Brushing aside concerns over potential lawsuits, a bill has been sent to the Louisiana state legislature that would make the Bible the official state book.
On an 8-5 vote, the House municipal committee advanced the bill which now goes to the full House for debate, according to WWLTV.
Rep. Thomas Carmody (R) said he sponsored the proposal at the request of a constituent but insisted that the bill wasn’t designed to be a state-endorsement of Christianity.
“It’s not to the exclusion of anyone else’s sacred literature,” he told the House committee. He added, “This is not about establishing an official religion of the state of Louisiana.”
Not all legislators agreed, with some pointing out that it might not pass muster with the courts.
Rep. Wesley Bishop (D) said that, as a preacher’s son, he loved the idea. However, as a lawyer, he thinks the bill has problems.
“I think we’re going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit. You can’t adopt the Bible and not adopt Christianity,” he said after voting against the measure.
Other legislators see the bill as exclusionary.
Rep. Ebony Woodruff (D) said the adoption of the Bible as the state’s official book might be offensive to Louisianans who aren’t Christians.
“You’re OK with offending some of the citizens of this state?” she asked.
Carmody responded that the bill was not meant to be offensive.
“It’s not meant to be offensive,” he explained. “There’s no requirement that they would have to follow this particular text.”
Other lawmakers had previously objected to Carmody’s proposal to use a specific version of the Bible, so language was stripped from the bill before it was sent to the full legislature.
Watch video of the debate below: