Guest Column: What if Congress Printed Bibles?
BY DENNIS RICHARDSON
Should Congress support printing the Holy Bible?
Such a suggestion today would probably go over like the proverbial “lead balloon,” especially in light of comments a few days ago by a Congressman who essentially said God has no place in Congress.
To be exact, Congressman Jerry Nadler, a democrat from New York, serving his 15th term, said, “what any religious tradition describes as God’s will is of no concern of this Congress.”
Members of the first Continental Congress apparently thought differently.
In 1777 it approved the purchase of bibles, mainly for distribution to the schools, but also so the inhabitants of the colonies could have access to them. A study showed it was not feasible to print bibles in the colonies. Instead, they were imported from Britain and Ireland where type and paper were plentiful.
Think about 1777. The colonies were at war for independence. During the time that discussions about printing bibles were on the table, British forces beat George Washington’s army at the Battle of Brandywine Creek and then marched onto Philadelphia, the Capitol at the time. The Continental Congress fled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and later to York and discussions about printing bibles had to be put on hold.
The importance of the Bible resurfaced in 1781 when a three-member committee formed, and in 1782 a printer in Philadelphia was authorized to print bibles. Believe it or not, this was even approved by the Supreme Court.
I remember that I was in either fifth or sixth grade when a nice gentleman, a member of The Gideon Society, came to our classroom and passed out pocket-sized New Testaments that sported either green or red covers. We were thankful.
How times have changed. Only a few years ago, hearing arguments from the Freedom From Religion group, courts ruled it illegal for the Gideons to come onto school property during school hours and distribute bibles.
Think about that.
Violent crimes abound in our country. A rape, murder or assault is committed every 2.5 minutes. Pornography abounds, both in print and on the internet. Too many marriages end in divorce.
Maybe Congress needs to rethink this whole Bible thing.
Editor’s note: Dennis Richardson is the CEO and President of Magic Valley Publishing Company.