HCR 11, a theocrat’s wet dream, makes it sound like Texas wouldn’t be Texas without Christianity.
WHEREAS, The Bible has filled many roles in the saga of Texas, serving as a social and cultural touchstone that has been integral to the state’s history and development; and WHEREAS, In the early 1800s, as settlement of Texas gained momentum, the Bible provided a vital cultural link between Catholic Tejanos and Protestant Anglo Americans; although their backgrounds differed in many respects, shared traditions helped to unite them and to further their pursuit of greater freedom and, ultimately, independence from Spanish and later Mexican rule; and WHEREAS, During the Texas Revolution, such heroic figures as Sam Houston, William Travis, Juan Seguin, and Davy Crockett carried their Bibles for wisdom and inspiration; Bibles believed to be Sam Houston’s own has been used to swear in more than 30 Texas governors in an enduring inaugural tradition, and it serves as a powerful symbol of continuity and state leadership; and WHEREAS, Comprehensive recordkeeping was not carried out by local and state government during the 19th century; instead, life events such as births, marriages, and deaths were written in family Bibles; many of these cherished volumes were passed down through the generations and are now included in the state’s archives, providing a vital resource for historians; and WHEREAS, The State of Texas grants official recognition to symbols that resonate broadly with the public and that have played an important part in shaping our state’s identity; as a prominent element in the rich fabric of our Texas heritage, the Bible is truly deserving of such acknowledgment; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the 87th Legislature of the State of Texas, 3rd Called Session, hereby designate the Bible as the official state book of Texas.
I’m shocked. I can’t believe this wasn’t already a thing in Texas.
Of course, as even a local FOX affiliate notes, the resolution doesn’t specify which Bible would be the official book. It’s not like there’s just one “Bible.” There are a number of different translations.
Another problem? Some Christians could argue that by treating the Bible the same way as a certain flower or tree, by giving it an “official state” designation, you’re minimizing its importance.
Whatever the defense, there’s no reason one religion’s holy book should be designated by a state government as special. Texas has given rise to so many prominent authors who have helped define the state — including Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy — yet their works weren’t even considered.
This resolution should fail. Texas doesn’t need a stronger connection to Christianity. It needs far less of it.
Incidentally, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Mississippi, and Louisiana have all tried passing similar resolutions in the past. All of them have failed despite having Republican majorities. Alabama, however, has a “State Bible.” Not exactly a state anyone should be emulating.
Will Texas get it done? Even with their GOP super-majority, it’s not a guarantee it’ll pass for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Sometimes these bills are more trouble than they’re worth. The best case scenario for Rogers is that this resolution goes nowhere; he would avoid any backlash or lawsuits while also being able to claim in future campaign ads that he tried to honor the Bible.
(Image via Shutterstock. Portions of this article were posted earlier)