The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a resolution Monday, 55-28, that would make the Bible the “official state book” of Tennessee due to family Bibles containing vital records from the 20th century that would otherwise be lost.
The resolution, HJR 0150, has been proposed by Rep. Jerry Sexton, a minister from Bean Station in East Tennessee, three times over the last few years. Now that it has been passed in the House, it will need to be passed in the Senate to be made into law.
When it was first proposed, critics objected, citing a violation of First Amendment rights and the Tennessee Constitution.
Then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam claimed, “Our founders recognized that when the church and state were combined, it was the church that suffered in the long run.”
Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, who has voted against the bill each time, spoke of his belief of the Bible’s importance, but maintained it should still be separate from government.
“The Bible is the greatest book that’s ever been written. There’s no doubt about that in my heart,” said Travis. “I just feel like my Bible, my personal Bible that I have, should be so far away from government.”
“Just like Nathan Bedford Forrest and Ida B. Wells and now the Bible, it’s just our common heritage,” argued Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin. “And those things should be welcomed by everyone in Tennessee.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News, Nadia Joy Schult