A Mississippi Congressman who belongs to the Republican House Whip leadership has sent copies of the Holy Bible to all members of the United States Congress.
Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi sent the Good Book to his peers last week, along with a note including the official Congress letterhead.
"On a daily basis, we contemplate policy decisions that impact America's future. Our staffs provide us with policy memos, statistics and recommendations that help us make informed decisions," wrote Palazzo in the letter.
"However, I find that the best advice comes through meditating on God's Word. Please find a copy of the Holy Bible to help guide you in your decision-making."
The Reverend Rob Schenck, head of the Washington, DC – based group Faith and Action, told The Christian Post that he supported Palazzo's Bible distribution.
"Rep. Palazzo is to be commended for sending Bibles to his members of Congress. For a Christian, sharing a Bible is one of the most meaningful things one can do for somebody you care about. So, it's meaningful and generous," said Schenck.
"Good for the Congressman. I'll pray that his actions have a salutary effect on the thinking and actions of Congress as a whole. We need more of his kind of thing in Washington."
Schenck also told CP that the Bibles were more likely to reach their intended audience because it was a peer like Palazzo sending them rather than an outside group.
"Bibles have been delivered to members by various groups and it's always worth doing, but many times Bibles from the outside, so to speak, are intercepted by staff or diverted somewhere else," said Schenck.
"When a Bible comes directly from a colleague, it's far more likely it will land in the hands if it's intended recipient."
Palazzo's gift went to all members of Congress, including those who do not consider themselves Christian, according to Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo.
"Palazzo's letter was treated as a gesture of good will, including by non-Christian members of Congress who also received a copy of the Bible," wrote Kapur.
"The first Muslim elected to Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), wrote back with a thank-you note. His office and other offices wouldn't discuss the letter on the record."
Not everyone was supportive of the move. The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, spoke with concern about elected officials using the Bible as a pretext for public policy.
"When a politician calls for using the Bible as the basis for public policy, what he or she is really saying is, 'Let's use the Bible as I interpret it as the basis for public policy'," said Lynn, according to TPM.
"Rather than look to the Bible or any other religious book to craft our nation's public policy, we would do well to examine another source instead, one that was actually created to guide governance. It's called the Constitution."
Geoff Earle of the New York Post noted that Palazzo's gift of a Bible to each member of Congress may be a timely act.
"Lawmakers will have plenty of time to study the Bible's discourses on avarice, sloth, vanity and depravity. The letter went out Tuesday — right before the start of a month long congressional recess," wrote Earle.