Bible won't become Louisiana state book

(Photo: Geri-Jean Blanchard)

As the role of religion in politics is hotly debated in the UK, the author of a proposal that would see the Bible become the official state book of Louisiana has withdrawn his application.

Republican representative for Shreveport Thomas Carondy proposed legislation which names the King James Bible as official book of Louisiana, a Southern US state in which around 60 per cent of citizens identify with the Christian faith.

The draft bill immediately received criticism on the grounds that it could alienate and offend non-Christian residents, even though the House Committee voted in a majority of 8-5 to advance the legislation to go before the full House, scheduled for 21 April.

However, Carondy surprised lawmakers by announcing on Monday that he was pulling the legislation before it could go to debate.

According to the Associated Press, he felt the bill was becoming a "distraction" from "much more important" issues, such as education and budgets.

Referring to the many objections he received, Carondy also noted that his proposal "causes some constitutional problems" – unlike the UK, US law separates Church and State.

Wesley Bishop, Democratic representative for New Orleans, who had openly opposed the draft bill tweeted "good decision" as the move was announced.

"I think we're going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit," he had previously warned.

"You can't adopt the Bible and not adopt Christianity."

A slightly less gracious and probably tongue-in-cheek response to Carondy's initial suggestion has come in the form of an online petition which puts forward John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces" as the state book instead.

"Any religious book will only serve to further divide the citizens of the state," argues the petition, which has received almost 800 signatures at the time of publishing.

"But this truly incredible novel is a cornerstone of Louisiana heritage, a masterful accomplishment of creativity and wit, which would better represent the unique culture of our amazing state."

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