Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pennsylvania Legislature Hails Lord Bacchus...

Now that I've gotten your attention with the inflammatory (and a bit misleading) post title, here's what really happened...

The Pennsylvania state legislature just passed a bill declaring 2012 "The Year of the Bible" in the state.  Here's an article about it, and here's the text of the bill.  It's rather constitutionally dubious, to say the least--it's non-binding, but at the same time, it's a fairly explicit endorsement of Christianity and/or Judaism by the Pennsylvania state government.

A member of my alternate-history forum whose handle is Skokie created the following parody:


Declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Bacchanalia and Our Lord Bacchus” in Pennsylvania.

WHEREAS, Lord Bacchus, he of the trees, God of unmixed wine, has made a unique contribution in shaping United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people, especially in terms of viniculture; and

WHEREAS, Deeply held religious convictions springing from the loins of Bacchus led Benjamin Franklin to be really awesome;

WHEREAS, Bacchic-preserved concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Many of our great national heroes, among them Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and William Jefferson Clinton paid homage to Bacchus;

WHEREAS, The history of our country clearly illustrates the value of wine production, sexual liberation and associated ecstasies; and

WHEREAS, This nation now faces great challenges that will test it as it has never been tested before; and

WHEREAS, Renewing our knowledge of and faith in Lord God Bacchus through his holy sparagmos of chicken hens can strengthen us as a nation and a people;

therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives declare 2012 as

the “Year of Bacchanalia” in Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of Lord God Bacchus on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to perform holy rites that ensure his continued blessing.

Lest anyone say anything, I'm a Christian, but I'm just as much of a fan of satire as anyone.  Not only is this really funny, but at the same time, it makes one think.  Many Christians would pitch an absolute fit if the state of Pennsylvania passed a resolution honoring a pagan god, even if it were non-binding, but many Christians don't mind this bit of state sanction for our faith at all.

The Bible has been a massive influence on Western Civilization in general and America in particular, but this resolution isn't stating that people should know the Bible for its historical value or to be more literate, but because it's the Word of God.  The former is the "clear, secular purpose" permitted by the Supreme Court Lemon vs. Kurtzman; the latter is not.

Let us Christians remember that a state that endorses our religion over others can easily endorse another religion over ours.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 says to pray for kings and others in authority, but it's so that they leave Christians alone to pursue holiness, not to impose Christianity on others.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV).

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