October 5, 2012

More On Rick Saccone's "Year Of The Bible"

Hey, you remember this, right?

Our good friends at the Freedom From Religion Foundation brought suit against the resolution back in April, saying:
HR 535 improperly proclaims the bible to be ‘the word of God,’ . . . the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has no such authority or right to determine what is ‘the word of God,’ or if there is a ‘word of God,’ or if there is a ‘God’
A few days ago, the suit was dismissed by U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher C. Conner:
The judge dismissed the suit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation after concluding that House members have "absolute legislative immunity" in passing such measures.
However, he's quite adamant in his decision about some other things:
However, the court’s determination that the defendants engaged in a “legislative act” for purposes of immunity should not be viewed as judicial endorsement of this resolution. It most certainly is not. At best, H.R. 535 is a benign attempt to reaffirm the underlying principles of the Reagan proclamation of 1983. At worst, it is premeditated pandering designed to provide a reelection sound bite for use by members of the General Assembly. But regardless of the motivation behind H.R. 535, its express language is proselytizing and exclusionary (e.g., “Renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people”). 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 it passed unanimously is even more alarming. This judicial rebuke of the resolution is not intended to impugn the religious beliefs of any citizen. To the contrary, the court’s disapprobation is directed to the blatant use of legislative resources in contravention of the spirit – if not the letter – of the Establishment Clause. 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 all of the citizens of the Commonwealth, regardless of their religious beliefs.
So the legislature has the authority to pass such resolutions, but it probably shouldn't have.

By the way U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher C. Conner is a George W. Bush nominee.

No comments: