WASHINGTON -- A Tennessee state legislator has introduced a bill to make the Bible the official state book, after two other Southern states considered similar moves in recent months.
State Rep. Jerry Sexton (R) put forward his legislation Tuesday. He did not return a request for additional comment.
Last month, legislators in Mississippi introduced two bills to designate the Bible as the state book.
"The Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people," said Mississippi state Rep. Tom Miles (D), one of the cosponsors of that state's legislation. "They could read in there about love and compassion."
A similar measure in Louisiana last year sparked a significant amount of controversy, with critics arguing that it would violate the separation of church and state. Other said it would trivialize the religious text. The sponsor of that bill eventually pulled it before it could go to the full floor for a vote.
Although Tennessee doesn't have a state book, it does have a state fruit (the tomato), mineral (agate) and wild animal (raccoon).
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