A proposal to make the Bible Louisiana's official state book has been pulled by the state legislator who suggested it.
Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody said he introduced the bill at a constituent’s request. Other lawmakers said the proposal was a distraction from more important issues, The Associated Press reported.
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Opponents of the measure say it might violate the separation of church and state and could lead to a lawsuit.
Some legal experts said it would be difficult to win such a legal challenge because naming the Bible as the state book would be symbolic, according to The Times-Picayune.
"You can promote religion so long as it doesn't rise to the level of establishing a church," Keith Werhan, a constitutional law expert at Tulane University Law School, told the newspaper.
Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious liberty who teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law, told the Times-Picayune, “This would just sit there in the statute books, affecting everyone in Louisiana more or less equally. That often means that no one can challenge it in court."
Rep. Ebony Woodruff said he planned to vote against the measure because he feared it might alienate non-Christian citizens.
"I know in my district I have a large Vietnamese population, some are Christian but some are not and I just felt I couldn't vote for the bill as it was because I didn't want to leave those members out," Woodruff told WAFB-TV
The original bill called for a specific, historic copy of the Bible to be named the state book. But Catholic lawmakers who objected to that version of the Bible changed the language to include any copy of the Bible, CBS News reported.
Carmody said that change caused a “constitutional problem” that couldn’t be resolved.
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