• Louisiana and the Bible

    Good news from Louisiana, the legislator who initially proposed the “Bible as the State Book of Louisiana” bill has withdrawn it. There are a couple of things I’d like to say about this concept.

    First, The article linked to above is both right and wrong when they say,

    Douglas Laycock, a nationally-recognized expert on religious liberty, agreed with Werhan. “Judges are likely to think that this is de minimis – to minor to care about. They don’t tell the president that he can’t issue Thanksgiving proclamations or host a national prayer breakfast, and judges are likely to view this the same way,” said Laycock, who teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law.

    It’s true that SCOTUS has not tried or even seemed to care much about these types of things. Including the use of “One nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” on our money.

    The obvious reason why the court has never been worked up about it, is that it has always had a Christian majority. Until relatively recently, no one complained about it either. It’s only been in the last few decades that people who are not Christians have been starting to come out and say that those types of things are not OK.

    And, let’s be honest, our current SCOTUS is easily the most obviously partisan in the history of the court. Over the past couple of years, it’s been fairly easy to predict the court’s ruling based on the type of case and how it fits (or doesn’t) conservative[1] values.

    Another issue is that the original intent of the bill.

    Initially, Carmody [ed. R-Shreveport; author of the bill] had just been intending to designate a specific, historic copy of the Bible, which he thought could be found in the Louisiana State Museum, as the official state book.

    I am curious that he “thought” he could find a specific copy in the museum. He wasn’t sure?

    But then the bill was altered be generic Bible, because Catholics don’t use the King James version. (I mean, who does, it’s one of the worst translations in terms of accuracy, plus it’s a pain to read.) I guess we could make all “books of faith” as the official book…

    When asked if he would be open to making “all books of faith” a group of official state books, Carmody was fairly adamant in his opposition.

    Oh… well then.  I guess that does leave it open to include the Harry Potter books… (go to that link and read it!!)

    Regardless of all that, we get into a question that I asked in several places and never received an answer.

    Which version of the Bible is to be used? Not which translation, but which version? I’ve found innumerable Christians (almost every single Christian I’ve ever met), who is totally unaware that some Bible have different books than their preferred version.

    There are a few known books that aren’t including in the Tanakh, the Protestant Old Testament, and/or the Catholic Old Testament. The Eastern Orthodox Old Testament includes almost everything. For example:

    • The Eastern Orthodox is the only version that includes 1 Esdras, 3 and 4 Maccabees, and Prayer of Manasseh.
    • The Catholics and Eastern Orthodix also include Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Macabees, Wisdom, and Sirach.
    • Both also include Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah, but in different arrangements.
    • The Protestant OT and Tanakh (Jewish Bible) have the same books (often different names and arrangements though).

    The New Testament is remarkably consistent across all religions.

    So, which Bible is correct? Should the Baptists be reading Macabees?

    It’s an interesting, but purely academic, question.

    The point is that, even when one says “The Bible”, you have to ask some very pointed questions to know what one is talking about.



    [1] By conservative here, I mean the loony Tea-Party style fundamentalist conservatism that is interested in bringing back child labor (for example).

    Category: AtheismGovernmentReligionSkepticismSociety


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat