Tennessee Republican Wants to Revive Bill to Make the Holy Bible the Official State Book March 29, 2016

Tennessee Republican Wants to Revive Bill to Make the Holy Bible the Official State Book

Last year, following the lead of Republicans in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, Tennessee State Rep. Jerry Sexton filed a bill to make the Holy Bible the official state book:

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House Bill 615 didn’t ultimately go anywhere. It passed in the House, but the Senate did nothing with it, in part because even Attorney General Herbert Slatery said it was unconstitutional.

Good thing, too. It’s not like the other states were successful. Louisiana Rep. Thomas Carmody pulled his own bill before it could go up for a vote because it “had become a distraction.” And Mississippi’s bill died in committee.

But now, Republican Sen. Steve Southerland wants to give the bill another chance:

Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, said Monday he plans to renew his push on the legislation today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Vanderbilt did the poll and 60 percent of the people said they want it,” Southerland said, alluding to a Vanderbilt University poll last spring that showed high bipartisan support for the measure and even higher Republican and tea party backing.

Asked whether he can get the bill through the Judiciary Committee, Southerland said, “we’ll find out.”

Leave it to a Republican to cite public opinion as a reason to override the Constitution.

If the bill comes back to life, so would the threats of a lawsuit.

Of all the books any state should be exalting, a specific group’s religious text ought to be pretty low on the list. Why not a math textbook or a work of classic literature? There are so many authors with connections to the state — Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams — and it’s appalling their works weren’t considered.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Shawnee for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)


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