Louisiana Moves To Make The Bible The State Book

220px-Rembrandt_-_Moses_with_the_Ten_Commandments_-_Google_Art_Projectrep6Usually the selection of a state bird or state song is not particularly divisive or even notable. The same goes for a state book (though it seems a bit odd to select a single book for a state unless it is written by a native son or daughter). Louisiana however could find itself in court as it moves to make the Bible the state book. Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, proposed the official adoption but insisted that it should not be viewed as any type of state endorsement. It is simply the selection of one faith’s religious book as the official book for the entire state. Who could possibly view that as a state endorsement?

It does seem at times that religious legislators look for any opportunity to entangle government with religion. This seems particularly gratuitous. Indeed, the best defense for the state may be that the selection is really quite meaningless. However, there are presumably some government action — and clearly endorsement — associated with the selection.

A House committee has approved the selection by an 8-5 vote so it will now go to the full House for debate. The concern is that few members want to be seen voting against the Bible. In the meantime, a state that has long been denounced for its lack of funding of key programs, particularly educational programs, would be triggering another costly court fight in its effort to endorse a religious faith.

Carmody insisted that the adoption of the religious book for one faith is “not to the exclusion of anyone else’s sacred literature.” Of course, their books would be excluded from the list of official state books but that is not exclusion from . . . well its just not exclusion.

He received bipartisan support for his measure with favorable votes from Reps. Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia; Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales; Robert Billiot, D-Westwego; Terry Brown, I-Colfax; Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur; Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge; Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro; and Tom Willmott, R-Kenner.
The greatest irony is that some opposition has come not in the adoption of the Bible but what version of the Bible would be adopted — potentially triggering an intra-sectarian fight. Will it be the King James version or some other version?

If the Bible is the official state book, there may be demands that it be featured more prominently in Louisiana schools, incorporated into lessons, and even promoted on state sites or campaigns. Then citizens can be exalted to read such passages as John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Carmody in the meantime has continued to express disbelief that anyone would see a constitutional issue or be insulted in any way. After all, he insisted “It’s not meant to be offensive. There’s no requirement that they would have to follow this particular text.” Of course note, he is not seeking to bar you from reading other books. However, if he is successful, there can be only one state book and that is the Bible.

Carmody is a real estate broker and a founding member of the Louisiana Legislative Conservative Coalition.

booksBy the way, if the state were to honor a great Louisiana book (one of my favorites), an obvious choice would be A Confederacy of Dunces by American novelist John Kennedy Toole. It seems as relevant today as in 1980. After all, Carmody may find the views of the main character, Ignatius, rather attractive. Ignatius insisted that “with the breakdown of the medieval system, the gods of chaos, lunacy, and bad taste gained ascendancy.” and warned that “[a] firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss.”

Source: NOLA

116 thoughts on “Louisiana Moves To Make The Bible The State Book”

  1. Dr. Harris,

    I do enjoy your writing and entertain similar feelings as those expressed by Annie. I ‘think’ I understand the conceptual ideas you are expressing and without doubt your style expands my thinking into new arenas.

    Your discussions remind me of an excellent course in Semantics I once took at California State University, San Francisco taught by Dr. S.I. Hayakawa. It is interesting how changing one word, even in a subtle manner, can lead to dramatic differences in understanding and human reactions.

    Thank you,

  2. Perhaps I can begin to explain why I write as I do. Perhaps not, or not yet.

    During my life experiences, I have had quite a few encounters with people whose adaptation to life took the form of what I experience as those who develop authoritarian personalities. Such folks consistently seem to me as though intent on bullying me into joining them by my adopting an authoritarian personality. This, my conscience precludes my doing.

    Perhaps reading T. W. Adorno, et al., The Authoritarian Personality,, in the original 1950 edition or in the Abridged 1982 edition, would provide a useful sense of the nature of the puzzlement of authoritarian personality.

    It is my lifelong observation that people who have adapted to lived life experiences with some form of authoritarian personality are people who have encountered one or more experiences which were so vastly more than of unbearable pain that such experiences become fragmented in memory, with the unbearable pain of the memory becoming functionally unconscious and the fact of the event, absent conscious awareness of the pain, becoming a cherished life event.

    Such may be of the neurological mechanism of the “Stockholm Effect” of social psychology.

    I write as I do as a strategy for minimizing the probability of triggering an unintended psychotic break in someone who has an authoritarian personality and who may be vulnerable to being triggered into overt violence as an aspect of a flashback to some shatteringly painful (and therefore, neurologically abusive) past event, the memory if which has been fragmented into consciously accessible and consciously inaccessible memories.

    When someone (a handicapped male athlete?) is put into an unpreventable flashback into unbearable terror, has a handgun available, and the athlete’s female friend (fiance?) makes a sound behind a door, a psychotic flashback may lead to bullets going through a door and into the female friend’s body, with fatal consequences.

    And people who are themselves comparably shattered may mistakenly adjudge the acting out of immense terror as though it was a consciously willful act and criminally culpable.

    And the catastrophic dance of the insanely psychotic human comedy of actually false, albeit sincerely held, beliefs and their consequences dances on, and on, and on, until? ???

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