The state legislative session is still two weeks away, and already there’s controversy. A republican senator wants to pass a resolution declaring 2020 as the year of the Bible.
The resolution would recognize the influence the Bible had in the forming of our government.
Opponents claim it’s nothing but a desperate cry for attention.
State Concurrent Resolution Seven would not carry the weight of law.
“It’s a resolution just encouraging people to look at the history. To look at how a lot of the foundational principles of the way that we created our government here in America, a lot of the constitution actually is based on those biblical principles,” said Senator Nathan Dahm (R) Broken Arrow.
Dahm insists, this is not a state endorsement of religion.
“We’re not establishing any particular religion. We’re not telling people you have to go to a certain church. We’re not even forcing them to do this. This is a suggestion. This is an encouragement to look to the holy scriptures, to look to the bible for guidance,” said Dahm.
So we asked whether Dahm would support a similar resolution naming 2020 the year of, say, the Quran for example. “Somebody has the opportunity to file that legislation if they want to. But the Quran doesn’t have as much of an influence in this nation as it has in other nations. There are other nations that do promote the Quran to that level. Here in America our constitution, our declaration of independence are founded on biblical principles.” Dahm said.
The American Civil Liberties Union said this is a clear constitutional violation.
“The separation of church and state goes both ways. It’s not just to keep religion out of government. It’s to keep government out of religion. Because when we allow politicians to usurp religion in this way it cheapens faith. And that’s one of the things that our founders sought to prevent,” said Ryan Kiesel of the ACLU of Oklahoma.
Tim Ward of The American Atheists released a statement that said:
“Disturbingly, ‘Year of the Bible’ bills are part of a larger religious extremist campaign called Project Blitz. The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the organization behind Project Blitz, has admitted to trying to leverage ‘Year of the Bible’ bills to pass far worse bills. This includes licenses-to-discriminate in health care, foster care, and adoption—all in the name of their distorted vision of ‘religious freedom.”
As for Senator Dahm, the ACLU said he’s “one of the least effective state senators out at the state capitol right now and it’s largely due to the fact that he’s concerned himself more with making political statements than actually advancing real legislation that impacts the communities that he serves.”
“Just because you’re really good at getting a headline doesn’t mean you’re a good state senator,” said Keisel.
The ACLU isn’t planning any legal action just yet, but said they’ll keep an eye on the resolution.