Louisiana legislators advanced a bill Thursday that would make the Holy Bible the official Louisiana state book, despite concerns the move could prompt litigation.
“You cannot separate Christianity from the Bible,” said state Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, a lawyer and the son of a preacher. “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 a lawsuit.”
The House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee voted 8-5 to recommend the legislation to the full House.
State Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, countered that naming an official state book doesn’t equate to establishing a state religion, which is specifically prohibited in the U.S. Constitution.
“The Holy Bible would be appropriate for the state of Louisiana,” he said, particularly given the state’s strong religious ties.
House Bill 503 was submitted on behalf of a constituent who had wondered whether there was an official state book, Carmody said.