February 3, 1983 – At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation 5018, declaring 1983 the Year of the Bible. Among other things, the Proclamation stated, “The Bible and its teachings helped form the basis for the Founding Fathers’ abiding belief in the inalienable rights of the individual, rights which they found implicit in the Bible’s teachings of the inherent worth and dignity of each individual. This same sense of man patterned the convictions of those who framed the English system of law inherited by our own Nation, as well as the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” Reagan’s actionÂ was in response to Public Law 97-280, a joint resolution passed by the US Congress the previous year. The Proclamation has spawned attempts at copycat legislation a few times since, each time protested by secular groups.
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