Judge Dismisses Challenge to 'Year of the Bible'

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A lawsuit filed by an atheist group challenging Pennsylvania's "Year of the Bible" resolution was dismissed this week.

The state's House lawmakers passed a measure earlier this year to encourage residents to read the Bible throughout 2012.

U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher C. Conner said lawmakers have "absolute legislative immunity" to pass such a measure.

He did, however, criticize the resolution, calling it "proselytizing and exclusionary."

Conner emphasized that his decision "should not be viewed as judicial endorsement for this resolution. It most certainly is not."

"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," he said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit.

The "Year of the Bible" resolution was passed in Jan. 2012 and declared the Christian Bible to be of "formative influence" on the founding of the United States.

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