With Democrat Henry Waxman as the chair of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, the committee has been dealing with some of the following issues recently:
- national energy policy
- hospital capacity during emergencies
- the upcoming 2010 census
- corruption at the EPA and Department of Defense
- marine habitat conservation
- tax fraud
- global warming
- military recruitment
- White House coverup and interference with criminal investigations
There is a Republican minority in the House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform, of course. The Republican minority in the committee has a different idea of what kind of oversight and reform needs to take place.
Instead of dealing with the issues listed above, the Republicans are trying to use the oversight commitee to get the federal government to officially recognize 2008 as the Year of the Bible.
Led by Missouri Republican Todd Akin, a group of 30 members of the House of Resolution have cosponsored the effort to get H. CON. RES. 284 to be approved by the House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform. The resolution reads,
“Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the President is encouraged –
(1) to designate an appropriate year as `The National Year of the Bible’; and
(2) to issue a proclamation calling upon citizens of all faiths to rediscover and apply the priceless, timeless message of the Holy Scriptures which has profoundly influenced and shaped the United States and its great democratic form of self government, as well as its rich spiritual heritage, and which has unified, healed, and strengthened its people for over 200 years.”
Not only does the resolution call for a National Year of the Bible, to apply for non-Christians as well as Christians, but it has the government call upon citizens to spread the Christian religion – the “timeless message of the Holy Scriptures”.
Apparently, the people supporting this resolution have let the Bill of Rights slip their minds. The Bill of Rights clearly forbids the government establishment of religion, yet the resolution encourages people to rediscover the Bible as “Holy Scriptures”, and provides special recognition to the Christian religion for an entire year that other religions have not received. If that isn’t government establishment of religion, nothing is.
Of course, there is another explanation: That the members of the U.S. House who have sponsored this legislation know about the Bill of Rights, but just don’t approve of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. If that’s the case, this resolution is a fairly transparent attempt to establish a precedent for special government recognition and privileges for Christianity over other religions, and over non-religious ways of life.
Even from within the Christian tradition, this resolution seems insulting. Do Christians really believe that the Bible is such an anemic piece of literature that it needs the support of a nanny government to coddle it and protect it from competing ideas? If you are among those who believe in the Christian God, do you really believe that God is weaker than the Congress of the United States of America? A religion that needs congressional resolutions in order to thrive may not be a religion worth belonging to.
If we really are to believe that God wants the support of the federal government of the United States of America in order for the Christian Bible to be successful, then we must conclude that God is far from omnipotent when it comes to Congress. God needs to get some new lobbyists, because only a small percentage of members of the U.S. House have come to the support of this bill. H. CON. RES. 284 doesn’t seem to have the support of either God or the population of this supposedly “Christian nation”.
The following are the cosponsors of the resolution to officially establish the Christian Bible as the federal government’s religious scripture this year:
Note that the problem of this profoundly flawed resolution isn’t just a Republican one. There are Democrats in this group: Gene Taylor, Heath Shuler, Donna Christensen and Emanuel Cleaver. Their constituents ought to give them a call (Ring the capitol switchboard at 202 224-3121) and remind them that being a Democrat is supposed to include support for the Constitution and its separation of church and state, established in the Bill of Rights.