On January 28, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, introduced H. Con. Res. 34, a resolution "Calling upon the Capitol Preservation Commission and the Office of the Architect of the Capitol to place the Lincoln-Obama Bible on permanent display upon the Lincoln table at the Capitol Visitor Center for the benefit of all its visitors to fully understand and appreciate America's history and Godly heritage."
Now, I have no objection whatsoever to this Bible being displayed in the Capitol Visitors Center. It is an historical fact that this was the Bible that Abraham Lincoln used at his second inauguration, and an historical fact that Barack Obama chose to use this same Bible at his inauguration, so displaying it on the table used to hold it at Lincoln's inauguration, which is already in the exhibit, and adding a sign saying that Obama also used it, is absolutely appropriate. I don't think anyone could reasonably disagree that the symbolism of our first black president incorporating in his inauguration this connection to the president who freed the slaves is something that should be seen by future generations visiting the Capitol, and putting the Bible on the table used to hold it at Lincoln's inauguration would add to the accuracy of the exhibit's recreation of that event.
What I do object to in H. Con. Res. 34 are some of the reasons given by Forbes for displaying the Bible, in both the resolution's title and its "Whereas" clauses, the most objectionable of which is:
"Whereas the Holy Bible is God's Word"
This is nothing but a sneaky way of getting the Congress of the United States to declare that the Christian Bible is the word of God, which, of course, for many Americans, it is not. This "Whereas" should be struck from the resolution entirely.
That whole "Separation of Church and State" clause really is soooo hard to grasp, isn't it? Rodda has since introduced HR 397 affirming our "rich spiritual and religious history" and designating the first week of May as "America’s Spiritual Heritage Week". He also issued a challenge to Obama or any takers to debate when we stopped being a Judeo-Christian nation:
"I challenge the president or anyone else -- come up, either debate me on this issue or simply tell me where that single moment in time was when you can say we crossed the threshold -- we ceased being a Judeo-Christian nation -- and you can't do it."
Mr. Forbes, just name the time and place -- your turf, my turf (up here in NJ-6), DC, or anywhere else -- and let's debate your resolution clause by clause and see how well that very impressive looking list of footnotes you keep boasting about stands up to scrutiny.
I'll be sending a registered, return receipt letter to Mr. Forbes's office formally accepting his challenge to make sure he knows that I, as an "anyone else," have stepped up to accept it.
For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Forbes's "spiritual heritage" resolution, it's a re-introduction of H. Res. 888, the "religious heritage" resolution he introduced in the last congress. In a series of pieces last year, I debunked the dozens of instances of historical fiction in that resolution, and thanks to the efforts of a few organizations and a whole bunch of bloggers who joined in the fight, H. Res. 888 never made it to the floor. But, a few months ago, outraged over President Obama's statement in Turkey that America is not a Christian nation, Mr. Forbes reintroduced the same resolution as H. Res. 397. It currently has 74 co-sponsors.
I recently re-posted my debunking of H. Res. 888, as soon as I saw that Mr. Forbes had re-introduced it as H. Res. 397, so, if anyone wants more details about the resolution, or to see why I'm thrilled that he has issued a challenge for someone to debate him on it, you can find it here.
You can contact Forbes here to encourage him to schedule the debate. Better yet, let's get it up on video and we'll be happy to air it here.