November 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin


Although a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Pennsylvania House of Representatives resolution declaring 2012 “the Year of the Bible,” he also slammed lawmakers for pandering.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner dismissed a legal challenge to the resolution Oct. 1, but he noted that the measure, which passed 193-0 in January, is at worst “premeditated pandering designed to provide a reelection soundbite for use by members of the General Assembly.”

Conner, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, also called the resolution a waste of resources.

“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,” Conner wrote.

A spokesman for House Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) said he was pleased the resolution was upheld, even if the judge “went out of [his] way to state [his] concerns with the process,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The case was brought by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which said in a press release that it is weighing its options. (Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Saccone)