The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit over a Pennsylvania resolution declaring 2012 as “The Year of the Bible.”
Rep. Rick Saccone (R), who sponsored the resolution and has been named as a defendant in FFRF’s lawsuit, said the resolution “serve[d] as a reminder that we must look to our faith in God and the Holy Scripture to provide us with the strength, wisdom and courage to conquer these great trials.”
The group says the declaration violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another.
“FFRF’s membership includes individuals residing in Pennsylvania who have had direct and unwanted exposure to the Year of the Bible Resolution and the hostile environment created thereby as a result of the official declaration of a state religion by the Pennsylvania Legislature,” FFRF’s legal complaint states.
“Passage of H.R. 535 is particularly ironic in Pennsylvania, moreover, which was founded as a refuge for those seeking religious tolerance by William Penn, who famously welcomed religious dissenters and non-believers of many different persuasions,” it adds.
The lawsuit also names the Pennsylvania House clerk and House parliamentarian as defendants.
The symbolic resolution was approved by an unanimous 193 to 0 vote in January.
“[The] House of Representatives declare 2012 as the ‘Year of the Bible’ in Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of the Bible on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures,” the resolution stated.
In response, the American Atheists, Inc purchased a billboard to protest the resolution.
[Image via Kevin Eng, Creative Commons licensed]