A Texas mayor has publicly designated 2014 as the “year of the Bible” and is encouraging citizens to read the Christian scriptures daily.

Tom Hayden, mayor of Flower Mound, Texas, made the official announcement last month in an effort to help citizens in his north Texas town better connect with the Bible, KDFW-TV reported.

“I was nervous about doing this and I’ve been thinking about it for two years, and procrastinated about if for as long as I possibly could,” he said.

As to possible objections about the separation of church and state, Hayden said the “year of the Bible” is not law, nor was it voted on by the city council.

As KDWF-TV reported, the mayor said the declaration, which was issued at a council meeting on Dec. 16, wasn’t even an official government action. Still, critics like Dallas Observer blogger Eric Nicholson see it as “an unusually unapologetic display of Bible thumping by an elected official.”

// ]]>In addition to Hayden’s proclamation, a website — TheBible2014.com — was set up by Calvary Chapel Flower Mound, a local Christian church, to help residents make their way through the entire Bible in a year. Participants will read for 15 to 20 minutes each day to make it through the entire book by the end of 2014. This, too, was advertised at the Dec. 16 council meeting.

“We are so excited to support this project with the belief that God is going to work though it and bless our community with the hope that is contained in the scriptures,” reads a welcome message on TheBible2014.com website. “May we be in constant prayer for one another and unite around each other as fellow Flower Mound residents in love knowing that in the end our love for our neighbor is at the heart of God … as Jesus said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Hayden said that he’s hoping to inspire residents with the values that the nation was built on. These morals that help make America great, he believes, are in the Bible — which he hopes citizens will fully embrace.

“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,” the mayor told KDWF.

Hayden did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze to discuss the initiative.

Local critics have said that Hayden’s proclamation has brought church and state a bit too close for comfort, though the mayor has also received praise over his decision to step out in faith.

Watch video of the Dec. 16 proclamation here.

(H/T: KDWF-TV)

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