Target: Mississippi State Representatives Tom Miles, Michael Evans, and Tracy Arnold
Goal: End efforts to officially designate the Bible as Mississippi’s state book
A number of bills are being introduced in Mississippi’s state legislature that would make the Bible the official state book. This is a clear violation of the separation of church and state and should not be pursued any further. Demand that the representatives responsible for pushing the bills abandon them.
Mississippi state legislators Tom Miles and Michael Evans have sponsored a bill that would officially designate the Bible as Mississippi’s state book. Another representative, church pastor Tracy Arnold, has also introduced a separate bill that would do the same thing. While motivations for these bills may be good-natured—Tom Miles is on record as saying “The Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people. They could read in there about love and compassion.”—that does not make the bills any less inappropriate. Raising a holy text to an elevated, favored position in a state comes suspiciously close to crashing against the law that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
How would members of other religions living in Mississippi feel to know that their government, by law, favors a Christian holy book? Sign the petition below to demand that the representatives pushing for these bills abandon them without delay.
Dear Representatives Miles, Evans, and Arnold,
I am writing you today about the bills you have introduced that would officially designate the Bible as Mississippi’s state book. These efforts are inappropriate and illegal and should be abandoned immediately.
In part, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Your bills to make the Bible, by law, the state book come uncomfortably close to violating the first clause of this statement, if not technically violating it outright. They create a hostile environment for non-Christians who, if either of your bills become law, would be forced to worship under the auspices of a government that ostensibly is there to support them, but that in reality openly favors the specific religion of the majority. It is not difficult to see that the effect of your efforts would be, in essence, unconstitutional.
Other critics of your bills have cited more appropriate choices for Mississippi’s state book, including books that highlight the works of Mississippian writers. While you may or may not choose to pursue those options instead, I demand that you abandon efforts to designate the Bible as Mississippi’s state book without delay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Pumbaa80 via Wikimedia Commons