Minnesota town faces interfaith protests for endorsing 'Bible Week'

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2004

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — The City Council ran into unanticipated criticism when it declared yearly Bible Week, recognizing Scripture's ''unique place in American life.''

Council members thought the proclamation innocuous and passed it without discussion last month, as in years past. But Jewish and Muslim as well as Christian leaders said the little-noticed action dangerously mingled government and religion.

The New York-based National Bible Association, which ''encourages everyone to read the Bible,'' has asked cities and states to declare the honorary week since 1941.

Local Lutheran Pastor John Matthews said ''the city should not be in the business of endorsing a particular tradition'' unless it also endorses the Muslim Quran, Hindu Bhagavad Gita or Buddhist Dhammapada.

The regional Jewish Community Relations Council called Bible Week ''entirely inappropriate'' while St. Paul's Muslim Imam Hassan Mohamud said the resolution appears to disrespect people of other faiths or no faith, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.




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