By a vote of 8-5 a committee of the Louisiana House today advanced a bill that would make the bible the official state book.
Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, said he sponsored the proposal after a constituent made the request. But Carmody insisted the bill wasn't designed to be a state-endorsement of Christianity or a specific religion. "It's not to the exclusion of anyone else's sacred literature," he told the House committee. Again, later he said, "This is not about establishing an official religion of the state of Louisiana." Lawmakers who voted against the measure said it raises questions about whether Louisiana would be violating the separation of church and state. Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, said as a preacher's son, he loved the concept. But he said as a lawyer, he thinks the bill has problems. He voted against the measure. "I think we're going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit. You can't adopt the Bible and not adopt Christianity," he said.