Wednesday, March 28, 2012

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: PA Sued Over Year of the Bible Resolution

Joe.My.God reports about a lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) against the state of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit is in response to action by the State House to pass H.R. 535 (unanimously!), which declares "2012 as the 'Year of the Bible' in  Pennsylvania."

FFRF describes the lawsuit thusly:
FFRF factually contests the resolution, which claims the “word of God” and “biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government.” Another sponsor, Rep. Jerry Stern, claimed the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause doesn’t apply to the State of Pennsylvania, even though its guarantees apply equally to state citizens under the 14th Amendment.

FFRF noted the passage of HR 535 “is particularly ironic in Pennsylvania, . . . which was founded as a refuge for those seeking religious tolerance by William Penn.” The complaint quotes Jonathan Malesic, associate professor of theology at King’s College, who said HR 535 “flies in the face of Pennsylvania’s history.” 

“HR 535 improperly proclaims the bible to be ‘the word of God,’ . . . the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has no such authority or right to determine what is ‘the word of God,’ or if there is a ‘word of God,’ or if there is a ‘God’.”

FFRF’s legal complaint notes our nation is not founded on religious belief or a bible, but upon “a secular and godless Constitution, which grants sovereignty not to a deity or a ‘holy book,’ but to ‘We the People.’ ”

FFRF asks the court to find that HR 535 violates the Establishment Clause, to order defendants to discontinue further publication and distribtion of HR 535, to declare that public officials in Pennsylvania are indeed subject to the Establishment Clause, to declare that the theocratic principles of the bible do not constitute the ”official, preferred or endorsed religion” of the state, and to declare that the government is not “Judeo-Christian.”
Of course the lawsuit will probably be thrown out of court without serious consideration but I appreciate the spunk of FFRF to challenge the encroachment of the rights of everyone to be from religious persecution.

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