Year of the Bible called ‘unlawful’
Resolution honoring God’s Word sparks lawsuit
Atheists Sue Pa. Over Bible Resolution
Updated: Monday, 26 Mar 2012, 4:16 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 26 Mar 2012, 4:07 PM EDT
A national group of atheists and agnostics is suing Pennsylvania lawmakers for declaring 2012 as “the Year of the Bible.”
Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, challenging the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania House’s declaration that 2012 is “The Year of the Bible.”
“The plaintiff seeks a declaration under 28 USC §2201 that the Year of the Bible Resolution violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution,” the group claims in its lawsuit.
The group says the resolution was tantamount to the Commonwealth “endorsing a state-sanctioned religion.”
Among its many objections, the FFRF said in the lawsuit is that bible “contains violent, sexist and racist models of behavior that FFRF members find personally repugnant, and which potentially could encourage persons who rely on them to act in a manner harmful to them and others.”
Among the three plaintiffs in the lawsuit is State Rep. Rick Saccone, author of the resolution that passed unanimously in January 2012.
Saccone is a freshman representative of Allegheny County who is expected to have a tough re-election campaign.
Saccone has said his resolution recognizes the important role the Bible has played in state history.
He issued a press release in February defending the resolution .
“I think the unanimous vote in the PA House last week suggests that although it may not be politically correct to admit, our leaders certainly do recognize the value of God’s word in government. We will all be better off for it,” Saccone said at the time.
“A simple resolution passed the House unanimously on Jan. 24. It recognizes the significant impact the Bible has had on our country. It in no way inhibits anyone from believing in any faith or no faith. Most citizens don’t remember that a joint session of Congress passed a similar resolution signed by President Ronald Reagan on Feb. 3, 1983, declaring that year as the Year of the Bible in America.”
In February, Philadelphia Democrat Rep. Mark Cohen said he wanted to reconsider the resolution that passed the state House of Representatives unanimously.
Cohen said he regretted not realizing the resolution’s content.
He also appeared at a news conference with representatives of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, the American Civil Liberties Union and American Atheists.