Government's 'Bible Week' Not Appropriate

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While there is certainly nothing wrong with the Bible, there is surely something inappropriate in having Arizona Gov. Jane Hull proclaim a week in its honor.

Hull earlier this month declared Arizona Bible Week for Nov. 22-29, apparently pretty much as a matter of course. She issues similar proclamations in great number on everything from Armenian Martyr's Day to Clown Week to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

For the most part, nobody pays much attention. But when it comes to citizens' rights, concerns are rightly raised.

Among the governor's proclamations are eight religion-related decrees, including one for the Muslim observance of Ramadan. None are appropriate.

The argument is made for Bible Week that our nation was founded upon Christian principles and that we should honor these beliefs in an official way. But it is also true that our founding fathers took great pains to ensure that there be a separation of church and state. That principle is embedded right there in the first line of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ..."

The same needs to hold true for our government at all levels, right down to town councils and mayors. In fact, it was Glendale Mayor Cynthia Dunham's declaration of Bible Week for her town that triggered debate over the issue, including Gov. Hull's decree. Dunham was wrong too.

We know what "religious" states look like: Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia. In the United States, we should in no way take even the smallest step down that path.

After all, we don't really want to leave it up to our government to tell us what to believe, do we?

-- Brian Beck, Editor

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