Friday, May 22, 2009

Broun vs. Board

Rep Paul Broun (R-GA) is campaigning to make 2010 the Year of the Bible. Politico reports that Broun has introduced the bill to the House of Representatives for history's sake. A commemoration, if you will.

“This doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity,” he said in an interview with POLITICO. Rather, he says, it seeks to recognize that the Bible played an integral role in the building of the United States, including providing the basis for our freedom of religion that allows Muslims, Hindus and even atheists to vocalize their own beliefs.

Well, if you want to get technical, the Bible itself didn't have anything to do with providing that freedom of religion. The way that people were interpreting the Bible did. People were discriminating, killing, and marginalizing other people who had different beliefs about Christianity. That's just counting the Christian conflicts over religion in Europe. I'm sure there were other sects of religion that made the journey over to America.

I am not arguing the Bible does not provide solid doctrine for tolerance of other people, and brotherly love, ect., ect., because if I did argue that, I would be an idiot. I am saying that the way this argument is formulated, it makes one think that the Christians who came over here from England to escape persecution weren't running from people using basically the same Bible.

But the point is, most of our founding fathers were Christian. It was the dominant founding religion. So if Broun wants to argue that the Bible had influence over their thought process, lives, ect., and therefore had influence over how they started the country and made laws, fine. It probably did.

This whole "Year of the Bible" thing sounds a bit fluffy to me though, and doesn't seem like it's going to serve any particular purpose.

Is it going to be like Black History Month? Are Universities going to host seminars on the different sects of Christianity that developed or migrated to America? Are they going offer lecture series about Irish-Americans who were discriminated against for their Catholic beliefs? Will there be History Channel documentaries on The Faith of Our Fathers, discussing how Thomas Jefferson chopped up the Bible to remove any reference to Jesus' divinity and how George Washington stopped going to church on communion days?

Probably there will be all of these things, and then some, but those events would have taken place anyways without the help of the Year of the Bible.

While the bill probably won't ever pass (currently it finds only 15 co-sponsers), it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, and in the end probably won't be much more than a laugh, it still seems like it's being pushed forward only as a bone to Christian supporters of Broun. But I can't blame him. He is a representative of Georgia, and we do reside in prime Bible-belt real estate. Perhaps the reason the bill doesn't sound so monumental to me is, if you go to the right areas where I live, every year is the Year of the Bible.

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