Bipartisan Bills Would Make the Bible the ‘State Book’ of Mississippi

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers in Mississippi has introduced separate bills calling for the Bible to be named the “state book,” the Associated Press reported.


“The Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people,” state Rep. Tom Miles (D) said. “They could read in there about love and compassion.”

Miles and fellow Democratic state Rep. Michael Evans sponsored one of the bills, saying they have amassed support from more than 20 of their colleagues, enhancing its chances for approval. The other bill was introduced by state Rep. Tracy Arnold (R), who is also a Christian church pastor.

Supporters said neither bill would require residents to read the Bible, as the “state book” designation would be symbolic. Evans told AL.com he thought of his bill following a meeting with constituents.

“We were talking about it, and one of them made a comment that people ought to start reading the Bible,” he said.

However, an in-law of William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize-winning author who was a native of Oxford, has criticized the bills.

“It’s impossible to conceive of a state abandoning its literary heritage like that,” said Larry Wells, who was married to Faulkner’s niece, Dean Faulkner Wells, before she died. “What would Faulkner and [Eudora] Welty and Shelby Foote and Richard Wright think? I think they would collectively link arms and say, ‘Go back to kindergarten, Legislature.’”

The bills’ supporters say they are not trying to force their religion upon the rest of the state. Miles compared his proposal to a bill passed last year that added the phrase, “In God we trust” to the state seal.

“This isn’t any more out there than that,” Miles told Reuters.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.