West Virginia has drafted a bill proposing to make the Bible its official state book.
One of Bill 2568’s sponsors, House Delegate Ralph Rodighiero, said it would be a “privilege” to instate the Bible as West Virginia’s state book because it is a piece of history.
“We’re in the Bible Belt, and I’ve had it requested many times for it to be the state book,” Rodighiero said.
Critics of the bill claim it would be a violation to separation of church and state, one of the country’s founding policies. If signed into law, West Virginia would essentially be endorsing one religion over another, said Eli Baumwell, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.
“America is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world,” Baumwell said. “We actually have some of the most faithful people in the world. It’s particularly because we have that freedom, so everyone can find that religion that speaks to them that is that truth, and they’re able to do that because we don’t have government that’s endorsing one religion over another.”
2 things WV needs to focus on: The opiate crisis and the budget; if only something could address both.https://t.co/MiVhH3DjI2
— Eli Baumwell (@EliACLUWV) February 1, 2017
Baumwell also said that West Virginia state government has more important matters than making the Bible its state book, including the opioid epidemic.
“Our Legislature has bigger fish to fry this session, particularly with regards to the budget and the opiate crisis,” Baumwell said.
Although the bill has not yet gone through the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Rodighiero said the bill has support from both Repulicans and Democrats.
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