Dear Pa. House of Representatives,
It has come to my attention that you recently approved a unanimous resolution declaring 2012 the year of the Bible. In the resolution you quote former President Andrew Jackson, who said that the Bible is "the rock on which our Republic rests."
Not being satisfied to merely declare the year of the Bible, your resolution goes on to make a theological assertion stating, " WHEREAS, The Bible, (is) the word of God...".
Under what authority does the state Legislature make this claim? Have they suddenly exchanged their oath of office for the Nicene Creed?
The resolution also boldly declares that, "WHEREAS, Renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people..."
This may come as a surprise to people who do not share the Christian faith and find personal strength in another religious text or none at all.
What strikes me as most curious is the following statement: "WHEREAS, Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States..."
Considering that both of the primary authors of these documents were deists who denied the divinity of Christ and considered the Bible to be a largely mythical text, I find this claim to be spurious at best. Leaving the blundering historical inaccuracies and obvious violations of the separation clause of our Constitution aside, let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that you are correct and the foundation for our laws and our nation come from the Bible.
The first problem arises when you attempt to uncover any references to a Republican model of government. The Old Testament was a series of theocratic dictatorships and Jesus told his followers to "render unto Caesar," implying that he wanted nothing to do with political government.
If you are correct in your assertion, then we must ask what parts of the Bible we get our laws and government from. Some of you might point me to the Ten Commandments. However, most of those apply to things that are beyond the scope of our laws and which directly violate other laws regarding religious liberty and free speech. The commandment for murder is nothing unique to the Bible, neither is lying or stealing, but if you want to go for three out of 10 and claim a prize, you are welcome to do so, at the risk of looking absurd, of course.
More problems become apparent when you begin to realize that most of the moral laws in the Bible aren't really that moral at all. In the book of Deuteronomy, rape is condoned (22:28-29), men can stone their wives for the crime of not being a virgin (22:13-17), and while we still have some blue laws on the books here in our fine state, I doubt that you would consider a bill that would punish a man to death by stoning for the paltry crime of picking up sticks on a Sunday ... or is it Saturday? (Numbers 15:32-36).
The fact is that the Bible itself actually supports the opposite of liberty and religious freedom. What it does support is a theocratic government in which obedience to a state-ordained deity is prescribed by law and for which the punishment of not complying with the state religion is death. (Deuteronomy 13:5-10,17:2-5)
While I am certain that these are not the principles we are founded on, kudos to you for beginning the process of making us a retroactive theocracy.
I also have some quotes that you seem to have misplaced when drafting this unconstitutional resolution. I hope they help you make better and more informed decisions in the future.
"... the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; ..." Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams (1797).
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." - Thomas Jefferson.
"As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call it the Word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions and a history of bad times and bad men. " - Thomas Paine.