By Amy Pickard (Contact)
To be delivered to: The Pennsylvania State House
On January 24, 2012, The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 535, a non-binding resolution declaring 2012 "The Year of the Bible." The resolution states that we have a "national need to study and apply the holy scriptures," a position which clearly favors Christianity over other religions and violates the separation of church and state as protected by the Constitution of the United States. As a Pennsylvanian, I wish to make clear that I do NOT support the Bible as the preferred state religious text, and I oppose the passage of a state resolution that formally declares the Bible as the word of God and asserts that strengthening of our nation occurs by "renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture." H.R. 535 is not only unconstitutional, it ignores and devalues the great diversity of peoples and religions which actually constitute the state of Pennsylvania. This resolution, even though it is non-binding, sends a message about citizenship and belonging to Christians and non-Christians alike. This message about whose beliefs are legitimate in the eyes of the state is especially dangerous in our current climate of anti-Islamic rhetoric and strengthened federal powers of detention. H.R. 535 positions the state to take future action limiting freedom of religious expression and persecuting those who disagree with state-approved religion. I urge Pennsylvania's House of Representatives to repeal H.R. 535.
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