On Thursday, Apr. 10, Louisiana legislators opted to move ahead with the proposed bill that would make the Holy Bible the official Louisiana state book. Despite concerns that insist the bill could prompt litigation, the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs ruled in favor of the bill with a 8-5 vote, reports The Advocate.
The bill, which was sponsored by Louisiana State Rep. Thomas Carmody, will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Although gratuitous strides have been made to push the bill forward, there are still a number of hurdles that lie ahead.
The growing concerns with the proposed bill have sparked quite a debate, as some lawmakers expressed concerns about the proposal not being “broad enough,” excluding the full extent of Bibles commonly used in various religious communities throughout Louisiana. More specifically, a number of lawmakers have voiced concerns about the bill being bias, dominantly reflecting practices relative to the text in the King James version of the bible. This particular theory could pose a bigger problem with the progression of the bill, as some Louisiana residents could potentially find it offensive to suggest the use of a specific version of the bible.
However, Rep. Carmody, R-Shreveport expressed his reason for supporting the bill, by opposing the belief that the bill leans toward the text in the King James version of the bible.
“It’s not to the exclusion of anyone else’s sacred literature,” he told the House committee. Again, later he said, “This is not about establishing an official religion of the state of Louisiana.”
“I think we’re going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit,” said Rep. Wesley Bishop, a Democrat who is also a preacher’s son and a lawyer, AP reported. “You can’t adopt the Bible and not adopt Christianity.”
The publication also gave a detailed breakdown of how committee members voted.
Voting FOR making the general Holy Bible the official state book (8): State Reps. Ortego, Billiot, Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia; Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales; Terry Brown, No Party-Colfax; Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur; Dalton Honoré, D-Baton Rouge; and Tom Willmott, R-Kenner.
Voting AGAINST the amended HB503 (5): State Reps. Brossett, Woodruff, Bishop, D-New Orleans; Austin Badon, D-New Orleans; and Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport.
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