The Mayor of Flower Mound, Texas, made a special proclamation on December 16, 2013, declaring 2014 to be the "Year of the Bible.
In his proclamation, Mayor Tom Hayden said, "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."
A website created by the Calvary Chapel of Flower Mound for the initiative explained, "His desire was bring our town back to a Biblical foundation which our country was founded and built upon. His vision is that as a Town, as many as wanted to participate, would as a community read through the entire Bible in a year together."
The "One Year Bible" program divides the Bible into 362 daily readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Psalms, and Proverbs in order, taking participants through the whole Bible in a year, in just 20 minutes per day. There is an app for smartphones, a Facebook page, and a list of reading tips.
The move has drawn mixed reactions, as some question the propriety of the declarations while others applaud the initiative. Commenter Mike Kirkpatrick wrote, "So exciting! I might be reading the same verses as the person delivering my mail, writing my perscriptions and running my city government!" However, Curt Orton told MyFoxDFW.com, "He was elected mayor. Not as the spiritual leader of Flower Mound."
Hayden's initiative isn't the first time a politician has pushed for a "Year of the Bible." Pennsylvania House members passed House Resolution 535, which was a non-binding resolution that declared 2012 to be the "Year of the Bible." President Ronald Reagan proclaimed 1983 as the "Year of the Bible" in the United States and encouraged "all citizens, each in his or her own way, to reexamine and rediscover its priceless and timeless message."
Hayden told MyFoxDFW.com, "There's so much benevolence on helping your fellow person. And the morality that helped build our country is based on the values that are found in the Bible. And as we look at problems, maybe we're getting away from those values. And in my little small way, I want to encourage people to get back into those values."