2012 Is Officially 3/4 Over, Also Officially “Year of the Bible”

In today’s “Mississippi of the North” report, Federal Judge Chris Connor performed a goddamned legal miracle … sort of. Summoning the wisdom of King Solomon, that venerable baby slicing bigamist, Connor has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation asserting that the Pennsylvania State Legislature’s designation of 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” is a clear violation the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which reads:

Section 3. Religious Freedom
All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.”

That alone seems like a straight up victory for the PA legislature, who bravely voted 193-0 to enact this clearly important piece of legislative business. But not so fast there, Pennsyltuckians, for in his ruling Connor admitted that the legislature had not broken the tenet of the law, but found the spirit of this bill to be:

“At worst…premeditated pandering designed to provide a reelection sound bite for use by members of the General Assembly. But regardless of the motivation. . . its express language is proselytizing and exclusionary. . . . The court is compelled to shine a clear, bright light on this resolution because it pushes the Establishment Clause envelope behind the safety glass of legislative immunity. That is passed unanimously is even more alarming.”

Meet us after the jump for more of the judge’s statement, and some shockingly positive responses from both sides

Connor went on to scold, “blatant use of legislative resources” contravened “the spirit — if not the letter — of the Establishment Clause,” Conner wrote scathingly. At a time when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces massive public policy challenges, these resources would be far better utilized in meaningful legislative efforts for the benefit of all of the citizens of the Commonwealth, regardless of their religious beliefs.” It is unconfirmed whether or not Connor snapped his fingers over his head and made the duck face while one of his clerks muttered “Oh no, he di’nnt”

In response to the ruling, one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Rick Saccone (R., Allegheny), predictably said “Praise the Lord. What we did was not novel or controversial. It recognized the role of the Bible in history.” Not as predictably, Dan Barker (Co-President of FFRF) said, “we like the decision even though we technically lost; we think it’s a good decision.” He went on to say: “We feel Rep. Saccone and others were abusing authority to promote their religion and using it to pander to the religious right.”

So there you have it folks, 2012 is finally and officially the year of the Bible, at least in the Commonwealth of Mississippi Pennsylvania. you can read the full text of the legislation here.

  • Guest

    Somedays I’m really really really happy about living in Jersey. Between this and the cop punching incident. There is room for you all to move on over the bridge.