Louisiana’s House of Representatives’ Municipal, Parochial, and Cultural Affairs Committee voted on Thursday to recommend legislation that would name the Bible as their official state book. House Bill No. 503’s sponsor, State Representative Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, says, “The Holy Bible would be appropriate for the state of Louisiana,” because of the state’s “strong religious ties,” according to The New Orleans Advocate.
The bill is being met with a lot of resistance for various reasons. State Representative Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, the son of a preacher, told The Advocate, “If you adopt the Bible as the official state book, you also adopt Christianity as the state religion...We are going to open ourselves up to alawsuit.” Rep. Carmody refutes this, saying, “This is not about establishing an official religion,” as reported by NOLA.com.
State Representative Ebony Woodruff, D-Harvey, attempted to amend the bill so that “all books of faith” would be official state books, but that proposal was voted down. Rep. Carmody told NOLA.com he was opposed to the amendment, but also told The Advocate he thinks Louisiana can have more than one state book. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana’s executive director, Majorie Esman, told NOLA.com, "[The official state book] ought to be one that relates to the history of Louisiana and not one that is going to discriminate against a large number of Louisianans.” Michael Weil, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, said, “I think the state should consider a text that is not religious.”
The bill will now be voted on by the full House.