Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
During a city council meeting of Flower Mound, Texas, Mayor Tom Hayden proclaimed 2014 the “Year of the Bible”. He stated during the meeting “I ask that you join with me and encourage all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible.” He then promoted a Christian website administered by a local church “Calvary Chapel Church” promoting Christian theology and a program to learn the bible using a daily list of passages each day. The website is http://thebible2014.com and has a video link to the proclamation by the mayor here.
Aside from what many would consider glaring unconstitutionality of this type of proclamation under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and its applicability to state and local governments as interpreted in the Fourteenth Amendment, various other religious institutions within the city have voiced serious concern.
Flower Mound has many churches but also has other faiths such as a Mosque, a Hindu Temple, a Baha’i Temple, a Zaroastrian Church and a Jewish Synagogue.
Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis expressed his opposition to Mayor Hayden’s approach: Rabbi Dennis stated he met Hayden and religions leaders over a year ago and recently recalled: “When I first talked to him and said this is not a good idea his response to me was to become defensive and say, ‘Well, I’m not ashamed of my faith’ I tried to explain to him this is not about your shame or your pride as a Christian. This is about your respect for your constituents of all types in this community. It’s clear he didn’t get the message”
The proclamation was met with both support and opposition in the community with citizens voicing their views.
Mayor Hayden insisted this was not an order on behalf of government but was an action taken solely by him.