On January 23rd the General Assembly of Pennsylvania issued a house resolution declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Bible”. This wasn’t a major headline and only highlighted in the local news in Pennsylvania. “Good for you, Pa.”, I thought. I decided to do some research on proclamations related to, “the year of the bible”. On February 3, 1983 (I was ten years old), Ronald Reagan made Proclamation 5018 declaring 1983 the “Year of the Bible”. He starts the proclamation stating, “Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”
I was too young to realize the impact that Ronald Reagan had on our country at the time. I now consider him my favorite President within my young lifetime. After all, I am still in my thirties or at least hanging on. Reagan realized the fundamental impact that the scriptures had on the formation of our country and the need to pause and give recognition.
I did a little more research. In 1990, George Bush, Sr. made a proclamation to declare the year 1990 as the “International Year of Bible Reading.” The proclamation states: “Cherished for centuries by men and women around the world, the Bible’s value is timeless. Its significance transcends the boundaries between nations and languages because it carries a universal message to every human heart.”
The theme throughout our nation’s history is the impact of the bible on our beliefs in government, morality, justice and religion. I am a lover of quotes. So I decided to dig a little and quote some of our nation’s best and brightest and their thoughts on the bible. Here are a few:
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” -George Washington
“The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
– Andrew Jackson
“In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”
“The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty…students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.” -Thomas Jefferson
It is undeniable the impact the bible has had on the making of our nation and its leaders. However, fast forward to today and where does the bible hold importance. We see the bible on Inauguration Day. A President’s hand held on the cover while an oath is taken. We see the symbol but the content of what is inside seems to be diminished. The bible is no longer taught in our public schools. It is kind of like our nation has put it on the shelf and only takes it out when necessary.
Do our current leaders look to the bible to guide them for answers? One interesting thing in my research I found was that in the House of Representatives a resolution was proposed to our current President. It encouraged the President to designate 2010 as “The National Year of the Bible”. Perhaps this resolution got pushed under a stack of files or maybe it’s under that dusty bible hiding somewhere in the White House. All I know is that the bible filled with scriptures and truth helped to shape our nation and our Constitution. The bible seems to hold less importance in our government. In return our Constitution seems to be losing importance as well.
So kudos to Pennsylvania for acknowledging that we need to get back to the word of God.
“Whereas, this nation faces great challenges that will test it as it has never been tested before; and whereas, renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people…”- House Resolution No. 535