The Bible Could Become Tennessee's Official State Book

Lawmakers passed a bill that's on its way to Gov. Bill Haslam's desk.

Tennessee lawmakers voted Monday to make the Bible the official state book.

The AP reports the Tennessee state Senate voted 19-8 to approve the bill, which now heads to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's desk. Haslam has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the bill, but has expressed "some personal reservations," according to The Tennessean.

The state's House of Representatives passed a similar bill last year that was ultimately stalled. At that time, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery wrote an opinion stating his opposition to the Bible as the official state book.

"The Bible is undeniably a sacred text of the Christian faith," Slatery wrote. "Legislative designation of The Holy Bible as the official book ... must presumptively be understood as an endorsement of religion."

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey also expressed his opposition to the bill in 2015, as noted by the New York Daily News.

“We don't need to put the Bible beside salamanders, tulip poplars and 'Rocky Top' in the Tennessee Blue Book to appreciate its importance to our state,” Ramsey said.

Leaders in the Republican-controlled state Senate have spoken out against the bill, with Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R) saying he thinks it's "fundamentally wrong."

"I think it’s sacrilegious," Norris said, according to The Tennessean.

Lawmakers pushing for the change say the Bible's historical significance is reason enough to make it the state's official book.



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