Paradise residents are encouraged to read their Bibles – not at the prompting of a local pastor but rather city officials.
At its meeting Monday, the city council unanimously declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible” at the request of resident Jan Pierce.
Pierce referred to the document as a “recommendation,” rather than a proclamation.
“(This) will recommend that the people of Paradise, Texas, study the teachings of the Holy Bible not only for personal growth in the knowledge of right and wrong, but also learn to apply principles of good governance for their local government, whether in the house, school house, church house or city hall house,” Pierce said. “Nothing denotes the establishment of religion but rather the free exercise of it, according to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Modeled after the proclamation made recently by Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden, the document adopted by the Paradise council reads:
“Throughout the history of the United States, one of the most important influences that has shaped our country into a distinctive nation, none may have been more profound or enduring than the Bible …
“Our nation was not founded on any particular religious faith, nor is it mandated by any Government in the United States that any individual should observe a particular religion; however, the fiber of our Founding Fathers and the people that have made up our nation, from all walks of life, have expressed their deeply held Christian beliefs …”
The “recommendation” went on to quote several key historical figures such as John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Francis Scott Key, who penned the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The document continues, “Today our country, states, cities and towns are faced with many challenges beyond our own abilities but require wisdom, grace and compassion from God … ”
It ends by “encouraging all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible so that our Republic is sustained by good government.”
As in Flower Mound, the proclamation generated a mixed response, and several expressed their opinions on the Messenger’s Facebook page.
“I hope that all Wise County councils will follow suit,” wrote Mary Haynie. “Many of the county’s schools and teams have religious values, and this will only instill in them that they do have a right to stand up for what they believe.”
“You cannot ignore the separation of church and state, regardless if you believe the moral fibers of your religion will encompass overall good, when instilled upon all,” Leddy Foster wrote. “To do so is ignorance at its finest, and to back intolerance. We the people, must respect all rights of others, especially as a governing body. How anyone can support this is beyond my comprehension.”
SEWER SYSTEM IDEA “ALIVE”
Although there was no progress to report on a future water system, city officials assured the council that the idea is “very much alive.”
“Don’t let this thing die,” said building inspector Jerald Stinnett. “It is a beating to try to design water wells in the city that follow the rules on setbacks on property.”
However, city secretary Teresa Moody added that the city had hit a road bump.
“It may not be dead, but it’s unfunded,” she said. “We’ve been told we don’t have the money to put in a system through town.”
But officials say they are “still looking into” their options.
“We need it bad,” Councilman Roy Steel said.
IN OTHER NEWS
During the meeting, the council also:
- learned that Dollar General officials have “signed the contract” to bring the variety store to town.
- saw a sample of the green banners that are to be hung down Main Street and around the schools, courtesy of the Economic Development Corp.
- approved the December meeting minutes and financial report.