The Bible For Only One Year Courtesy of Congress
American ayatollahs, take heed: Someone in Congress is thinking of your needs. Republican Representative Todd Akin from Missouri has introduced legislation to establish a government sponsored Year of the Bible in 2008.
From the perspective of the Constitution and American law, Akin’s legislation is clearly out of bounds. What about from the Christian perspective, though?
Theologically, the idea of an official Year of the Bible turns Christian belief into nonsensical blather. How can eternal, cosmic wisdom be confined to just one year? If dedication to Christian religious practice is supposed to remain constant, developing throughout one’s life, how can there be just a single Year of the Bible? What are the rest of the years in one’s life supposed to be? The Year of the New York Times Bestseller, followed by the Year of the Encyclopedia, then the Year of the Dictionary, and then the Year of The Omivore’s Dilemma, and on and on?
Todd Akin’s resolution is a perfect example of how attempts to impose religion through legislation actually end up diminishing religion.
On the positive side, perhaps keeping the Bible contained to just one year could help to keep the theocratic ambitions of the Religious Right at bay. They could have their little Year of the Bible, and then every year after that would be, by definition, not a year of the Bible.
It’s a tempting reinterpretation of a bad idea, but no, I think I’ll stick by the Bill of Rights and the separation of church and state instead.