Can you imagine if NBC invited Christians on air to read the Bible all day long? Believe it or not, that’s exactly how the National Broadcasting Company wanted to celebrate President Franklin Roosevelt’s first National Bible Week. Unfortunately for the radio station, the 24-hour reading, scheduled for December 7, 1941, never happened. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor did instead.
Although the plans were interrupted by one of the worst attacks on American soil, the National Bible Association adapted. And in between reports of the tragedy, members of the group streamed into the studio to read Scripture that was broadcast across America during breaks in the war coverage.
Now, 76 years later, the country still honors the tradition started during those dark days of World War II. And yesterday, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) held a special order on the House floor to remind us why.
“There are many places throughout the world, unfortunately, where such freedoms do not exist. Americans have the right, under our wonderful system of government, to respect and study the Bible, or any other system of belief, if they so choose, or even no belief at all. That is the beauty of the American way, and I believe it is founded and goes back to the Bible.
“As we celebrate National Bible Week, we remember the importance of faith in both our private and public lives. We recognize the Bible’s powerful message of hope. We cherish the wisdom of the Bible, and we thank God for providing this Holy Book that has truly been, in the words of the Scripture, ‘a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.’”
Congressman Lamborn was joined by nine members in commemorating the role of the Bible in American life: Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Tim Walberg (R-Miss.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Ron Estes (R-Kans.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Rick Allen (R-Ga.), and David Rouzer (R-N.C.). To a member, they urged Americans, in this time of intense division, to see the Bible as a tool to unite us. “The statistics,” Rep. LaMalfa pointed out, “are that every home has 2.2 Bibles, on average. It isn’t that there aren’t enough Bibles. It is that people don’t open it often enough.”
Others talked about the deep personal meaning the Bible has. “It’s more than a historic book,” Vicky Hartzler said, “although it is. And it’s more than a collection of wise advice and spell-bounding stories, which it is. It has the audacity to claim something radical and all-inspiring at the same time. It claims to be the Word of God… and, as a result, it changes lives…I want to invite anyone who has never read it to read it and to discover God’s plan and purpose for your life which will give you power and peace. So let this most radical book ever written touch and bless your life.”
Rep. Walberg echoed her sentiment, explaining that the Bible, “changed my life as well [after I admitted] personally that I was a sinner in need of a savior… Now, some might reject this. That’s okay. But most who seek the truth of the Bible are not disappointed.”
Toward the end of the special order, Rep. Johnson reminded Congress that they’re all brought together by this one common belief. “I love the words that are inscribed above the Speaker, where it says in the marble: ‘In God We Trust.’ There’s a reason for that. Our Founders understood that this is our foundation.” And thanks to men and women like these, it will continue to be. We’re deeply grateful for members of Congress who not only value the Bible but look to it in making some of the most important decisions of our day.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Also in the November 15 Washington Update: