The sponsor of a bill to make the Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana has withdrawn the measure ahead of a full vote in the state House of Representatives, saying the proposal has become a distraction.
As we reported last week, a mix of Republicans and Democrats had moved the largely symbolic bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Carmody of Shreveport, out of committee on an 8-5 vote.
The measure had been scheduled for a floor vote on Monday, but Carmody said he told the constituent who asked for the bill that he "was going to go ahead and return the bill to the calendar [on Monday] and concentrate our efforts on those things that are much more important."
"In introducing the legislation, Carmody always maintained he was not taking steps to establish a state religion, but rather to educate people. Critics have accused him of foisting faith inappropriately into the government sphere. Others thought such a designation would trivialize the Bible and its importance.
"Initially, Carmody had just been intending to designate a specific, historic copy of the Bible, which he thought could be found in the Louisiana State Museum, as the official state book. But lawmakers amended Carmody's legislation two weeks ago to propose making any copy of the 'Holy Bible' the official state book."