1983 February 3

President Reagan Proclaims “Year of the Bible”


Speaking at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Ronald Reagan issued a Proclamation designating 1983 the “Year of the Bible.” He issued the proclamation in response to a Congressional resolution advocating such a proclamation in late 1982. The Proclamation was a blatant violation of the separation of church and state, since it implied official government support for a particular religion — and ignored the views of all people in America who do not worship the Christian Bible or do not adhere to any religious faith.

The Proclamation recalled the efforts in the 1950s to entangle the government in the promotion of religion, including the beginning of the annual Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 1953, and the addition of the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance on June 14, 1954.

Reagan: “Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in recognition of the contributions and influence of the Bible on our Republic and our people, do hereby proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible in the United States. I encourage all citizens, each in his or her own way, to reexamine and rediscover its priceless and timeless message.”

Read the full Proclamation: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=40728&st=&st1=

Learn about the origins of the Proclamation: http://www.allabouthistory.org/year-of-the-bible.htm

Read: Jeremy Gunn and John Witte, No Establishment of Religion: America’s Original Contribution to Religious Liberty (2012)

Learn more about religion in public life and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/religion

Listen to Reagan discussing the Bible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCkuc6ZlJnk

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