Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, withdrew his bill, saying that it “causes a constitutional problem that could not be overcome.” Carmody also told WBRZ News that other lawmakers mentioned to Carmody that the legislation was becoming a distraction, overshadowing bigger issues such as the state budget.
As reported, lawmakers debated weeks ago what copy of the Bible would be used as the state book, with legislators stating that the King James version would alienate Catholics and others who do not use that version.
Initially, Carmody had just been intending to designate a specific, historic copy of the Bible, which he thought could be found in the Louisiana State Museum, as the official state book. But lawmakers amended Carmody’s legislation to make any copy of the “Holy Bible” the official state book.
Designating the Holy Bible the official state book would have been largely a symbolic gesture. It wouldn’t have affected how the government is run or Louisiana residents’ day-to-day lives. Louisiana citizens would have not, for example, be made to read the Holy Bible if it had been designated the official book of Louisiana.
The move by Carmody comes after his legislation made national headlines throughout mainstream media outlets, with claims that it would have forced a state religion on Louisianians.