TEXAS — State Rep. Glenn Rogers, R-Brownwood, on Wednesday filed a resolution calling for the Bible to be designated the official state book of Texas.
“The Bible has filled many roles in the saga of Texas, serving as a social and cultural touchstone that has been integral to the state’s history and development,” the resolution reads.
Rogers is calling for the designation to occur during the third and current special session of the 87th Texas Legislature. The resolution doesn’t specify which version of the Bible should be considered, but does include some historical significance.
“In the early 1800s, as the settlement of Texas gained momentum, the Bible provided a vital cultural link between Catholic Tejanos and Protestant Anglo Americans; although their backgrounds differed in many respects, shared traditions helped to unite them and to further their pursuit of greater freedom and, ultimately, independence from Spanish and later Mexican rule,” the resolution continues.
The resolution goes on to mention the importance of the Bible in connection to several Texas historical figures.
“During the Texas Revolution, such heroic figures as Sam Houston, William Travis, Juan Seguin, and Davy Crockett carried their Bibles for wisdom and inspiration; a Bible believed to be Sam Houston’s own has been used to swear in more than 30 Texas governors in an enduring inaugural tradition, and it serves as a powerful symbol of continuity and state leadership,” the resolution reads.
State symbols, often recognized by state legislatures, are fairly common. Texas, for instance, recognizes the Bluebonnet as the state flower and the Norther Mockingbird as the official state bird. Official books aren’t common.
Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi have considered similar resolutions. One such resolution this year passed through the Tennessee House of Representatives. Critics have referred to such designations as unconstitutional, giving preferential status to one religion’s holy book.