And the difference of States like Iran having the Koran as their official Sate
Book is what?
@MaudineYour questions are irrelevant. And it is not a state
symbol. Have you had any concerns over sego lilies and seagulls. the state
flower and bird based on local Mormon history, here in Utah? Your imagined
concerns seem to be based on some irrational fear of religion.
The question to ask is, "What is the intent of making the Bible the official
State Book? What factors led to choosing the Bible instead of some other
book?"The answers to those questions will determine the
Constitutionality of this action - and the best place to find the answers will
be the floor debate surrounding passage of the bill (should it pass). The fact
that the sponsor of the bill mentions "sacred text" shows that he, at
least, does not view it as mere literature. Is it going to be
studied in school like other State Symbols? If so, are students going to be free
to refer to it as "mythology" or "just literature" without being
reprimanded by the teacher or bullied by other students? (Schools that offer
Bible as literature classes treat it as any other source of literature, picking
it apart and examining it closely, giving it no deference.) Are
those who hold the Bible as sacred prepared to have it treated as a State Symbol
instead of/in addition to being a religious symbol? Are they willing to have it
put in the same category as Tom Sawyer, The Odyssey, and Pride and Prejudice?
A state book does not establish a religion anymore than a state tree or a state
bird establishes them as something to worship.It is just sate
recognition of a book and its historical influence and nothing more, it carries
no other weight. If it was used as some sort of litmus test in a court then it
would be unconstitutional. And it would be appealed and overturned. Same with
the quran. But judges today and in the past have made decisions based on much
worse reasoning than the bible. And we have survived.Religion is
allowed and can not be disallowed in the in public square as any form of
conscience or expression or speech is. An Religions can influence publically,
including the making of law, as any group or organization can.The
first amendment is only about what congress can not do and nothing more. Not the
peol;e or how ever they organize themselves.
The real issue is why do we even need such a thing as a state book... sounds
like a waste of time and money to me.
@happy2bhere – “Plus, the best argument is that recognizing a book
about religion is not establishing any religion at all.”The
Constitution is a vague enough document to allow for different interpretations
of meaning. This often requires a deep dive into dated source material, and even
there different Founders saw these issues differently – Madison, the
father of the Constitution, thought chaplains in the military were
unconstitutional… hardly supportive of your views.But
let’s table that for minute and look at a possible scenario – if the
state of Michigan were to become largely Muslim and they adopted the Quran as
their state book (what does that even mean?), would you as a Christian
(I’m assuming) feel you were equal in the eyes of the law if you were
hauled into a Michigan state court?Following your line of reasoning,
there would be no basis to stop this scenario in MI, something I think we would
all agree would make the Founder turn in their graves. There’s an excellent book by Forrest Church containing many of the
Founders writings on this topic.
Tyler DSo that just takes us full circle. Because, the Bible, or
any other religious text, can be different things to different people. No court
or government could make a case about what is in the mind of the reader. Be
they individules or a whole state of citizens. Plus, the best argument is that
recognizing a book about religion is not establishing any religion at all.
That's the weakness of using the establishment clause to stop all religious
recognition. The clause was written by the founders so that there would never
be a Church of the United States of America, and financially supported by the
tax payers, who would in essense be forced to support a religion that might not
be their own. Remember, they were trying to get away from the Church of
England. If the non recognition of any thing construed as religious were
absolute, then things like the image of the 10 commandments and Moses at the
Supreme Court would be illegal. And using prayer to open sessions of Congress
would be illegal. They're not and those things do not establish a religion.
@happy2bhere – “If the people of Louisiana made the case that you
just made about the Bible, it could pass muster.”Perhaps… if Louisiana were populated mostly by literature appreciating
atheists.And you are conflating an individual’s ability to
practice religion with a government’s right to establish it (hint: they
have none). This case clearly falls under the later…
Twin LightsWe know it is not the intent of the people of Louisiana,
but can they get away with it is the question. If the people of Louisiana made
the case that you just made about the Bible, it could pass muster. Suppose
some group took a piece of literature like say the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of
Narnia, and used that for their religious text. To some it is fiction to others
it is religion. Or what if the Mary Baker Eddy book (Science and Health the Key
to the Scriptures) which is the standard for the Christian Science religion,
were introduced by New Hampshire, where she was from, to be their state book.
Would that pass the test? I think it is an interesting problem as to where
courts would/could draw the line.
Happy to Be Here and Tyler D,The Bible, at least the KJV, is often
cited for and studied because of its literary worth. A credit to Tyndale (its
primary translator).That said, this is clearly not the intent of the
good people of Louisiana. This is not about literature. Period. If it were
they would choose something written by a native son or daughter.
Tyler DHave you ever heard of school or college classes that read the
Bible as strictly literature? Well they are out there. And it is ironic that
many who are athiest, (don't know about you specifically) believe that the
Bible is nothing but a fantasy anyway. So it is certainly possible to classify
it a a piece of literature. And, if you look at it, religion in the first
amendment has two things empowering it. One is of course free speech, and two
is that it is placed as untouchable by Congress. That is a pretty powerful
position to be in. The freedom of speech, by the way, would include religious
speech as much as any other speech. Or don't you agree? If you don't
agree then you are opening the door to a lot of other speech that people hate to
hear being restricted. Now you wouldn't want that would you? Yes, legal
constitutional scholars are needed.
@happy2bhere – “And the state merely uses the Bible as an expression
of literature, and not an endorsement of any particular
religion…”Yes, the pious State of Louisiana is simply
seeking to do the equivalent of adopting Pride & Prejudice as the State
Book… please. @happy2bhere – “So which part of
the first Amendment has the trump card when freedom of expression and religion
collide?”Since a State is attempting to pass legislation
(which has nothing to do with free expression), the trump card would be the
establishment clause... no legal scholars necessary.
I'm not so sure. This could pass the Constitution test. Think about it.
Congress shall make no law.............. And the state merely uses the Bible
as an expression of literature, and not an endorsement of any particular
religion, then the other part of the first Amendment, free speech might take
over. So which part of the first Amendment has the trump card when freedom of
expression and religion collide? Any legal scholars out there?
You won't find a finer specimen of Louisiana literature than the Bible...
despite the fact that it was written thousands of years before there even was a
Louisiana, on a completely different continent.
I possibly can't see this bill being ruled unconstitutional. Nope, no sir.
No way that establishing a religious text as the "State book" could be
construed as the "Establishment of Religion" in violation of the First
and Fourteenth Amendments. Can't think of the State of
Louisiana having anything more important to do than fighting a losing court
battle. Nope, see no problem here.
Thereby ensuring Louisiana will forever be stuck in the bronze age.