
Email (this is a webpage contact form, not an address): http://www.pahouse.com/dermody/contact.asp
Phone: (717) 787-3566
Find your Pennsylvania State Representative here.
Find your Pennsylvania State Senator here.
View FFRF's letter here for suggested language.
Thank you for your support!