It’s almost as if someone was trying to provide me with an example of what I meant in my post about Jesus Christ and the State.
According to NPR, the Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted 8-5 to forward a measure that would make the Holy Bible the state’s official book.
In effect, this means it would be a symbolic designation akin to a state bird or state flower.
Does this violate the Non-Aggression Principle?
In a sense, no. No one is forced to read the Bible or state they believe it due to this measure. But in a way, yes. It forces people to acknowledge a religious text they may or may not believe as their official state book, thus indirectly affiliating them with it. It also required taxpayer dollars to pass this measure.
For the record, I’m a Presbyterian, as I’ve already mentioned. But I find it foolish and immoral to think that Christianity and its teachings should be forced upon people in any way – as long as their behavior conforms to the Non-Aggression Principle, of course. Christ didn’t force anyone to follow him. Nor should his followers.
If people are wondering why there is such a feud between the religious right and the progressive left, it’s because of measures like this and their counterparts from progressives who are just as eager to use the state to enforce their agenda. It would be like my home state of Washington voting to make the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins their official book (though in reality, a trendy spiritual coffee shop book, environmentalist manifesto, or a guide to Seattle’s dog parks would be more accurate)
I would ask what the point of this measure is, other than to acknowledge the Bible’s cultural influence in the state. And if that’s the case, then the culture can voluntarily define it as such. It doesn’t require the state to make it so.
But it doesn’t matter, either way. The state has no business electing an official bird, plant, flower, tree, book, song, or anything else. Society is perfectly capable of selecting these things themselves through voluntary means, thus allowing individuals to associate with whatever they wish. No one in Seattle was forced to attend the huge parade outside my office when the Seahawks returned after their victory against the Broncos in the Superbowl. We certainly don’t need the state legislature to make the 12th Man an official state mascot or cultural icon.
Such measures create unnecessary controversies and should be set aside. If the State has any useful purpose, it is to enact laws that guarantee rights and liberties and provide protections for them.