[UPDATE 4/15: The Senate voted to send the measure to committee, effectively killing the bill, according to the Tennessean.]
[UPDATE: 4/15: Over the wise opinions of the Governor and Attorney General, the Tennessee House voted 55-38 in favor of the bill, sending the measure to the State Senate.]
The Tennessee legislature is poised to vote on a misguided proposal to name the Holy Bible as the official state book. Fortunately the state’s Attorney General and Governor recognize that the move is a mistake.
A bill seeking to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee would violate separation of church and state provisions in the federal and state constitutions, state Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in a legal opinion Monday.
The opinion was issued to lawmakers a day before the full House was scheduled to vote on the measure sponsored by freshman Republican Rep. Jerry Sexton of Bean Station.
“The Bible is undeniably a sacred text of the Christian faith,” Slatery wrote in the opinion obtained by The Associated Press. “Legislative designation of The Holy Bible as the official book … must presumptively be understood as an endorsement of religion.”
Meanwhile, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is counseling against the measure because it is not “respectful” of the Bible. He has a point! Do we want to relegate Holy Scripture to the ranks of the state song, state amphibian and official state flower? House Bill 615 is questionable law, and is no friend of religion.
Votes are expected as early as Tuesday. [UPDATE: The House voted 55-38 in favor of the bill on Wednesday, 4/15]