Steven Waldman has some helpful observations about a congressional resolution submitted by Paul Broun intended to designate 2010 as the “Year of the Bible.” Here are a couple especially good quotes:
The problem is not praising the Bible, it’s giving official recognition to it and not other sacred texts. Ironically, by pushing this notion, its advocates run the risk of diminishing the stature of the Bible.
Why? Because when it comes to religion in the public sphere, you usually have two choices. You can have religion completely stripped from the public sphere. Or, you can have religion in the public sphere — and also pluralism. You want a creche on the city hall lawn? You’ll have to accept a Menorah, too. Congress allows Christian ministers to give benedictions in the name of Christ — but it also invites Muslims, Jews and Hindus to open legislative sessions.
If you as a private individual say, “The Bible is the most important religious book in American history,” you’re not likely to get a whole lot of argument. But if we make that an official governmental pronouncement, then we really must look at doing Year of the Quran and the Year of the Sutras.
Personally, I don’t necessarily oppose a multi-faith, pluralistic approach. If Congress wants to pass a resolution praising a wide variety of sacred texts and their importance in American history, I could live with that.
a) we’re better off having government just stay out of the business of passing judgment on religious texts and
b) Christians should know that they’re taking us down a path that will not lead where they want to go.