FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mark B. Cohen
Cohen urges reconsideration of Bible resolution
HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – State Reps. Mark Cohen and Babette Josephs, both D-Phila., were joined by members of different organizations Monday for a news conference calling on the House of Representatives to reconsider H.R. 535.
Cohen filed a motion for reconsideration Feb. 8.
Cohen said reading the Bible is a fine activity for any religious denomination, but it is not appropriate as an official state action. While the resolution was a nonbinding resolution making a recommendation, Cohen indicated that it is a mistake for a House resolution to make an official statement calling on people to read the Bible as "the word of God" and "holy scripture."
A video of Cohen’s remarks can be seen here.
The Rev. Sandra Strauss, director of public advocacy for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, said Pennsylvania’s history has shown a tolerance of different religions since the state was founded in the 17th century by William Penn, but this recent proclamation of the "Year of the Bible" by the House ignores this heritage of tolerance. Strauss' remarks can be read here.
Representatives of the Quakers or Society of Friends also attended the news conference.
Tim Potts, director of Democracy Rising PA; Jay Anthony Stotts, sensei of the Buddhist congregation; Andy Hoover, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania; and Ernest Pierce V, Pennsylvania state director of American Atheists, also made remarks.