Mississippi lawmakers re-file bill to make Holy Bible as official state book

‘Our state, and our state government, would do well to emulate the broad principles that are found in the Bible,’ a Democratic lawmaker from Mississippi says.(Gideons International)

Mississippi lawmakers have re-filed a bill to make the Holy Bible the official state book.

Democrat Rep. Tom Miles and nine other co-sponsors filed H.B. 840, which aims to create a new section in the Mississippi Code of 1972 to make the Holy Scripture the state book.

"I am proud to say that we once again enjoyed bipartisan support on this effort," said Miles, who along with Rep. Michael Ted Evans, sponsored a similar bill during the 2015 session.

Miles clarified though that "we are not trying to force religion on anyone."

"What we are doing is making a statement that our state, and our state government, would do well to emulate the broad principles that are found in the Bible, including taking care of the poor and the needy among us. It's not a bad standard to strive for, and its message has stood the test of time for several thousand years," he said.

"Me and my constituents, we were talking about it and one of them made a comment that people ought to start reading the Bible," Evans told AL.com, according to Christian News Network.

Miles told the Associated Press that "the Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people. They could read in there about love and compassion."

There is no publication that has been officially designated as Mississippi's state book but there is the teddy bear as state bear, square dancing as state folk dance and milk as state beverage.

The bill has been referred to the Rules and Constitution committees. Feb. 23 is the deadline for passing measures out of committee.

In 2012, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a resolution that declared "Year of the Bible," saying there is a "national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures."

President Ronald Reagan declared 1983 as the national "Year of the Bible."

"Many of our greatest national leaders—among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson—have recognised the influence of the Bible on our country's development. The plainspoken Andrew Jackson referred to the Bible as no less than 'the rock on which our Republic rests,'" Reagan said then.