Christian lawmakers in the Tennessee House of Representatives are intent on shoving the bible down everyone’s throats. So intent, it seems, that they recently voted to make it the official book of the Volunteer State.
“I know that (the bill) causes people to be divided,” said Rep. Jerry Sexton, the freshman Republican representative who sponsored the bill declaring Andrew Jackson’s Bible the book of the land. “It shouldn’t, but it does. And that’s OK.”
During debates, Rep. Ron Lollar said he supported the bill, telling his colleagues: “I am what I am because that book made me what I am. The morals, the values. Everybody that talks about diversity: in this country, they’re here because of that book and that constitution.”
Rep. Bud Hulsey added that supporting the bill is important “now more than ever.”
But other Republicans weren’t so keen on the idea.
“If we pass this,” Rep. Martin Daniel warned, “we’re going to be ridiculed.”
“It threatens to reduce our sacred Scripture to nothing more than a secular symbol, and that’s a slippery slope,” noted Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.
A slippery slope, indeed.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III said making the bible the official state book would be unconstitutional, adding “I am quite confident that the bible’s distinguished place in history will not be diminished in the absence of a state’s endorsement.”
He then reiterated that the state’s constitution specifically states that “no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”
But that didn’t stop state House members from voting 55-38 in favor of the bill anyway. It will now go to the state Senate, where Republicans hold 28 seats to five for Democrats.
If the state Senate approves the bill, it must then be signed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who has already said he won’t support it, calling the bill “disrespectful.”